If you're a student taking calculus, you know that calculus can be tough. To do well on tests and quizzes, you'll need to spend at least a few hours studying. How you spend your time will determine how much you get done. Many students don't know how to study or use their time badly. Although calculus is tough, but studying doesn't have to be. Here are a few hints on making the most of your study time.

  • Know what will be on the exam. This is the single most important thing to keep in mind when studying, but you'd be surprised at the number of students who start studying, not having a clue about what will be covered on the test! That's a waste of time. Make sure you know exactly which sections in the book will be covered, and if you need to know anything else for the test. This will help you focus on the material that's really important.
  • Spend extra time on more important concepts. What did your teacher spend a lot of time talking about in class? That topic is likely to be on the exam. If your teacher spend three days on max/min problems and only one on related rates, you should make sure you know how to solve lots of max/min problems before moving on to related rates. By spending lots of time on a particular topic, you teacher is telling you that he or she thinks that topic is important. That means it's more likely to be on the test. Also pay attention to what your teacher says and their mannerisms. If they get excited when they talk about a particular problem, they might put a similar one on the test.
  • Try to guess one or two problems you think will be on the test. You don't have to guess the problem exactly, just guess what type of problem it will be. Be as specific as possible. Look at the last point for hints: what did your teacher spend lots of time talking about? Were there more homework problems on one topic than any other? Maybe your teacher told you there would be a particular type of problem on the test. If any of these are true, you should focus your effort on learning to solve this kind of problem.
  • Study in a small group. Groups can be a very effective way of learning. Make sure you study with other people who are focused, and don't study in a group of more than two or three. Take turns asking each other questions. Explaining concepts and calculus solutions can be very difficult, and it's a great test of whether you know the material or not! When you study, you should spend lots of time doing problems since that's what you'll have to do on the test. In a group, you can check your solutions with your peers afterward. A calculus answer guide can help.
Although you'll still have to spend lots of time and effort, studying can be more rewarding and easier if you do it well. Relax, plan ahead, and you can do great on your test or quiz. Good luck!