I cant pass calculus?

I dont know if this class is really this hard or am i just too stupid. i had to drop calculus 1 this summer at my college because the stuff seems way to difficult. right now im practicing limits before i have to retake it again and i cant get the hang of it. ive done like 50 practice problems and still cant solve an average limit problem. there is just too many variations and too much algebra to know. everyone is saying calculus is so easy but its the hardest class ive taken so far. has anyone else felt like this i feel like i should just quit my major if i cant even pass this class.

5 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    ...everyone comes from high schools with different math backgrounds and gets thrown into university and college together.....nobody is the same..

    ...however all of the degrees that pay the most are somewhat math based and calculus for at least two semesters is required in most of them....most people do not think of themselves as "math people"..however as babies they were not language people either but they forget that....it takes practice...

    ...calculus is used as the "weeding out class" by universities...every kid wants to be a computer scientist or something great but they get to university and smoke pot and chase girls and try to be cool guys... if they cant pass calculus its a deterrent to entry in the better occupations...it requires lots of practice and lots of patience to learn this stuff...not a single night of reading before the exam....everyone speaks English and can read a book but not everyone can put in the effort and has the discipline to do the math over and over...this stuff really forces you to "learn"...you do not accidentally get a math based degree by being a good communicator or cramming the night before........

    ...university basically teaches you how to teach yourself and how to find and disseminate information....I and most others that messed around in high school did not have an easy time of it jumping into calculus when we finally figured out it was necessary to get where we wanted to go...

    ...asking people is the first step...well done....

    ...most will tell you practice the problems...that's their advice...

    ...the reality is that the textbooks are all convoluted and designed to make the writers feel good about themselves in how rigorous they are.... they offer solutions only every second problem and don't even show the steps...

    ..unfortunately limits are only the very beginning of your problems.. (haha..small joke there..)

    there is only so much time in a day...you could spend your time messing around staring at a problem trying to figure it out...or...you could spend your time doing and redoing the problems 3 times a day for a few days till it becomes easy for you ....

    ..really what you need to do is get a hold of a few used books on amazon like..

    ...Shaums Calculus Outline..

    ...REA's Problem Solvers Calculus

    ...The Humongous Book of Calculus Problems by Michael Kelly...

    These all have a chapter on limits...all the problems solved....spend your day writing out all 100 of the solved limit problems in a notebook...then go through and do and redo all the problems and find out all the steps you don't understand and note them...go to the math help room....ask a teacher....post steps here and ask people...its like a big scavenger hunt..but they don't tell you that..my prof never mentioned the unit circle or the 2 magic triangles that make the trigonometry easy to remember...

    also..there are lots of helpful videos at patickjmt.com and khanacademy

    the bottom line is you have to learn it yourself...they cannot teach you calculus in a few hours a day...you need to see those problems and work them all 3 times each until they are easy...

    after limits you'll hit continuity and derivatives and after you learn some max and min stuff ....then do it all backwards....

    ...but with those books you'll have 150 sample problems of each topic...you can do them all and redo them all and you wont be spending your time on the scavenger hunt most students are on...the cool part is with three different books you will get it explained to you three different ways..the textbooks are usually useless..just get familiar with the processes and steps involved in doing problems and then the bigger concepts click a lot easier....

    ..another helpful thing is if you get into a class using stewarts calculus textbook you get an online course called webassign with about 50 video tutorials per chapter....then you really get a nice walk through....

    ...keep your head up and best of luck...get the solved problems first...then practice practice practice.... :D

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  • 8 years ago

    Most majors these days, at least the ones I've seen, require a minimum of Calculus I to satisfy the mathematics requirement, so changing your major wouldn't allow you to avoid this class. As far as getting better goes, Calculus is mostly algebra, as you've highlighted, so with this in mind, try to focus more on that and less on the Calculus stuff itself. Also, most algebra heavy limits have tricks, usually involving rationalization via multiplication by a binomial's conjugate or factoring a polynomial to cancel a problem term. So try searching the net for some limit problems with the work. Once you see what the tricks are and where they're typically applied it just becomes a matter of doing the work.

    If there's time left, I'd also recommend looking at derivatives. They're much easier than limits as they don't require tricks, just memorization and form fitting, but it is a lot of material and it gets fairly tedious fairly quickly, so the sooner you see it the better.

    To start you off here are some links:




    If, a few weeks into the semester you're still feeling like you're struggling, try talking to your professor in person, by either going to his/her office hours or making an appointment. They're there to teach after all. Worst case they can point you to a tutor. Some colleges offer services for free or a low fee, but if not I'm sure there's bulletin boards with people offering their own solo tutoring time, although these are usually more expensive the tutors are sometimes more knowledgable and helpful. As goes the adage, you get what you pay for. Sometimes these private tutors do offer a discount if you can find a group of people, but for those struggling a lot, solo tutoring is a lot better.

    Good luck. Never give up.

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  • 8 years ago

    Only quit your major if you feel like it is the right decision. Don't quit because you think it is too hard. It is definitely hard but a lot of those things just take time. Keep working on it and it will get easier. I spent hours every day when I took Calculus even though I consider myself someone who is good at math. It just takes time.

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  • Jo-ann
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Don't drop. Keep trying. Talk to your professor during office hours. My friend failed Calc 4(diff eq) four times before finally passing it. He studied mechanical engineering and just graduated this year.

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  • ted s
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    So take the precalc course...your comments indicate you are weak in algebra and trig concepts

    Note : I had a student who took each calc course twice....low grade in 1st , retook it while doing the 2nd...good grade in 1st , low in the 2nd , etc...currently he has an MS in Math and is working in industry...we keep in touch

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