Preparing for College Mathematics

1. Students should take four years of mathematics in high school. Advanced students may take university Precalculus and Calculus I online for university credit in conjunction with their high school.

2. It is important that students study hard for the ACT or SAT. The mathematics score will determine placement in university mathematics and in other STEM courses. ACT and SAT scores also influence scholarships.

3. Students need to cultivate the ability to focus exclusively on one thing for 50-75 minutes during class and longer during study times. Students should learn to avoid “multitasking”. Making an A on a university mathematics exam often can require 10 hours of focused study without distraction.

4. It is important to be able to take good notes by hand with paper and pencil. Current research shows this is the most effective way to learn and retain information and ideas. Many teachers will require that students put away all electronic devices during class. It is always important to make eye contact and connect with and interact with the teacher without distraction, and this is particularly important in mathematics.

5. The Department of Mathematics teaches students to put away electronic devices during seminars given by invited speakers. Teachers try to model professional behavior for students. It is not appropriate to be looking at a phone or other device when someone is speaking to us face to face.

6. It is important to be able to do mathematical procedures by hand. Teachers in many courses will not allow students to use a calculator on exams. It is important also to learn to use technology to do mathematics, but only after mastering the ability to do it by hand. Students entering Calculus should know the graphs of common functions and the sine and cosine of the 16 angles around the unit circle without needing to look at a calculator.

7. In most classes students will not be allowed to turn in late work or arrive late to class. It is important to learn personal responsibility.

Visit the Department of Mathematics website to learn about programs of study and who to contact for more information.