Being a requirement for a large sum of majors, Math 115 is probably one of the most taken classes in U of M. It’s hard and difficult. If you haven’t taken Calc 1 in high school, it might even seem impossible at times because it’s not just any math class… It’s a Michigan math course (and for many, it’s their first Michigan math class).
That means that you can’t just memorize formulas like you did in high school and middle school. Here, you really need to understand what’s happening and why it’s happening.
Worry not though, for this blog post should help you survive the course.
1. Understand and do the Team Homework
They’re honestly (most of the time) a real pain in the you know where. Finding a time where everyone in your team can meet up to work and discuss math is terrible (and not something worthwhile) to do. Writing everything up afterward might seem unnecessary and very time-consuming, but it’s worth the time and effort you put into it.
Some of the problems in the homework packets come in the exam, so it’s better to be prepared by understanding them than to fail.
2. Ask your GSI questions or go to the Math Lab
If you’re one of the unlucky ones stuck with a bad GSI (whether it’s because he/she doesn’t know how to explain the material or because you don’t understand his/her accent), find a way to get your questions answers. All of the GSI are obligated to hold office hours, go to them.
If you don’t want to/like/ don’t understand the GSI in charge of your course, go to another instructor. The Math Lab is filled with them.
As long as you make sure to completely understand the material by the time the exam comes, you’ll be fine. Just make sure to put the effort into answering whatever doubts and questions you may have. You definitely do not want to fall behind because you didn’t get a certain subject.
3. Find a group of people to study with you
Talk to your friends and see who’s taking the course with you. None of them? Make friends in your class and get together. Study groups are great in a variety of ways.
If you’re the one that doesn’t understand a question, anyone of your friends can explain it in any number of ways. If you’re the one that understands the questions, explaining it to others is a great way of making sure you do know what’s happening (and you’re helping someone else in the process – which is also great!).
4. Practice with Past Exams
No two questions will ever be the same, but practicing with past exams is a fantastic way of putting your skills and knowledge to the test. The problems in your evaluations may not be worded in the same manner as those you practiced, but the same concepts and ideas are going to be asked.
Print a few of them out and see how you feel with the material. Time yourself or do them in your own time, it’s entirely up to you.
The University of Michigan provides you all of the tools you need to do well in math, the question is if you are prepared to put in the time and effort needed to use all of those tools.
As long as you’re well prepared, organized and hardworking, then you have nothing to fear. Just follow the tips given on the list and get ready to be that one person who breaks the (insane) curve. You got this.