No doubt about it: calculus will be one of the most difficult courses you have ever taken. To master this course you need to spend as much as four hours on each homework assignment. If you have other classes, calculus can certainly eat into your overall study time. Here is how to study and succeed in your calculus class.
Dedicate your time. Along with your other classes set aside time throughout your week to complete your homework and for studying. This means blocking out time that you will spend on your school work only. Use a planner or a web app to block out that time.
Portion your time. Calculus along with your other subjects will compose your entire study time. Determine how much time you must spend for each subject and begin filling in those blocks. Allow for break time: 10 minutes for each hour of study should be sufficient. Take no shortcuts here—the more time we spend studying the more likely you will develop pristine assignments.
Commit it to memory. Your professor will share definitions, formulas and theorems that will be new to you. It is important that you commit these to memory straightaway. If you put this information off until later you will put a lot of pressure on yourself as you study for your mid-term and final examinations.
Do it daily. Just like learning a foreign language it is important that you study calculus every day. Repetition will help you recall the salient points when it comes to test time. By devoting time daily to studying it will make it easier for you to grasp the coursework.
Don’t go it alone. Calculus, like most other subjects, can benefit from you learning in a small group. Here, you should work with one or two other people who are also taking your class. When you study with other people you can discuss the definitions, formulas and theorems as well as the most recent assignment. You should not rely on your group to do the work for you, instead they should supplement your private study time.
Work with outlines. Several days before your next big test or examination is held you should begin to outline the various topics, equations and definitions that you will need to know for your test. By preparing early it will help you clear up whatever matters you still do not understand. It will also give you some to take your other subjects as you prepare for those finals. Cramming for an exam may seem so enticing, but it will do little to help you retain long-term memory of the subject matter.
Get help, when needed. You have a vested interest in completing your calculus class and passing it with flying colors. Even so, you may find it difficult to grasp all the work. Take advantage of all the resources available to you, including tutor assistance. If you need assistance make an appointment with your professor or a teaching assistant for help. Do not wait until it is too late to ask for help.
Prepared to do battle. Your quizzes, tests and exams will be difficult advises Mathnasium. There is no doubt about that. When taking any test complete the answers that you know first and then go back and attempt to answer what you skipped. Carefully review your answers before turning in your work. If you dedicate sufficient time to your studying your final grade should reflect your best efforts.
Find a quiet environment for studying and avoid interruptions. Turn off your cell phone, stay off the Internet and dedicate your time to reviewing calculus only. Give yourself a break before returning to your work. You’ll feel fresher for the diversion even if it is only five or 10 minutes long.