Course policies and information/Success strategies

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Do problems

The most important thing you can do to succeed in this course is to do lots of problems. Beyond the assigned homework problems, you will find links on this site to additional problems that you can work on for extra practice. There are also old midterms and exams posted on the Mathematics Department website. Reading the course notes, reviewing your lecture notes and looking over worked examples are good supplements especially when you find yourself stumped by a problem you are working on but don't get sucked into thinking that you can understand the course material by doing these alone. Do problems. Talking to your classmates about the problems you're stuck on can also be extremely useful, even if they are stuck too! And expect to get stuck. Getting stuck is an indication that you're learning. As the midterm and exam approach, it will be useful to go through the course and lecture notes and summarize, organize and condense them into your own personal study tool. The act of making such a tool is actually a great learning experience so don't just copy your friend's summary and expect it to help you study.


The readings for this course will be from the MATH 102 course notes written by Prof. Leah Keshet. Occasionally, other readings will be posted on that same page. Before each week, you should look at the course calendar. There you will find a day-by-day breakdown of the week's material, including the section numbers of sections that you should read before coming to class. Each week, you will have pre-lecture WeBWorK assignments on material not yet discussed in class. This is to encourage you to keep up with the readings and come to class prepared for a more in depth exploration of the material. There will be videos to introduce you to the new concepts but these should not replace the readings, only supplement them. Note that not all material will be covered in class so it is important that you read the course notes carefully. When a section of the course notes is to be formally omitted from the course (i.e. you won't be tested on it), we will say so explicitly.

Time spent studying

Many students arrive at university with unclear or unrealistic expectations of how much work they will have to do. For this course, the amount of time required for success will vary with your background and your definition of success. However, between 5 and 8 hours outside of class time is not an unreasonable range for a well-prepared incoming student. Expect to put in more time near midterms and exams. Also, what you do with that time is crucial. Passive activities, like reading the course notes or Wikipedia pages, might give you a sense of understanding but are no replacement for picking up a pen and paper and working on problems.

While you're studying, take time to reflect on the helpfulness of your current activity. Struggling through the start of a tough problem is important to build problem-solving skills, but re-doing the same webwork problem twenty times is maybe not a great use of your valuable time.


  • UBC Learning Commons: "an evolving collection of UBC-selected learning resources that guide students through a process of discovery."