What do I need to do to pass this course?

Usually that question comes too late, but sometimes it comes the first week. When it comes the first week it is from an older student who has been away from math for a while. I tell them to start by reviewing the prerequisite material and tell them where to find it. I tell them they must not only study the current material but go back and do problems on everything I’ve taught them. They must do them again and again until it becomes automatic.

I don’t hoard this information and only give it out to students who ask me. I repeatedly mention that the first chapter of the textbook has a good review. I often encourage students to review the material I’ve taught them. Most students don’t listen.

The good news: students who ask this the first week and follow my advice almost always get A’s.

The bad news: very few students ask that question.

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