Success In Calculus

You can increase your odds of success in your first UCSC calculus course by enhancing your math skills before your course begins. Your ALEKS Learning Module is an ideal tool for revitalizing old knowledge and reinforcing any weak spots up through precalculus. Other self-study resources (e.g., Kahn Academy) can give you a head start with the concepts and constructions you’ll see in your calculus course.

A little practice can make a big difference

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A few hours of targeted review can give you a significant advantage in your calculus courses. Analyses of student performance in their UCSC calculus courses show that students who assess or reassess into higher MP tiers earn higher grades (on average) in calculus than those who place into the lowest tier satisfying the course prerequisites.

The grade distributions for Math 19A, Calculus for Science, Mathematics, and Engineering, Fall 2016, show the importance of thorough preparation for success in calculus.

Students in the 500 tier were more than twice as likely to earn an A+ or A than their classmates in the 400 MP tier!

The lower bars show the percentage of students in the 400 MP tier who earned the indicated grade; the upper bars show the percentage of students in the 500 MP tier with that grade. For most students starting in the 400 tier, five hours of Learning Module study is sufficient to reach the 500 tier, so make your move to the top!

If you’re already eligible for the course you want, you don’t need to reassess to gain the benefits of working in your Learning Module! Your ALEKS pie displays your progress, and your Knowledge Checks will verify that you’re gaining and retaining mastery of the topics you learn or review. 

Preview coming attractions

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Many UCSC students studied calculus in high school, but don’t worry if you haven’t taken calculus before! None of the first calculus courses—AMS/Econ 11A and Math 11A, 19A, and 20A—assume prior calculus experience.

Whether you’re new to calculus or already have a calc course under your belt, you can get a running start in your course by exploring some of the key concepts before your UCSC course begins. If you understand (or even partially understand) the insights and constructions that form the foundation of calculus, all the formulas and special cases will make a lot more sense.

You can find excellent free calculus resources online. Here are a few suggestions:

Kahn Academy's free AP Calculus AB and BC courses feature videos created by Sal Kahn himself (founder of Kahn Academy, and one of the 100 most influential people in the world according to Time magazine).

UC Irvine freely shares videos of actual lectures from their calculus sequence Calculus 2A (professor: Germán Andres Enciso Ruiz) and Calculus 2B (professor: Natalia Komarova), which roughly corresponds to UCSC's Math 19AB.