calculus is tough.

I have attached some study tips that I found on the net. Good Luck!

“Struggling in mathematics is not the enemy, any more than sweating is the enemy in sports; it is part of the process and a clear sign of being in the game.”

A positive approach can help ensure your success in your math course. Your approach should include the following:
1) Recognize that your degree of success depends upon you and you alone.
2) Make an all-out effort to do well in the course.
3) Work hard enough to do much better than just pass. Set high but realistic
goals for yourself.
4) Make a commitment to overcome any setbacks, personal or otherwise, and
work hard until the very end of the course.
Commitment and determination can go a long way toward guaranteeing that
you will be successful. You can do it.

The attitude with which you approach a course is the single most important factor in determining your success in that course. Begin with a positive attitude and a belief that you can be successful. Mathematics can be learned and understood. We have done our very best to take the mysteries out of mathematics. But for you to reach your goals, you need to make a commitment right now to attend class, to study as we suggest and to give this course your very best effort. With the proper determination, you can master this course.

Mathematical knowledge is sequential. New concepts and principles build upon previously learned concepts and principles. The material you learn each day will depend upon material that you should have learned prior to that day. You must do all of your homework BEFORE each class meeting.
If you are absent from class you can not begin learning again at the same point as the rest of the class. You must first learn the material that was covered while you were absent.

Mathematics is read differently. In reading a novel or a story, a whole chapter may contribute a single idea to the plot of the story, but in mathematics every single word or symbol has a precise meaning and each may contribute one or more ideas. Consequently, you must read slowly and carefully so that you understand the meaning of each word and symbol.
You must be able to tell the difference between expressions that look very much alike but have different meanings. For example, “the difference of 8 and 5, written 8-5” is very different from “the different of 5 and 8, written 5-8.”
Read with pencil and paper available. If you do not understand what the author did in getting from one step to the next, take the time to work it out for yourself.

Some things in mathematics must be memorized. Symbols, definitions, rules, and algorithms have to be both memorized and understood. We all forget, so those things which must be memorized also need to be reviewed periodically. We can do this by writing definitions, rules, etc. on 3×5 cards or 8×5 cards and reading them while we wait for a bus or train or between classes at the college or university. However, you cannot memorize everything in a mathematics course. You may be able to memorize enough for one unit exam, but there is always a final exam.
Psychologists tell us that we learn best when what we are learning has meaning for us. That is, we can learn more and keep it longer when we understand the material to be learned. The more we review, think about, and see how things fit together, the more meaning these things have for us and the better we understand them and can apply them.
In mathematics there is a reason why we do everything that we do and we must know and understand that reason. Mathematics is not learned just by doing problems. It is learned by doing the problems and understanding why we did them the way we did. The “why” of mathematics is as important, if not more important, than the “how” of mathematics. In general, mathematics is to be understood, not memorized.


We feel good about what we have done when we know that it is right. We can tell if we are right by checking our answers. Sometimes the answer is in the back of the book, but most of the time we need to perform our own check. The check should be different from and shorter than reworking the exercise. For example, the check for subtraction is addition. 8-5=3, if 3+5=8. Also, the check for division is multiplication. 56 7=8, if 7×8=56. Always check your work!

How well you prepare for class determines how much you will get from that class. Organize your day and specify at least one hour a day to study mathematics. It is best to study in concentrated short intervals of approximately thirty minutes with five to ten minute breaks between. The following are some things you should do.
1) Read your class notes as soon after class as possible, preferably the same day.
Highlight important formulas, statements, and so on.
2) Write any definitions, rules, formulas, or important statements on your
review cards. If your instructor went over these things in class, they are
important. Check the chapter summary.
3) Read the textbook slowly and carefully with pencil and paper available.
Mark those things that you do not understand and come back to them after
you have read all of the material. Check the previous material for something
4) If necessary, use other textbooks and study guides. Many texts have
supplemental study guides that may be purchased in the college bookstore.
Many math learning centers, or the library, have texts that may be checked
out. Your instructor may also have additional texts or materials.
5) Do your homework as soon as possible after class is over and most definitely
before the next class meeting. Do not skip steps. The reason for a step is
often something that you learned previously. Putting in each step will help
reinforce these principles and help you remember them. Careless errors
often occur when steps are skipped. Review your homework immediately
prior to attending the next class meeting. Make a list of things that you are
unsure of and ask your instructor.
6) Preview the material to be covered in class the next day by reading the
material with pencil in hand. Mark those parts you are unsure of and make
a list of questions to ask your instructor if his/her explanation does not
answer your question.
7) If your instructor does not have time in class to answer all of your questions,
make an appointment to see him/her in his/her office during office hours.

