Calculus is one of the hardest subjects you will encounter as a student. Some people love it because of the challenge, while others hate it for the same reason. This subject is also essential to ace if you want to accelerate your overall score significantly.
This branch of math also makes up an integral part of the overall subject. So there’s no escaping calculus regardless of the stage of your student life. You’re on the right platform if you’re struggling with this subject.
If you are looking for ways to improve your grades in calculus, I encourage you to read this article.
10 Tips On Learning Calculus
Here are the best ways to learn calculus and ace your tests:
1- Understand The Basics
First, what is calculus? Calculus is defined as the branch of mathematics that studies rates of change. It provides a framework for modeling techniques involving change and a way to extrapolate predictions of such models (Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
There are two kinds of calculus:
- Differential calculus defines the rate of change of a quantity.
- Integral calculus studies the quantity where the rate of change is generally known.
You can plan to ace any subject, but the efforts will be futile if your basic understanding is lacking. Calculus can be connected to other branches of math to offer you challenging questions. So your other concepts must be clear to solve the problem.
- Arithmetic is an important part of this branch of math, so the different operations must be at your fingertips.
- Algebra may also form a major part of your calculus problems. You must have adequate knowledge of different properties and sets.
- Trigonometric concepts are easier to understand and ace. So you should understand the various properties of shapes, such as triangles and circles.
- The last field that you must be aware of is geometry. Studying all the shapes relevant to mathematics and their properties will allow you to solve various questions easily.
2- Learn The Different Aspects Of Calculus
Calculus may seem like a single subject to you, but it has been divided into two major parts. All students are expected to master differential and integral calculus to pass their tests.
You will have to learn about the rate of change, which means that you should have knowledge of accumulation and derivatives. Rate is also essential to calculus, so you will have to work on different relations.
These include time vs. velocity, rate of change vs. distance, and more. Understanding these concepts is necessary for solving graphic questions.
3- Often Review Your Formulae
The concepts of calculus have various basic formulae to help solve questions. So you must learn them before starting to practice different problems. These basic formulae will help you at multiple stages of calculus.
This is why you should not think of skipping them. The best way to learn the formulae is by understanding their derivations. This is a better approach than memorizing the final formula because you will have to learn many of them.
The best part about understanding the derivations is that it will allow you to derive a specific formula during the test. So you will not have to worry about failing to remember the final equation.
4- Do Not Skip Classes
Another best way to learn calculus is to avoid skipping classes. This subject is tough and requires a good understanding of different concepts. If you skip even one class, you may fall behind and fail to understand the following topics.
So attending classes is necessary to ensure you have a basic understanding of each calculus concept. Then, you can practice the topic at home to memorize and retain the new knowledge.
You must also remember that classes will help you learn easy problem-solving techniques that may not be present in books. Spending two to four hours on homework assignments is also best.
5- Avoid Falling Behind
If you fall behind in calculus, it will be difficult to catch up because of the tough concepts. You may have to skip classes due to personal issues, but that does not mean you should be laid back when it comes to studying.
You can form a study group with students with clear concepts. A three to five students group is best for understanding calculus. Meeting daily can help you stay up to date with the class schedule.
If you cannot work with a study group, you should use multiple online resources to grasp the newly taught topics.
6- Learn About Limits And Fundamental Theorem
Limits and fundamental theorem in calculus are important concepts in which you must be well-versed. When solving a complex function, you can use limits to break it down into easy fragments.
You can solve these small parts and add them to get the final answer. The fundamental theorem allows you to understand that integration and differentiation are inverse to each other.
Being aware of this concept will allow you to understand the two parts of calculus. You should also note that skipping the theorem is impossible when doing this subject.
7- Practice Problems
Math is a subject that requires high skills and a lot of practice regardless of the branch you are doing. You may understand derivations and memorize the formulae, but that will be useless if you don’t practice questions.
Thinking that understanding concepts will be enough to perform well in exams is ill-advised. You must practice different problems to know the areas you are well-prepared for and the parts where you are lacking.
As a beginner, you should with questions related to derivatives and gradually move towards integral problems. It is best to answer as many questions as possible within a day. Regular practice will help you nail your tests and exams easily.
8- Ask Questions
Having questions while studying a subject or topic is not something out of the ordinary. If you have doubts about concepts, you must ask your teachers or peers about them. This will help you get rid of the uncertainty and prepare well for exams without doubts.
You can also use an online calculus tutoring service if you’re uncomfortable with asking questions in class.
Besides that, you may also use a reference book for checking concepts. Using various methods is best to get rid of doubts and master calculus.
9- Teach Others
Another best way to learn calculus is by teaching others. You may form a study group with friends and help them with their concepts. The best thing is that if you teach something incorrectly, others may point it out.
Teaching other students is also an effective way to test your understanding. It will allow you to know the concepts you understand completely. You will also know the topics that require improvement.
Studying with a group will also enable you to solve more questions within a day. You may also try to help people on the social media group of your batch. Many students share problems on WhatsApp groups which is another effective way to learn.
10- Start Preparing Early For Exams
Many people delay exam preparation until the last minute because of the pressure of other subjects. However, that will not work when doing calculus.
You must start preparing at least one week before the exam week starts. This is advisable for students who have memorized and cleared their concepts beforehand. So the only thing left to do would be practice.
If your concepts are unclear, you must start studying at least a month before the exam.
What to read next:
- 5 Best Graphing Calculators (And how to pick the best one!)
- Is Calculus Harder Than Algebra? (Here’s the definite answer!)
- Is A Level Maths Worth It? (Yes! and here’s why)
These are the ten best ways to learn calculus. You must review the basic concepts of math before starting this subject.
Viewing the syllabus outline and knowing the concepts you must learn during calculus is also advisable.