Saturday, August 25, 2012

Math Student Survival Guide

Although there is no magical secret for succeeding in a math class, there are some things that are universally true. Here's one:

You will not pass your math class
unless you spend enough time on it.

What does “enough time” mean? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Some students breeze through math with a minimum of effort and others have to struggle. If you are taking prealgebra or algebra in college, you have probably struggled with math on occasion. If you plan to succeed, you must plan to find the necessary time for reading math, studying math, and doing your math homework. One important tip:

Do some math every day.

There will be days when you just don't have a lot of time. This happens. But do some math anyway, even if it's just 15 minutes of review or solving a homework problem. Doing some math every day is a recipe for success and maintains forward progress. “Saving up” your math for weekends is almost always a mistake.

Here's another important truth:

Students who get stuck need to get help.

It's amazing how many students quietly fail their classes instead of getting help. Community colleges are all about helping students. Even when state funding is tight and budgets are cut, we scramble to provide assistance opportunities to our students. Here's a list:
I apologize for all of the exclamation points. Teachers get a little excited when repeating advice for the millionth time, but be aware of this: We have a lot of experience seeing what works and what doesn't. Your mileage may vary, but some (maybe a lot) of what your teacher says may apply to you.

Be an active learner and take charge of your learning. The teacher can't teach you without your consent and your active participation. Take responsibility for your education.

Course syllabi

If you're looking for our course syllabus, it's available in pdf form from the widget in the left-hand sidebar. Just click on the one you want and you will be able to download it.

In the sidebar you'll also find some potentially useful links that you may want to try out. The Internet has many kinds of math aids and tutorials, including videos, that might be helpful. For example, click here to see a list of Khan Academy's algebra videos and here for videos on calculus.

Note: The whole point of Quiz 0, which you receive on the first day of class, is to give you some points for showing you know how to follow directions.