You need to get as much out of your time in class as possible. It is here that you have the benefit of having an expert on the subject at your disposal – your teacher. The following are some things you should do in order to get the most out of class time.
1) Attend all class meetings. Be on time so that you do not miss anything. You
cannot learn form the teacher unless you are there. If you do miss a class, be
sure to find out what the assignment was and complete it before the next
class meeting.
2) Participate in class. Do not just listen to the instructor. Think along with the instructor and anticipate the next step when he/she is doing an example.
Answer questions that the instructor asks. Ask questions when you do not
understand what the teacher has said or why he/she said it.
3) Understand as much as possible before you leave class.
4) Sit as close to the front of the classroom as possible so you can see and hear
everything. In front you will also find yourself more involved with classroom
5) Keep a mathematics notebook with your class notes in one section and your
homework in another. When taking notes, leave extra space so you will have
room to add additional comments as you review your notes.
6) If you do not understand an example the instructor is doing, ask the
instructor to explain the first step that you do not understand.
7) Get help outside of class either from the instructor, a classmate, or, if
available, the math learning center.
8 )Forming a study group with others in
the class is an excellent idea.Try tape recording the class and use the recording to supplement your notes.
Listen to the recording as you review your notes. Don’t forget to ask the
Instructor’s permission to record the class.

Proper test preparation is certainly one of the most important factors in
determining how well you do in a course. The following should help.
1) Set your goal high. Try for 100% rather that trying just to pass the test.
With your goal set higher, you preparation will be more complete and you
should score higher.
2) Avoid getting a mental block. Adequately prepare for the test. Inadequate
preparation causes a loss of confidence and this loss of confidence is what
produces a mental block. So be prepared.
3) Begin your test preparation early. Do not wait until the night before the test
to begin studying. Begin your preparation at least a week in advance and
study at least an hour a day for the exam.
4) Be organized. Make a list of specific topics to be covered on the test. Find
and solve specific problems for each topic. Be sure to include all types of
problems that could be contained within each topic.
5) Start at the beginning of the material to be tested and work through each
section in turn. Master each section before going to the next.
6) Practice by doing the chapter review in your textbook. Do all of the exercises
if you can. If you can’t do an exercise, go back to the indicated section and
study the examples. If you still can’t do an exercise, ask your instructor.
7) In your review, answer each problem, confirm that the answer is correct
(Check your work!), and examine your understanding of the problem. Do
not allow yourself to get “stuck.” If you can’t do an exercise after 10
minutes, go to the next exercise.
8 )Review your notes and the test and clear up any questions that you might
have. Think about the material as you review. How does this relate to
previous material? How do different parts of this material relate to other
parts of the material?
9) Be able to distinguish between the different types of problems that might be
on the test.
10) Try to find or construct a practice test. The practice test might be one of
your teacher’s previous tests, tests from the text or from a study guide.

The type of test in which you show all work and write the answers is called an open-ended test. The type of test in which you choose the correct answer from those presented is called a multiple choice test. There are many things you can do before and during the test that can improve your score.
1) Arrive early so you will be ready when the test is passed out.
2) As soon as you get the test, write down any formulas or definitions that you
might need.
3) Read the test over from front to back. Mark the questions that you know
you can answer with a check mark. Mark the ones you are unsure about
with a question mark and the ones you cannot do with and “x.”
4) Answer the questions in this order.
a) Those you know how to do starting with the ones you think are easiest
b) Those you are unsure about.
c) Those you thought you did not know how to do. Sometimes doing the
ones that you know reminds you of how to do others.
5) Estimate the amount of time needed for each question by dividing the
number of minutes for the test by the number of items on the test. If you are
spending more than this amount of time on an item, go to the next item and
come back to it later if you have time.
6) Read the directions to each question carefully. Underline the key words….
7) On an open-ended test, write down the information given, what you are
asked to find, and any relevant formulas, definitions, or theorems.
Sometimes an estimate of the answer will give you a clue as to how to
Solve the problem.
8 ) On an open-ended test, show all your work in a neat and organized manner.
Box in your answers.
9) Check all your answers, time permitting.
10) If you are taking multiple choice test, on which there is a penalty for
incorrect answers and you narrow the answer to two choices, guess. If there
is no penalty, guess and leave nothing blank.
11) Take all of the time permitted for the test. Never worry about being the last
one to leave a test. By far the first to leave a test are the ones who know
everything or those who know very little.
Remember (that) the idea in taking a test is to show what you know, so
attempt what you know first.

brb… (Calculus in Plain English Video 1)

here’s our first Calculus in Plain English vid! I am SO PROUD of Brian, Karla, Zeyda and Loan for creating the first video to be posted on my blog even with Gustav churning in the Carribean. I am so excited about returning after our “holiday” and doing more great work together!

Please leave comments to let me know that you’re OK. See ya on Wednesday,
Mrs. B


This week in Calculus we did a mini-project where students had to take some function families and create a “function family tree” and present information about the different types of functions. This activity serves as a great review of the different functions that we will be seeing this year in Calculus. I had no idea how much work my students would have put into this, but I am very happy with the results! Check out our pics, and here is the rubric I used to grade the project.