General Question

nicky's avatar

Can anyone advise me on these math courses?

Asked by nicky (207points) January 29th, 2011

This is a very general question as the semester just started. I am taking linear algebra and calc-based probability and statistics. Simply put, of those who have taken either of the courses, can you provide me with any words of wisdom to help me not fail?

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7 Answers

bobbinhood's avatar

1. Study the material before your professor lectures on it. While you won’t understand everything you’re reading, you will ultimately understand much more if you read before the lecture.

2. Do your homework well in advance. This gives you the time needed to process difficult questions and then to visit your professor if you are still unable to understand them.

3. Do all of your homework. In math, homework is the best way to study. If you notice that you still don’t really get it after completing the assigned homework, do some more. Keep working problems until you truly know the concepts.

4. Review your homework, tests, and quizzes. If you get questions wrong, make sure you understand both why they are wrong, and what you should have done.

5. Visit your professor with good questions. That means you don’t just walk in and say, “I don’t understand this,” while pointing at a problem or an entire section of your book. Figure out exactly what it is that you do not understand and ask specific questions.

6. Pay attention to notation. If you’re not sure about notation, pay attention to how your professor writes things in class. You can’t go wrong if you follow that notation.

7. Be careful to justify the steps in your proofs. A proof is an argument, not just a calculation. Make sure you write out the details.

8. Be familiar with the theorems. Know them well, and know how to apply them.

9. Study groups are only helpful if you are with a group of students that are dedicated to learning. If they are just trying to finish the problems and get out, they will likely miss important details and hurt your understanding.

10. Above all else, know your definitions like you know your own name. Math is meaningless without a proper understanding of the definitions. Make sure you learn them as they are taught so you do not have to look them up. You will be much more prepared for the test if you learn them as you go.

nicky's avatar

Thanks for the thorough response!

bobbinhood's avatar

You’re quite welcome. These are the steps to make it through any upper level math course. Everything worth doing is worth working hard at. Good luck this semester! This question shows that you’re off to a good start.

BarnacleBill's avatar

Sometimes having access to tutor to go over concepts as you move through the course can help ward off having problems. It’s good to have one-on-one access to someone that confirm you understand the concepts fully and answer your questions.

Vortico's avatar

@bobbinhood I have saved your list for future reference. Nice!

bobbinhood's avatar

@Vortico Thank you for the feedback. I really appreciate it.

JLeslie's avatar

When I took calculus there was study hours at my college to get free help from volunteers, it helped me enourmously.

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