Why Is Calculus So Hard?

By Coco H | Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Even the mention of calculus can send students into an anxiety spiral. Not only does it sound intimidating, but it really can be. Calculus can live up to its scary reputation when you can’t understand the new concepts and lack educational support.

Think of calculus as the first step in understanding other areas of applied mathematics, such as the physical sciences and engineering. When students learn calculus, they learn new problem-solving skills and new ways to see the world.

I’m here to tell you that it is perfectly normal to fear new subjects like calculus, but you don’t have to live in fear forever. Why is calculus so hard? Calculus needs a good instructor, practice, a good foundation, and great tutors to help you on your journey to mastery. Keep reading to see how you can overcome your struggles in calculus.

Why Do We Need to Learn Calculus?

Whether it’s high school or college, the school curriculum puts calculus on the agenda for a reason. Learning calculus sets you up for more advanced college-level math courses depending on the major you chose and the career path you desire to get on.

When you learn calculus, you can begin to understand changing phenomena, learn practical engineering problem-solving skills, and learn how to use logic to break down complex ideas in any subject.

Why Does Calculus Matter?

Way back in the 17th century, Gottfried Leibniz and Isaac Newton created calculus to make sense of motion. Calculus helped mathematicians, astronomers, and mathematicians follow and calculate the movement of planets and stars; pretty cool, right? Understanding calculus means understanding the laws of nature.

Calculus can be summed up into two ideas: derivatives and integrals. Derivatives measure instant change, while integrals describe the tiny pieces that make up a whole. Derivatives are measured by subtraction and addition, while integrals are measured by multiplication and addition. Limits, another essential part of calculus, are the tools we use to describe how a function approaches a value.

Surprisingly, calculus is involved in our everyday lives by helping scientists understand climate, how much our population grows, how diseases spread, and economics. Calculus is even used to create video games.

Calculus is a branch of math that studies rate of change; this matters because most things in the natural world are constantly moving. If you’re interested in engineering, statistics, physics, economics, computer science, and even medicine, you’ll need to understand calculus to make sense of it.

Why Am I Bad at Calculus?

Often, the greatest indicator that you will have difficulty in calculus is if you didn’t master previous topics in math. Students must first understand geometry, algebra, and trigonometry to succeed in calculus.

Calculus uses examples from previous areas in math to solve problems because math is a sequential field that builds on prior knowledge. The tricky part of succeeding in calculus is knowing when you don’t understand something because of minor gaps in knowledge or because it’s a new concept.

Students often believe that if they memorize how to solve problems, they’ll be good at calculus. In reality, you have to have a deep understanding of how to solve calculus problems. Memorization isn’t necessarily understanding. Knowing what concept is good to use for each math problem and how to use them is essential.

So no, you’re not bad at calculus. You simply need to brush up on your skills by reviewing previous classes’ work and ensuring that you grasp the new concepts taught to you. Keep reading to find out how you can improve your understanding of calculus.

Will I Need to Use Calculus in Real Life?

Believe it or not, calculus does have many practical applications in the real world. For instance, in chemistry, calculus can predict reaction rates and the effects of radioactivity on decay.

The language of calculus is everywhere. You can see it in how people predict the rise and fall of the stock market and when people figure out when rockets will land back into Earth’s orbit.

Are you interested in computer science? Computer scientists use calculus in writing code, and design. You also use calculus to build and create graphs, make visual simulations, and analyze algorithms.

Calculus and the study of mathematics, in general, can introduce you to think scientifically. Mathematics is the language of science and nature. Learning calculus opens you up to new problem-solving skills and more rational ways of thinking.

Can Calculus Be Easy?

Calculus can be challenging, but it is more than possible to master it. Why is calculus so hard to understand? Most of the reasons students have difficulty learning calculus is because they don’t study daily after lessons, can’t focus in class, have gaps in their math knowledge, and think learning calculus is a waste of time.

Here are the steps you can take to make calculus a breeze:

  • Stay curious
  • Ask questions
  • Change your mindset
  • Review material from previous math courses
  • Get help by getting a free online calculus tutor

Do you want to go from describing calculus as “hard” to “easy and manageable?” Tutoring or live help sessions with Schoolhouse can make calculus easy and, dare I say, enjoyable.

Join a calculus tutoring session to learn and collaborate with other students with tutors who create a fun and collaborative environment. Schoolhouse even offers live math help every weekday from 5:00 PM PST to 7:00 PM PST, where you can get 1-on-1 support through calculus homework!

Schoolhouse offers step-by-step solutions to the problems you’re stuck on, small group instruction or 1-on-1 live tutoring, helpful tools, tips for good study habits, and a boost in confidence. Sign up to crush your calculus homework today!

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