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Calculus Problems - November 4th 2015, 02:55 PM

So, let me get this straight, I am literally at the top rank of my class, most of my grades consist of 7's, 8's, 9's and heck, I've even gotten two 10's! Sadly, my Calculus grades... are more around the 4's-6's.

Now. The big problem is, it's very basic. I'M IN HIGH SCHOOL DAMMIT. I'm great at maths, but not calculus, which is strange since they're similar. Anyway to help me? I really want to get them up to atleast a 6 so I would have no insufficient marks.
   
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Re: Calculus Problems - November 4th 2015, 03:02 PM

Hey,

I am going to move this over to Education and Careers because that is the more relevant area.

Sometimes there are parts of a subject that are just really hard! You are doing super well and you should be proud of your accomplishments.

Can you ask the teacher for extra help? Sometimes one on one help can be really awesome since you can ask questions and practice, and the teacher may be able to help specifically to your needs.

You can also ask other students to study with you. Two heads are better than one, so maybe they know methods or have ideas you haven't thought of yet. It's worth a try!

Maybe there are online videos or tutorials that explain the information in a different way too.

You've got this!
-Dez


   
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Re: Calculus Problems - November 5th 2015, 02:30 AM

Hello Sen,

I am great at math, and I can try to help you if you need anything. First of all, you need to set matters straight, and I'm going to say this as bluntly as possible. Just because you were good at arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-cal does not mean you will be good at calculus. The math you are used to in the past are essentially plug and chug problems. You memorize a few formulas, and you basically solve away. There's very little abstract thought required, and very little conceptualizing that is needed in the earlier math stages.

The other problem is: time. Calculus can take 15-20 hours per week. This is not some random number, but has been suggested by college professors and high school teachers. Previously you could probably get by on 1-3 hours/week. This will no longer be the case. You HAVE to study.

The one thing I cannot recommend enough is to REVIEW material BEFORE class! You can't just learn it in class. You should be reading the book, and maybe using supplemental YouTube videos PRIOR to lecture. And maybe try attempt the first example problems. This way when you go to class, if you don't understand a concept you can ask about it. As you progress through math courses, this technique is a must. You won't be able to pass if you do not do this.

Please do not get defensive. I am simply trying to tell you that Calculus is different. You NEED to make a lot of time for it to really "click." You can go through the motions when calculating things like derivatives, but if you don't understand the WHY, you won't do well beyond be able to take a simple derivative or integral.

What section are you currently on? What are you struggling with? I can suggest great references, and maybe help you understand what's going on.

I also cannot recommend this enough: look up PatrickJMT on YouTube. I made an 'A' in college level Calculus 1. I pretty much owe it to him. He has a lot of tips and tricks to make life easier. However, this is NOT a substitute for making sure you understand the concepts. I had to buy another book to do this because my textbook was awful and very technical. This can be a problem with students new to calculus. The language of calculus is very dry, and technical. It's very rigorous and can be hard to understand unless you're use to it. You will develop a mind to make sense of it over time, but sometimes you need another resource to dumb it down. KhanAcademy is great for this.

The other guy I'd recommend is ProfRobBob on YouTube, though, I typically recommend him for Algebra and Trig. I don't really like his Calculus videos. They can be very dry like a textbook.

The simplest you can think about Calculus is slopes and areas under a slope. If you can view every problem as this, and simplify every problem into this term, it'll make your life easier. This is true even when it comes to applications like L'hopitals and Related Rates. L'hopitals is just examining what slope is moving faster, and Related Rates is just seeing how various parts of geometry are affected by the slope of a particular variable (for example, if my Radius is changing at 1 meter per second (slope = 1), how fast the area changing? That's all it's telling you). Calculating the derivatives should not be difficult. It's a lot of simple number crunching and computational, but if this is your issue, then you just need to practice. You need to be able do derivatives in your sleep. They need to look incredibly familiar because they are the basis of calculus. Which leads to this:

Lastly, you need to practice Calculus. If your teacher assigns 15 problems, do 30. Do all the evens in a section. I guarantee if you put TIME into it, and practice, even when you think you're hopeless, you will get through it with good marks.

Also, a couple more questions for you, what Calculus book are you using, and what precalculus book did you use?


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Re: Calculus Problems - November 5th 2015, 04:50 AM

What do you mean when you say its basic but then say that you struggle with it? Is it the work load that's difficult or understanding the material?

