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How to pass university math (or any class really)

By Syed Muhammad Rizvi

Read the syllabus 

The syllabus contains vital information like lecture topics for the entire semester, contact information for your professors and TAs, as well as breakdowns for your midterms and exams (so you can get started on studying for finals from day one). If you have any general questions about the course, the syllabus will most likely have the answer. 

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Go to lectures 

This seems like an obvious one, but you would be surprised to see how many people skip lectures because “it’s all going to be put online later”. Take advice from someone who did that - DON’T DO THAT! Lecture notes are uploaded online later, but you will not get the professors insights and explanations when you just read the online notes. Also, many of your midterm and exam questions will be from the lecture notes, so why wouldn’t you want to get some good practice and actually understand those questions. Going to lectures doesn’t count if you’re on your phone the whole time either, so make sure you pay attention. 

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Go to tutorials 

This one is pretty self-explanatory. Go to tutorials because that is where you will get time to practice some of the harder topics from the lectures or homework. Also, most math tutorials have quizzes either daily or once every couple of days, so you could be losing a lot of marks should you choose not to go. 

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Use online resources

Use online resources like Khan Academy, Quizlet, Chegg, etc. to learn, review concepts from lectures, test your knowledge, or check homework answers (once you have tried them on your own). Khan Academy in particular is a great way to relearn some of the older topics quickly. Our Student Learning Centre also has its own online academic resource for students called nool which includes support for math, writing, and study skills.

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Use your best judgement 

Use your best judgement and don’t procrastinate. I don’t care how smart you are, you will not be able to catch up on a month of content the night before your midterm or final. Also, if you happen to miss a lecture once in a while, make sure to go to the next one. If you miss an online quiz, make sure to do the next one. The procrastination rabbit hole is deep and pretty hard to get out of once you fall in. 

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