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First time exposed to Calculus 1 and I'm not doing so well. I'm in the

  1. Oct 1, 2011 #1
    first time exposed to Calculus 1 and I'm not doing so well. I'm in the Mechanical Engineering major and I keep getting discouraged that maybe Engineering isn't the right choice for me. any suggestions?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 1, 2011 #2
    Re: worried

    Work hard, make lots of exercises, read several texts on the subject, make lots of exercises, watch khanacademy, make lots of exercises,...
  4. Oct 1, 2011 #3
    Re: worried

    In addition to what micromass has said:

    Try to understand it at a deeper level, go into the chapter VERY slowly as to follow the steps of logic. Nothing should be swallowed.. you should make sure to chew down the information first.. to make sure WHY it works! That is the beauty of mathematics, because everything just makes SENSE! I think your problem is that you aren't spending enough time in calculus. But if you follow what I told you religiously then there should be no problem in spending the time in calculus because you will be interested.

    Try to think of calculus aside from just studying history. Pretend your in this group of mathematicians and they are uncovering the beauty of mathematics right beneath your eyes. Think of the amazing insights they developed, and ask yourself: If I was in their shoes, how would I have tackled this problem? Pretend you are at the forefront of the world of mathematics trying to uncover the latest problem. Think of as many ways that the problem applies to our world. I hope this is making some sort of sense.

    Know your mind, interest comes from within. You can spark the interest yourself. You are no longer at the whim of the sum of influences around you which accumulate over the period of your life. What makes you YOU is: [tex]= \sum influences[/tex]
    Humans have reached an intelligent level where they can influence themselves, simply by thought.

    I took the time to write this out because not only is it important in any aspect of life, but because if you are interested in calculus itself it should be no problem mastering it!

    Steps you can take to master calculus:

    1) Take notes before the class, this can be very important; when you go to class, the material is being reinforced and you can come up with questions and look for loop holes in your understanding
    2) Don't take mathematics at face-level. Take it apart, understand WHY! Heck, play with the mathematics if you so choose.
    3) PRACTICE!
  5. Oct 1, 2011 #4
    Re: worried

    I was going to add something but then I read Nano's response and he pretty much covers it all.
  6. Oct 1, 2011 #5
    Re: worried

    Do well in Calculus 1 because Calculus 2 and 3 are next.
  7. Oct 1, 2011 #6
    Re: worried

    Haha. Priceless information here ^. Math is cumulative, calculus I is more than just essential, it is indispensable. Build a weak foundation and somewhere, some-when it will all go tumbling down!
  8. Oct 1, 2011 #7
    Re: worried

    I think that's why kids are not doing so well in Math and Physics. It's because they've had a weak foundation. I still remember when I used to get hit by my parents for not doing well in math. Then I got the highest marks in math in HS. Not that I condone violence, it's just that everyone needs his/her own "driving force" in order to succeed.
  9. Oct 2, 2011 #8


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    Re: worried

    Haha, me, too. I still remember my mom hitting me with a stick whenever I made a mistake in doing math homework, or bringing home a math test that wasn't an A. I ended up taking the equivalent of Calculus I, II and III in high school (and breezing through those classes), only to stumble junior year in college when I took Abstract Algebra I. :yuck:
  10. Oct 2, 2011 #9
    Re: worried

    Same here--grade 8 algebra I got a 60% in the first semester because I was trying to be "cool"--my dad gave me a few hand sandwiches and *poof* I ended with a 100% final mark for the nest 3 semesters.

    BTW--try your hardest in Cal I--do plenty of examples and try to UNDERSTAND it because it gets more difficult later on. Also, I find the better grasp of Cal I you have (remembering your derivatives) the easier Cal II is.
  11. Oct 2, 2011 #10
    Re: worried

    :rofl:.. The way you said it was pretty funny to be honest.

    I remember my mother never really bothered with me toward school at all. I was pretty mediocre in everything, barely did my homework, etc. And then one day POOF.. passion and handwork just hit me out of nowhere (okay well maybe it wasn't SO spontaneous). I thank my mom for not pressuring me whatsoever.. it left room for a lot of self-motivation! But then again it would have saved me a lot of time if I had completely mastered my algebra =D.

    I can't believe you did calc I, II, and III in your high school. In my school everyone pretty much starts with algebra I, and highest class was AP calculus pretty much.
  12. Oct 2, 2011 #11
    Re: worried

    You know, I've found 'understanding' doesn't actually help one's grades in elementary math (read: non-proof-based math). I can tell you a lot about what's going on theretically when solving diff eq's in my math class, and I can tell you exactly why the methods work (at least, the ones I've learned so far). That doesn't stop you from tripping up when trying to solve something like an exact diff eq.
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