There are a lot of reasons that a person may struggle with calc and not other math subjects. One reason could be that you have been taught algebra in some form year after year since probably the 6th grade and calc is something new. It could also be the teacher and the way that they grade and assign work. A lot of calculus problems can be annoyingly tedious(integration by parts) or involve "weird" functions like inverse sine/cosine, etc.

If you are struggling learning the basics of calc I - get a simple business calc book that doesn't use as much formality and relies on more intuitive explanations instead. I remember a long time ago - before I had calc for school, I wanted to learn calc to help me understand some basic physics that I was interested in, and so I just started with a simple watered down old business calc text. It was a very smooth introduction to calculus - and made it much easier when I got to real calculus and all the "epsilon-delta arguments" and integration by parts that goes with it.
   
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Re: Calculus Problems - November 6th 2015, 02:20 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by In the Rye View Post
Hello Sen,

I am great at math, and I can try to help you if you need anything. First of all, you need to set matters straight, and I'm going to say this as bluntly as possible. Just because you were good at arithmetic, algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-cal does not mean you will be good at calculus. The math you are used to in the past are essentially plug and chug problems. You memorize a few formulas, and you basically solve away. There's very little abstract thought required, and very little conceptualizing that is needed in the earlier math stages.

The other problem is: time. Calculus can take 15-20 hours per week. This is not some random number, but has been suggested by college professors and high school teachers. Previously you could probably get by on 1-3 hours/week. This will no longer be the case. You HAVE to study.

The one thing I cannot recommend enough is to REVIEW material BEFORE class! You can't just learn it in class. You should be reading the book, and maybe using supplemental YouTube videos PRIOR to lecture. And maybe try attempt the first example problems. This way when you go to class, if you don't understand a concept you can ask about it. As you progress through math courses, this technique is a must. You won't be able to pass if you do not do this.

Please do not get defensive. I am simply trying to tell you that Calculus is different. You NEED to make a lot of time for it to really "click." You can go through the motions when calculating things like derivatives, but if you don't understand the WHY, you won't do well beyond be able to take a simple derivative or integral.

What section are you currently on? What are you struggling with? I can suggest great references, and maybe help you understand what's going on.

I also cannot recommend this enough: look up PatrickJMT on YouTube. I made an 'A' in college level Calculus 1. I pretty much owe it to him. He has a lot of tips and tricks to make life easier. However, this is NOT a substitute for making sure you understand the concepts. I had to buy another book to do this because my textbook was awful and very technical. This can be a problem with students new to calculus. The language of calculus is very dry, and technical. It's very rigorous and can be hard to understand unless you're use to it. You will develop a mind to make sense of it over time, but sometimes you need another resource to dumb it down. KhanAcademy is great for this.

The other guy I'd recommend is ProfRobBob on YouTube, though, I typically recommend him for Algebra and Trig. I don't really like his Calculus videos. They can be very dry like a textbook.

The simplest you can think about Calculus is slopes and areas under a slope. If you can view every problem as this, and simplify every problem into this term, it'll make your life easier. This is true even when it comes to applications like L'hopitals and Related Rates. L'hopitals is just examining what slope is moving faster, and Related Rates is just seeing how various parts of geometry are affected by the slope of a particular variable (for example, if my Radius is changing at 1 meter per second (slope = 1), how fast the area changing? That's all it's telling you). Calculating the derivatives should not be difficult. It's a lot of simple number crunching and computational, but if this is your issue, then you just need to practice. You need to be able do derivatives in your sleep. They need to look incredibly familiar because they are the basis of calculus. Which leads to this:

Lastly, you need to practice Calculus. If your teacher assigns 15 problems, do 30. Do all the evens in a section. I guarantee if you put TIME into it, and practice, even when you think you're hopeless, you will get through it with good marks.

Also, a couple more questions for you, what Calculus book are you using, and what precalculus book did you use?
Thank you! I've started to do extra assignments, I'll also start watching those videos.At my school we use Ipads, and a Dutch software called Got It?! We don't have sections as the program gives us some random sums we need to complete. The teacher typically gives us 20 assignments a week, and I'm doing 35. We are currently working on basic maths, not exactly 2+2, but just adding, subtracting, dividing etc. Maybe I'll try to do 5 sums each day, but I also have a load of other stuff to think about (Remember my good grades? Yeah, takes time.). I usually struggle the most with geometry and arithmetic and of course, calculus. The rest I'm pretty decent at. I recently moved up from my original marks with a 5.9, which is good. I'll get some books in the library and study each day so I can finally get that final great mark on there... again, thanks SO much for your help!
   
