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Advice needed on how to handle 3.5 week calculus 1 course

  1. Jul 25, 2014 #1
    I'm hoping you guys/girls can give me some advice / techniques to getting a good grade in a 3.5 week summer calculus 1 course. I just finished the first week today, and there are about 3 more. There is a test each Friday, and I took the first one that was worth 12.5% today. I did bad.

    The class is Monday through Friday, two hours a day. There are two homework assignments each week. We started class Monday and he assigned the first homework assignment due Wednesday. It was two sections of a chapter, and took me about 5 hours to do. I got 100 percent on it. The second homework assignment he assigned Wednesday, and was to be due today in class, right before the test. I understood half of it, and when I went to the teachers office hours prior to class... he was no help at all.

    I understood and completed half of the test today very well. One fourth I was iffy on, and the other fourth I didn't even get to start. The test was 45 minutes long, without a notecard.

    I'd like to do well in the course, but when I get to concepts / ideas that I can't figure out from the book, I don't really know what to do. The class is so condensed that if you wait till class the next day to try and figure it out, you have fallen behind. The teacher really is no help, at least in my opinion.

    There is a tutoring center that I could go to for 2 hours in the morning Monday through Thursday which may be helpful. So I may check that out on Monday. Its open for four hours, but I'm also taking a 3.5 week long upper division psych elective, which conflicts with half of the tutoring time.

    Do you guys/girls have any tips / ideas / advice for me? Are there any websites that clearly explain calculus 1 concepts? I'm not afraid to work, or spend a lot of time studying. Figuring out concepts when I'm stuck is the difficult part.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 25, 2014 #2
    Is this calculus course normally a quarter course or a semester course? I am currently in the last 2 weeks of my 8 weeks summer calculus 1 course which is normally a semester course. Do you have a course description as well? I may be able to let you know what to watch out for and what will be most difficult for you.

    I am assuming your first test was on limits? That was ours, and was the easiest out of all them so far. The thing that gives most of us trouble is when we did related rates and optimization. These were killer to understand so fast.

    Good luck to you and I wish you the best. I took another course along with calculus which made it really hard for me, so my advice is to dedicate as much time as you can to doing the problems and doing them well. Make sure you know how to do all of them so you are ready for the test. After that shift gears and learn the next thing.

    It is not easy to do and currently I am only passing with a B. Make sure you try to have fun with it too. By forcing my self to enjoy it, I have found that the 10 hours worth of math I do during the week so much more bearable. Also, find students in your class to work with. Time to come out of any shell you have because I can promise you are not the only student struggling.

    Typically people around here recommend Kahn Academy, which is really good, but my class and I agree that he ( the video teacher) wastes too much time and we turn to sources like pauls online notes for quick answers and explanations.

    GOOD LUCK!!! Now I need to start reviewing for a exam and a final. :D
  4. Jul 25, 2014 #3
    Rob Bob on YouTube but his lectures are really long so I'm not sure if it is advisable during a fast paced summer course.

    There is also Paul ' s Online Notes
  5. Jul 25, 2014 #4

    Yeah me and my buddy to not care about khan. He tends to make explanations longer then they need to be. His voice is annoying and the bright colors he uses to describe the material hurts my eyes.

    how do you feel about Rob Bob on YouTube Kraken? I think he is really helpful and is precise in his delivery. He also covers the why we do it aspect.
  6. Jul 25, 2014 #5


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    patrickJMT on youtube
  7. Jul 25, 2014 #6
    To the OP, it looks like two of us have recommended Pauls, so give that a try.

    Yes and the time he takes to even change colors is annoying TitoSmooth. I have not personally looked into Rob Bob, but will be sure to check him out within the next day or so. I will be needing it! :D
  8. Jul 26, 2014 #7


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    Problems, problems, problems. It's not enough to understand, you must read, listen, figure it out, then do a ton of problems. Get the problems here and use them to test whether you know the topic. Also read the lecture notes, they are pretty good.

    You have 2 hours of class per day, with some travel and breaks, etc. I would aim to spend 2 hours just trying to understand as much as possible about the topic: read all you can about it, watch videos about it, etc, get it from every angle. And then 2 hours just on problems, finding the best way to answer them. And then do the homework, by that stage none of it should be difficult.

    So how many hours is that? Two hours in class, let's give that some margin and call it 4 hours. Then four hours of study at home, hopefully you could fit that all in before 6pm. If not, spend a little less time on problems. Then in the evening, homework. If that seems heavy, just focus on the fact that this is a difficult subject that you need time to really understand.

    Probably you wouldn't need all this time, this is an upper estimate, the worst it could get. But I think you need to be spending time on it each day (not necessarily this much) to really benefit.
  9. Jul 26, 2014 #8


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    KhanAcademy helped me ace calculus 1 over an 8 week period of time.

    The key for me was learning derivates by heart before stepping foot inside the classroom.
    If you have a great level of algebra knowledge you will be a leg up. If you don't you will need to retrain yourself during the 3 weeks asap.

    I do suggest Khan Academy--> Differential calculus sections, working some problems there.
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