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Math:

How to Succeed in Mathematics

If you are not in a community college but you still want to get an "A" in math, keep on reading. There may be something interesting in here for you.

Did you ever wonder how you could have gotten an "A" in math but you missed it by a small margin? Here are some hints to help you:

Before the first week of classes

  • Take the assessment test.
  • Get placed in a math class. Make sure you establish good communication with your advisor, so that you do not have to take unnecessary math classes.
  • Make sure you have the following phone numbers and hours handy and put them in your phone directory:
    • Math Department's phone number/hours of operation
    • Math Tutorial Center's phone number/hours of operation
    • Your instructor's phone number/office hours/e-mail address


During the first week of classes

  • Attend the first day of classes and obtain your syllabus and other necessary documentation.
  • Read your syllabus very carefully (pay special attention to how you get extra points).
  • Some instructors give you a schedule; make sure you have no conflict with other classes.
  • Put down all the important dates in your appointment book.
  • Make sure that you put down the deadline for dropping classes. It will cause you a lot of headaches if you miss it.
  • Go visit the Math Tutorial Center, the library, and the department. Get to know the first names of the people there and see what is available.
  • Know your school e-mail account and password.
  • Know your class web page (if any).
  • Make sure you know where the videos and the computer programs for your math class are. Browse through them before you get too busy.
  • Invest some money to buy a scientific or a graphing calculator. Check out TI, HP and CANON products. Make sure you also discuss your options with your instructor.
  • If you already have a calculator but you do not know how to use it, this first week is the time to learn the basics. If you do not have a manual for your calculator, order one from the manufacturer.


The Rest of the Semester

  • Make sure you attend your classes regularly. Plan on not missing more than 3 classes in a semester.
  • Form a study group. At a minimum, get a "buddy" to help you when and if you miss classes.
  • Do your homework daily.
  • Never miss a review session. Instructors usually give you enough information to warrant an "A" in a quiz or midterm.
  • Get help from the Math Tutorial Center or the Learning Center, if you find yourself going around in circles but not getting anywhere. By all means visit your instructor at his/her office hours.
  • Try to get at least a "B" in all quizzes or exams given. Discuss your situation with your instructor if you keep on getting "C"s but you do not know why.


Finals Week

  • Get together with your study buddy or your study group to review for the final. It is a good idea to study at the Math Lab or the Special Services Center because you can get help if you get stuck.
  • Study each chapter separately and spot check to see if you can solve problems in the book.
  • Once you are done with a chapter, take the chapter test in your book or a test at the Math Lab on the computer. Retake the chapter quiz if your instructor gave you one already. Do not simply look at your answers. Time yourself. Try to finish the test within fifty percent of the allocated time.
  • Make sure you get a good night sleep the night before the day of the final exam.
  • Eat a granola bar or something sweet (if you are not diabetic) half an hour before the exam.


GOOD LUCK

Comments? e-mail: iwhite@ivc.edu

Contact 

Dr. Lianna Zhao, MD
School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering, Dean

T: 949-451-5450 

Life Sciences Building (B400)
Room LSB 202

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