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Penn State Greater Allegheny is a small campus with small classes. MATH 140 tends to be a really small class because of the satellite campus, as well as the fact that it’s a difficult course. Calculus itself is already difficult, and there may not be a lot of resources to help you. Here are a few ways to take advantage of the few resources that are available:

1. Make some friends

Making friends is the best way to get through this class. It’s easy to miss notes because the class is fast-paced, so sharing notes with friends can help fill in gaps of information. Friends are also good for study groups. You can work on math problems together and check each other’s answers. Even if you and your friends have no idea what is going on in the class, you’ll at least get emotional support from each other!

2. Go to office hours

Less classmates means more one-on-one time with the teacher. You can probably go to office hours and ask however many questions you want to truly understand something. No matter how intimidating the teacher may be in class, they are always more than happy to help a student out during their office hours.

3. Talk to math and science majors

Even though it’s a small campus, there are plenty of math and science majors around that could definitely help with this class. Chances are, if they’re a sophomore or higher, they’ve probably taken the class already as a requirement. If you’re lucky enough, they might also tell you what types of questions to look out for from past exams.

4. Get a tutor

There are a lot of tutors around constantly offering help. Some tutoring sessions could also count as one credit. It can’t possibly hurt to get some help on homework while earning credit. Make sure to find a tutor at the beginning of the year, so you can schedule meeting times that work for both of you. If you think it’s too late to find a tutor, don’t worry. There’s usually a study group led by a tutor every once in a while.

5. Save your textbook

The textbook for this class is the same textbook used for MATH 141, so it’s definitely worth keeping if you plan on taking more calculus. It’s great for looking at examples, and the practice problems are almost the same problems you will see on exams and quizzes. It also explains everything step-by-step in case you miss something during the lecture.

Hopefully these tips help you figure out the best resources for surviving MATH 140. It’s a tough class, but that doesn’t mean you have to be tough on yourself. Make sure to follow these steps and take extensive notes. Math is all about showing work. Good luck!


Tess Fukuyama

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