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Tips for Precalculus & Trigonometry Classes

The best way to study in any math class is to do practice problems. Your teacher may provide you with a textbook that you can use for this purpose. However, if you do not have a textbook, you can use the internet to search for “[math concept] practice problems,” replacing [math concept] with “integration,” “transformation,” “quadratic equation,” or anything else you are studying in class.

Watch online videos to see how a process is done, step-by-step. Sites such as Khan Academy and even YouTube have a number of good tutorials. Often, the most difficult part of math is remembering the order of steps and how to do them, so watching someone else do them can be very helpful.

Explaining the process you are having trouble with to another person, once you are sure that you know the correct steps, is an excellent way to solidify knowledge.

If you choose to listen to music to block out distractions, choose an instrumental track or classical music so the music itself is not particularly distracting.

Ask your teacher about any small rules you find confusing, such as special cases in which you must change the sign of an integer or draw a graph in a different way than one might expect.

If your problem concerns a real-life situation, make sure to draw a picture--it can help you visualize the situation. If you make a mistake, you can also show it to your teacher and ask if you are visualizing it correctly.

Always use pencil and graph paper when drawing graphs. Using a ruler does not hurt either!

This class will require that you have a calculator at home. Make sure that you get the correct type of calculator at the beginning of the year and read the manual so you know how to use the functions that you will need in class.

Some of the concepts taught in Precalc & Trig are extensions of the topics taught in earlier classes. If you are having trouble with a concept, you may want to review your old notes so you will understand the next steps better.

After taking Precalc & Trig, you will have a few choices of which math class to take next. Talk to your teacher about which one they think is best for you.