Calculus has the reputation of being one of the hardest classes in high school or college, but it doesn’t need to be. Hear me out!
Math is really easy, unless you’re behind, then it’s really hard. But that is not very different from many other things. Speaking a language may be easy for you, but if you’re dropped into surroundings where everyone speaks a different language, it’s hard. You may be really good at some sport, but if you’re all of a sudden facing much tougher competition (or playing the wrong sport!) it can be daunting. Math is not any different from this.
Getting good at math is surprisingly like learning anything else. You need to start simple, master the basics, and just move forward a step at a time. Every step or class in math depends on all the classes that came before. Each little step is easy, but there are a lot of steps in the journey to calculus!
When students ask me what they need to be good at calculus, my answer is simply pre-calculus. And for pre-calculus you need to master the rules of algebra. And for algebra you need to master arithmetic. And even when you’re deep into your calculus class, sometimes the best lesson is to review the first baby steps in calculus.
In one way calculus really is easier than previous levels of math: all of calculus is based on two or three basic ideas. It’s a much more focused class, vocabulary, and set of techniques than some earlier math classes.
So, start early, do your homework, try not to get behind, practice regularly, and get help quickly if you need it. Once you’re caught up, you’ll be surprised at the smooth sailing! If you’d like to get some support for your calculus class, give us a call. Our calculus experts excel at breaking down concepts and helping you build confidence.