Among a huge variety of college subjects, calculus might be among the most challenging ones. Just like any other branch of math, it requires precision and excellent knowledge of the main topics and concepts in order to ace this discipline.
But what if you just don’t understand your calculus professor?
Of course, this can feel incredibly intimidating. Nevertheless, the truth is that this is a rather common issue facing students, especially during their first years in college. But, there is some good news. Even if you don’t get your calculus professor, there are some ways to change this, and we are going to tell you about them!
1. Develop a Positive Relationship
Whether you are studying symbolism in literature, history, or, in this case, calculus, the first and key tip for understanding your professor is to establish good relationships with them. In fact, many colleges highlight the utmost importance of developing meaningful relationships with faculty both inside and beyond the class. This way, you will be able to make the most of your college experience.
So, where should you start? If you are a new student, take time to study your prof’s teaching and research initiatives to know more about them. Feel free to communicate with them, discuss their field of interest, and visit them during office hours. Create a friendly bond with them and do your best to maintain good relationships.
2. Ask Questions
While inside the classroom, many students prefer to stay quiet and not ask any questions. Most often, this is due to being shy or afraid of looking silly. But, there is nothing to be afraid or ashamed of. On the contrary, asking plenty of questions during class is vital for understanding your instructor and acing calculus.
3. Carefully Read Assignments and Clarify Questions
There is no secret that all types of homework and in-class assignments make up most of your final grade. In your calculus course, you will face plenty of assignments. So, here is another tip that will come in handy if you don’t really understand your professor – always read every assignment from cover to cover.
If it is a problem, carefully study the settings and the main question. If it is a research paper, carefully study if it needs to be written in an APA or MLA Format (or any other), also read other core requirements, and make sure you understand the topic. And, after studying your assignment, don’t hesitate to clarify anything that’s unclear. This will help you a lot in getting your tasks done right!
4. Get Ahead of the Program
It sure feels intimidating when you don’t get what your professor is trying to teach you. But, there is another trick that can come in handy. Feel free to get ahead of the program and read the material for the next class before it starts.
How can this help? Reading the material ahead of time can prime your ears to listen out for the most important parts of the lecture. This way, you should be able to ensure that you are on the same page with your prof and grasp what they are saying easier and faster.
5. Take Lots of Notes, Organize Them, and Consult With Outside Resources
The next trick is pretty simple. But, it’s no less effective. If you don’t understand your calculus instructor, start taking more notes during their class. First of all, writing down the key concepts is a good exercise to memorize and retain the material better. But, most importantly, a more rigorous note-taking will give you the opportunity to map out the main questions and clarify them later.
But don’t simply take lots of notes. Be sure to also work with your notes outside the class. Always get your writing organized so that it makes sense. Then, revise it all after the class and identify the areas that you can’t grasp. Once you do this, outline clear questions and read outside resources to find the answers.
Consulting with multiple outside resources can be a good way to clarify topics, especially when you don’t get your prof. On the web, you will be able to find plenty of resources written by different people in their own way of presenting the material. So, the chances are that you will eventually find material that explains the topic in a way that you understand it.
6. Record Your Lectures
While taking notes does help, there is one more way to record the material given in the class to review it later – you can make voice recordings of your lectures. Sometimes, listening to the same lecture in full multiple times will help you grasp the topic much better. So, be sure to try this trick!
But, please note that recording someone without their acknowledgment is not legal. So, be sure to ask permission to record your prof.
7. Have a Private Session
Finally, the last tip that will help you finally understand your calculus professor is to see them tet-a-tet. If you demonstrate an interest in the subject or particular topic or show that you are struggling, rest assured that your instructor will be excited about helping you.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a private session. Tell your professor that you can’t grasp the material and ask them to clarify it for you.
The Bottom Line
Let’s face it, acing such a complex discipline is definitely not easy. And so is understanding your calculus professor. Though now you have a set of simple tips and tricks that should help you get on the right track, these tips can only give you a starting point. After you hop on it, it is your tenacity that can propel you to success.
So, at the end of our guide, there is one last tip we want to share. Even though you are going to struggle with calculus from time to time, do your best to maintain perseverance. Keep trying to let the concepts stick and never give up, no matter how hard it gets!
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