MA 123: Elementary Calculus & its Applications is an introductory course to calculus. It is considered credit for a calc 1 course for most programs, and there is a second course, MA 132 that follows it. However, if you are in engineering or certain STEM programs, you are required to take MA 113 and MA 114 to fulfill the first and second requirements for calculus at UK. MA 123 is often referred to as the “easy” calculus, and here’s why.

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1. Homework grades

Homework in MA 123 is completed through an online resource called “Webassign”. The course has on average 2-3 homework assignments per week, which may seem like a lot. However, the assignments are designed to help you succeed. Each question has unlimited attempts up to the time it’s due, and you aren’t penalized for the failed attempts. In addition to this, there are significantly more homework questions in the class than there are homework points. This allows for you to easily receive a 100% on homework at the end of the semester, and you can end up with up to a 110% for homework.


2. Campus resources

One of the best things about UK is the free resources available to students. Because MA 123 is such a popular course, there are so many resources that cater to it. The Study holds MA 123 tutoring sessions every day of the week. The Mathskellar is hosted by the math department, and professors and TA’s for the class hold their office hours there specifically to help MA 123 students. Both of these are great ways to get the extra help you need.


3. Extra credit

As mentioned above, there is the opportunity to earn 10 extra credit points just by doing the homework. There is also an optional assignment specifically meant to help students get those extra credit points. There’s no reason you can’t get those extra ten points if you utilize your time, resources, and learning productively.


4. Practice exams

Arguably the best thing about the course is the practice exams. There are years and years of old exams in the MA 123 database. Year after year the exams continue to look very similar. This really allows you to practice and find out where you’re lacking, so you can get help with that material. If you can commit to taking the time to practice and learn with these old exams, you can pretty much guarantee success on the exam.


5. Instructors

At least in my experience, the professors in MA 123 are great. They’re incredibly smart mathematicians who also care a lot about their students. The TA’s are also there to help you! Both TA’s and professors are required to provide office hours for their students. This allows for a huge group of people working towards making MA 123 an acceptable course. Take advantage of this plus!


Calculus is not easy. But this course at UK is designed to help you succeed, not to watch you fail. But you have to take advantage of what is there to help you, or you won’t be able to make it any easier. Remember, there are OneClass notes out there for MA 123 from students that took the class themselves. Good luck!





Sydney Hineline

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