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Better study method for math?

I am currently enrolled in a Forensic Sciences degree program. This course, as you can imagine, will require me to take Calculus and Physics. In high school I was terrible at math, even though I was having around seven hours of tutoring sessions a week. Does anyone have any good methods for understanding the higher math courses that might help me?
#calculus #physics #mathtrouble

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Rachel’s Answer

You will need to focus on stress and time management. In order to manage stress you have to manage your time wisely. <span style="background-color: transparent;">You have to set a routine for yourself and stick to it for the most part. Once you get into the groove of a routine it will be much easier for you to manage your time and have enough time for everything you need to do (including relaxing). Make yourself to-do lists on a weekly basis, use Google calendar or a planner to keep track of events, deadlines, and due dates. In addition to setting a routine and sticking to it, plan out relaxing activities into your day. Or set aside a time, after everything is done for the day, that you can have "me" time. I have also personally found it essential to not only find time for myself but also make use of that time in a way that is best for me and my holistic wellness. I have found the HeadSpace app to be an essential tool in helping me relax and generally feel more relaxed throughout the day, Guided meditation, even if you have a busy schedule, will make you feel more at ease and relaxed throughout the day as a whole (not just when you have the time to relax and focus on that "me" time).</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Set a routine.Use Google Calendar.Set aside Me TimeWrite weekly to-do lists and use a planner.Find a peaceful and restful activity that will help you feel relaxed.</span>

<span style="background-color: transparent;">Here is how to be successful in them:</span>

  1. <span style="background-color: transparent;">Stay on track - do assignments early, finish things a head of time, and be aware of all of your deadlines</span>
  2. <span style="background-color: transparent;">do all the the assignments and read all of the coursework required- do not cut corners</span>
  3. <span style="background-color: transparent;">use Google calendar to keep track of deadlines</span>
  4. <span style="background-color: transparent;">communicate with your professor early if something comes up</span>
  5. <span style="background-color: transparent;">do not be afraid to ask for an extension if you need one</span>
  6. <span style="background-color: transparent;">study, and study a lot! you don't have regular class sessions so you will need to put in more work at home.</span>
  7. <span style="background-color: transparent;">Do your best and genuinely try hard to give it your all.</span>

The best way to score high on the test is to Google search an online program or book that will help you study. Once you find an online lesson plan for success you can use it as a road map for studying. Otherwise, find a book to help you study and spend 45 mins a night reading through it and studying. Depending on when you test is, the first thing you will want to do is organize a studying schedule for yourself. Target studying certain sections of the test and divide them up by the weeks/months you have until you have to take it.

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Erik’s Answer

Hi Bethany,

I also felt I was "not good at math" in high school and throughout college. As a computer science student, my curriculum required calculus, physics, linear algebra, statistics and a host of ever more esoteric math classes. It took me two tries to pass calculus with an acceptable grade, so I just want you to know you aren't alone. I had a very good teacher once tell me "nobody is born knowing this stuff" and that advice has served me well whenever I feel like I'm not good enough.

My personal tactic for "surviving math" was finding a study group. I never would have passed my math classes without the group pushing me forward. I didn't use teaching assistants as much as I could have. My initial meetings with a TA was not very productive, so I figured I was just "bad at math". The real problem in that interaction was the TA was not good at teaching math (yet!).

Later in life, I learned that people have different styles of learning. Some are visual, some are auditory. Some people learn best if they write it on paper or type it out. With math, I often found that visual representations of mathematical concepts helped cement my understanding of them. If you can determine your style of learning, you can find opportunities that you might have overlooked.

Personally, I would have been more successful with calculus if I had a better understanding of trigonometric identities; sine, cosine, tangent, secant et al. Being able to recognize the identities would have given me more time to understand the calculus instead of grinding thru the mechanical steps.

Finally, understand that you may not use the math you study everyday in your professional life but you will use all of it eventually.

Best of luck in your studies!

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