Learning math in college is very different from learning math in high school. The pace is faster, and professors may not slow down the class for your questions. Once you fall behind, it can be hard to catch up since concepts build on one another. Here are some tips for new college students to think about if they want to do well in math at the college level.
Be Honest About Your Abilities
Most college math departments have multiple starting levels. There may be students who enter college with a firm grasp of calculus while others are struggling with algebra. You will have a better experience with math if you are honest about your math skills. The professors want you to succeed, but they do not have time to bring you up to speed if you take a class that is too advanced for your starting point.
Avoid Self-Paced Courses
More colleges are offering self-paced courses as an option. This seems as though it could be helpful, but research suggests that only 25% of learners complete self-paced courses at all. It is too easy to get distracted or simply give up when there is a concept that you cannot grasp. A better online option is a virtual classroom that combines self-study, contact with a professor, regular lectures and a learning community.
Find Online Teaching Tools
Even if you are not taking a virtual course, there are many online tools to help you master math skills. Often, the key to learning a new concept is hearing it described from multiple points of view. Many math students have walked out of a lecture thoroughly confused but then experienced a moment when everything suddenly made sense while watching an online video about the same concept. Looking at an idea from multiple angles helps your brain make connections.
Ask for Help
Sometimes students are too proud to request help when they need it. They think that professors will look down on them if they admit to a lack of understanding. Most professors want you to do well, and they will work with you individually during office hours to learn concepts. Other professors or student teachers will assemble study groups to help classes succeed. If many people in a class are having trouble with a concept, the professor may host a special session to help students. If you already knew everything, you would have no need to attend college. Do not be afraid to ask for assistance.
Many people struggle with math, especially at the college level. It may take more work than you are accustomed to. If you give yourself ample time to learn and make use of the many resources available, you will excel at math in college. Not only that, but learning these principles will help you in your future!