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Re: Calculus Problems - November 9th 2015, 12:26 AM

When I was in school, I noticed the easier parts to math were completed in shorter and shorter amounts of time as you progressed a grade forward.

By the time you get to Calculus I, they expect you to know addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division by heart. I could do the first three so easily by the time I had Calc I in my junior 2 year, but not division. My teacher let me use the calculator. You should also know algebra as well, and understand the concept of it. Calc is so much more than figuring out the formula for X, there's so much more variables now and so complex. I took maths from the time I was in kindergarten until my senior 2 year (about 15 years total) and it was certainly challenging. What helped me was to write EVERYTHING down and look over it.

Another thing that helped, at any level of maths, was to continue to work with it throughout holidays and the weekends. When you don't have an assignment one weekend, still work on your calc anyways! Keep it in retention and don't be afraid to analyze it a bit. Ask yourself questions, sign up on a maths forum if your school or local uni has one.

Study too! Don't be afraid to get extra help. It's important you understand it now; it doesn't matter whether or not it will be involved with your career path of choice. It's important now!

Good luck!
   
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Re: Calculus Problems - November 9th 2015, 05:29 AM

Hell, I was terrible at calc. Also bad at statistics, but what I did in statistics, I bought Statistics for Dummies for 7 bucks at a thrift store and it explained it much better than my teacher could. I'd recommend looking into that, Calculus for Dummies exists.
No, I'm not calling you a dummy... If I wanted to insult someone, I'd use a real insult, like "craphead", or... or "stupidface".


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Re: Calculus Problems - November 9th 2015, 01:12 PM

No problem Sen. It sounds like you're putting in enough work. Just make sure that you're getting it conceptually and not just computationally. PatrickJMT also has a Calculus For Dummies 1001 Practice Problems. He has a digital version, you may also look into that. I found his examples didn't flow well with my book, but it doesn't hurt to understand other examples -- it can only help solidify your understanding.

You mentioning your other grades makes me wonder how you're managing your time. A lot of times a poor grade can reflect failure to make adequate time in your schedule. Maybe getting writing down your ideal schedule allotting time to study for each class may help as well. I had to do this too, until I had a general idea of how much time I needed to devote for each class. I'll typically do it at the beginning of a semester, and then adjust it as it goes on since some classes may end up being more difficult than expected.

Geometry, on the other hand, can be tricky. In my high school, I didn't have to take Geometry to graduate, so I didn't. It's something I need to actually look into more once I graduate. I'd like to understand more about it, so I don't have a lot of recommendations there. But the basic rule remains the same to me. Do problems until it becomes second nature to you.

The last recommendation I can think of is to REVIEW previous sections because calculus REALLY builds on it's foundations. I know people say this about every math course, but it is doubly true in Calculus. Assuming you've looked at limits, well, derivatives are limits, and also slopes. But, once you get into indeterminate forms you have to use limits sometimes to figure out the behavior of a graph. Also, if I remember, in my class we looked over the first and second order derivatives in the limits section and examined their graphs. This will pop up later, so make sure you understand this well.

By sums do you me Rheimans summations, or just arithmetic?

I'm glad to hear you raised your grade. Let me know if you need anything.


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Re: Calculus Problems - November 13th 2015, 01:13 PM

I'd like to thank you guys!

I'm already close to completing my personal goal of the semester, since I recently got a 6.5! I', starting to pick things up again, since I was GREAT at maths in Primary and Middle school. (Talking about "Excellent"s in Primary, God bless that stupid grading system, and 7's in Middle.)

As for you, In the Rye, I've started scheduling my stuff in Primary, and have a firm grip on what I do, when I do it, and how much I do. I manage it just fine, 5 sums (I actually missworded it, I meant exercises in general. You're lucky I can understand Reimann Sums and derivatives, since I'm Dutch.) on Friday, 10 on Monday, 10 on Wednesday plus the 20 I usually make in the lesson itself.

As you may recognize, I study. A LOT. Sometimes I stay up at night to study more and miss my workout.
   
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