Conquering Calculus: Proven Strategies To Passing Calculus

students sitting in a college calculus class

Calculus is often considered a challenging subject for many students, and there are several reasons for this. It introduces new and abstract concepts that are different from the more concrete concepts encountered in previous math courses. These concepts, such as limits, derivatives, and integrals, require a shift in thinking and a deeper understanding of mathematical relationships.

Calculus is a fundamental mathematical subject that has applications in a wide range of fields. As a result, many college majors require calculus as part of their curriculum. Some of the top majors like engineering, finance, biology, chemistry, economics, computer science, physics, and mathematics will require you to take several calculus classes.

What Is Calculus

Calculus is a branch of mathematics that deals with the study of rates of change and accumulation. As mentioned above, it has several highly abstract ideas, such as limits, derivatives, and integrals, which can be challenging to understand. Additionally, calculus builds on concepts introduced in earlier math classes, so students who do not have a strong foundation in algebra and trigonometry may find calculus to be difficult.

Passing a calculus class in college requires dedication, effective study habits, and a willingness to seek help when needed.

Here are some strategies that can help you succeed in your calculus course:

Attend All Classes

This is NOT a class that you want to skip. Do yourself a favor and attend all classes and actively participate: Attending classes regularly is crucial for staying on top of the course material and understanding the concepts being taught. Active participation involves asking questions, taking notes, and engaging in discussions.

Learning The Textbook And Study Your Notes

The textbook and your study notes are valuable resources for understanding the concepts and learning problem-solving techniques. Make sure to read the assigned chapters before each class and review your notes regularly.

Complete All Assignments And Practice Problems

Completing assignments and practice problems is essential for solidifying your understanding of the material and developing your problem-solving skills. Don’t just memorize formulas; practice applying them to solve various types of problems.

Form A Study Group Or Find A Tutor

Studying with classmates or seeking help from a tutor can be incredibly beneficial. Studies show that students have a higher success rate in classes if they work together. Forming study groups with peers leads to better grades and study habits. Having a bit of moral support is great motivation to do better in a class. Additionally, discussing the material with others can help you clarify concepts and identify areas where you need extra practice.

Most colleges have a tutoring center that offers free or low-cost tutoring to students in a variety of subjects, including calculus. The tutoring center may be located in the library, student union, or academic building.

Utilize Online Resources

There are numerous online resources available to supplement your learning, such as video tutorials, practice problems, and interactive simulations. Explore these resources to find methods that suit your learning style. I will give a list of the top online resources below.

Ask For Help

If you’re struggling with a particular concept or problem, don’t hesitate to reach out to your professor, teaching assistant, tutor, or classmates. They are there to help you succeed.

Manage Your Time Effectively

Calculus is a demanding course, so it’s crucial to manage your time effectively. Create a study schedule and allocate sufficient time for studying, reviewing concepts, and completing assignments.

Practice Good Self-Care

Maintaining your physical and mental well-being is essential for optimal academic performance. Prioritize a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, a balanced diet, and adequate sleep.

close up photo of a calculus calculator on a desk

Websites That Can Help With Calculus

There are a lot of online resources designed to support you as you learn. From engaging video tutorials and interactive simulations to comprehensive practice problems, these tools cater to a wide range of learning styles and preferences.

Explore these resources to discover methods that align with your preferences. Below, I’ve compiled a list of highly recommended online resources to help you learn and pass your classes.

  • Mathway: This is a free math problem solver that answers your calculus homework questions with step-by-step explanations. You can enter a problem and get an answer, or you can enter a problem and see the steps to solve it.
  • Free Math Help: This website provides a collection of online calculus resources, some from, and others as links to other great math sites. There are also several free online calculators that you may find very useful in solving those tricky problems, or for checking your answers.
  • Home of the book Calculus in 5 Hours. It has lessons, problem solutions, calculators, and guides.
  • MIT OpenCourseWare: MIT OpenCourseWare is a publishing initiative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) that provides free and open access to MIT’s educational materials. They offer a variety of courses, including Single Variable Calculus, Multivariable Calculus, and Differential Equations.
  • Paul’s Online Math Notes: Paul’s Online Math Notes is a website with comprehensive notes on a variety of math topics, including calculus. The notes are well-written and easy to understand, and they include plenty of examples and exercises.

Apps That Can Help With Calculus

There are several apps that can help you with Calculus. Here are some of the best ones:

  • PocketCAS: This app is a CAS that can solve a variety of math problems, including calculus problems. It also has a graphing calculator and a symbolic calculator.
  • WolframAlpha: This powerful app can solve a wide variety of problems, including limits, derivatives, and integrals. It can also provide step-by-step solutions and explanations.
  • Khan Academy Calculus: This free app offers a comprehensive calculus course, including video lessons, practice problems, and personalized feedback.
  • Calculus Tools: This app is a collection of tools for calculus students, including a calculator, a derivative solver, and an integral solver.
  • Cymath: This app can solve a wide variety of math problems, including calculus, algebra, and trigonometry. It can also provide step-by-step solutions and explanations.\
  • Photomath: This app can scan and solve math problems, including calculus problems. It can also provide step-by-step solutions and explanations.
  • Magoosh Calculus: This app is perfect for reviewing precalculus and learning derivatives and integrals. It includes 135 lessons created by Mike McGarry, a math tutor with over 20 years of experience teaching math and science. The first 135 lessons are free, and the rest are available online for a small fee.