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Before Starting First Year

The transition from high school or the work place to university is a challenge for many people. The following tips and advice are provided to help you succeed in attaining your goals at university. The University provides additional support to its students through the Student Success Centre, the Aboriginal Student Centre, and the Math & Stats Study Centre.

Prepare Before You Arrive

It is expected that you will be able to do arithmetic without the aid of a calculator, and that you are fluent in algebra. If you are majoring in science or engineering, then you should be able to use trigonometry readily. If you received a grade of less than 80% in Precalculus 30, then you are advised to take Mathematics 102 (Pre-Calculus and Mathematical Modelling), which is a 3 credit hour course that may be used as a Science elective in most degree programs, prior to taking Mathematics 103 (Applied Calculus I) or Mathematics 110 (Calculus I). Mathematics 102 is offered every semester, including during a six-week period in July and August.

Students who will be taking MATH 103 (Applied Calculus I) or MATH 110 (Calculus I) are strongly encouraged to work through the appropriate self-administered diagnostic test: the MATH 103 Diagnostic Test or the MATH 110 Diagnostic Test.

Attend Every Lecture

University mathematics and statistics classes cover a lot of material, quickly. Unlike high school where one might be able to get by without studying the texts closely or attending every lecture, in university you are expected to read the relevant sections of the text before and after each lecture. The role of the professor is to highlight the important points of the subject, to give an overview of the area, and very often to leave the details to the student to work out on his or her own. Missing lectures is generally a set back for most students, and so it is important to be present as much as possible.

Practice Problem Solving and Study Independently

There is a high degree of independent learning expected. You will be assigned problems that will not necessarily be graded. The purpose of the assignments is to master the mathematics and statistics under study; one cannot pass 100-level courses without having worked on a large number of practice problems. 

Find a Study Buddy or an Informal Study Group

It is very advisable to find a study buddy or join an informal study group. You will stay motivated in your studies and discover that students are great at teaching each other. You will also meet new people and make new friends. However, if you are submitting any written work for evaluation, then you must prepare your submission on your own so that it represents your own thoughts, even if you happened to solve a problem with a group of people. Copying and cheating are forms of academic misconduct and are treated very seriously by universities.

Seek Extra Support

There are supports for you. Your professor will have office hours for students to come by and ask questions, and some courses will have lab sections associated with the course. The Department Office (CW307.14) maintains a list of private tutors, if you should wish to hire one.