One of the most challenging subjects that there is calculus. It is a subject that very many students have had a problem with. Looking at many University students, they struggle and state that that’s their most challenging course. But there is some consolation that really strong math students take calculus. And you should encourage yourself that you would not have made it this far in your calculus class if not for your knowledge. In the struggle of calculus, you are not alone.
But why is calculus so hard?
One of the few reasons we can look at is when trying to establish why calculus is this hard. The first one is the lack of understanding from students about what calculus is all about. They jump into it blindly without knowing its nature. Some students have this notion that calculus marks an end in a sequence of mathematics courses. They think that after dealing with geometry, algebra, and trigonometry, you arrive at calculus. But this cannot be further from the truth.
When you start on calculus, you are at the inception of a new branch of mathematics. This new branch also happens to be the passage into other areas of engineering, physical and social sciences. In calculus, you have to learn a whole set of new tools. These tools will help you in a new approach to solving problems in multiple steps. When you start learning calculus, it will open your mind to new ways of looking at mathematics and thinking. You will also look at nature itself in a new way.
Unlike previous mathematical studies, you will be dealing with and solving multifaceted problems, just like geometry. In calculus, you will get the solution to many problems that will involve geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus itself.
It can be scary at first, but there is good news since it is an introductory course. You will not dig very deep into any of the topics mentioned. But you will focus on learning different techniques. When you are dealing with calculus, a lot of recognition is required. You will be required to look at problems and identify the problem and which solution to use.
The other good thing about calculus, it is standardized. It can be taught in different ways, but in the end, all exams are standardized. The expectation for the student is to learn the things that are there in the assignments. It is essential to do your homework since most of the exams ask what you have learned in class.
If you want to ace your exams, there are different ways to tackle the problems. The key is to master the techniques for solving calculus problems and recognize when they are used. It is difficult to remember everything you learn since there is a lot to learn in calculus. To help you in this, master the essential techniques required to tackle problems. Another thing is to use the math knowledge that you learned pre-calculus. The essential one being trigonometry.
Most students nowadays like to rely on calculators to do their trigonometry, but this is not advisable. You need to be able to memorize trigonometry, special angels, and formulas. If you are not good with these special angles, you will have a difficult time.
If you find that you are not very strong in this area, you can go to your trigonometry book and review the appendix.