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Why do problem sets take me so long?

  1. Sep 28, 2014 #1
    I'm taking Multivariable Calculus at Rice. This is for fun, I'm not required to take it and I'm not a science major.
    Problem sets take me a really long time, I wonder if it's normal. We are using Vector Calculus by Marsden. The problems sets are like about 15 problems due every week. They take me so long. The last set I did took me something like 7 hours. I feel like I have decent intuition as far as how to solve a problem. But then it takes me for ever to compute stuff and I get off the track and have to start again, get lost (like I can't remember what term I last developed), etc...
    I have been getting like 80-90s on set (there is always a 2-3 exercises I don't have time to do). I guess I just worry about how I can get an OK grade on a timed mid-term. How can I be faster and more focused? I mean I just want to pass, I'm taking it P/F.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2014 #2
    Anyone who takes Multivariable Calculus for "fun" is a very sick individual. :)
  4. Sep 28, 2014 #3
    Aren't problem sets supposed to take long? That's how it was for me. The homework for some of my undergrad physics courses required at least 10 hours to finish. Anyway, time shouldn't be your primary concern. Understanding the material is the most important thing.
  5. Sep 28, 2014 #4
    Oh OK. I don't know I feel like I read that some people do them in 1-2 hours. Well you only have 90 minutes at the exam so it would be a problem.
  6. Sep 28, 2014 #5
    Exam questions are actually easier than homework questions from my experience, mostly because of the time constraint.
  7. Sep 28, 2014 #6


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    That would be for the very few people who find multivariable calculus to be easy. Most normal people must spend more time.
  8. Sep 29, 2014 #7


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    What sort of computations are you talking about?

    Why are you getting off track so much?

    Why can't you remember what term you last developed? Aren't you writing your work down?

    If you are not concentrating, getting easily distracted, or are sloppy about writing down your work, I can see why it's taking you so long to do the HW for this course. Get better organized, concentrate, and eliminate the distractions. I suspect because this is a non-credit course, you have allowed these faults to slip into your study of this subject, because there are few consequences for not staying focused.
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