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The Top Five Reasons Why So Many Students Need a Precalculus Tutor
Precalculus is a course that usually starts out looking pretty easy for students, but then builds up, becoming more and more difficult as it progresses. At this stage, students may feel lost in the material and lack confidence in their ability to solve the problems assigned to them. While many students think they may need calculus help right from the start of class, the majority of students don’t realize they need precalculus tutoring until they have about a quarter of the way in the course. A precalculus tutor can help fill gaps in a student’s understanding of the material by working with them to understand the meaning behind the multiple concepts studied in class and also showing them alternative methods for obtaining solutions to math problems. There are several reasons why so many students need a precalculus tutor:
1. Precalculus is a course that requires the student to have an above average understanding of various functions and their corresponding graphs:
The precalculus student should be comfortable manipulating different types of algebraic functions and graphing these functions in order to analyze these graphs. Some of these functions include linear, quadratic, polynomial, square root, trigonometric, and logarithmic functions.
2. Students often graduate from one year to the next without having mastered the fundamental math skills needed to excel in the coming year:
After completing algebra, students should be able to solve the x-intercept, y-intercept, and vertex of the function if necessary. Other important concepts they need to master are: factoring and graphing equations and inequalities to find various solutions to mathematical problems. Unfortunately, many students lack a strong foundation in Algebra II, which makes the transition to precalculus even more difficult.
3. Many students are unsure how to use their graphing calculator to obtain and verify answers:
The graphing calculator should be used as a complementary tool for solving precalculation problems. It’s a great tool for checking answers and verifying solutions to complex functions that are otherwise too difficult to plot manually. Unfortunately, students don’t know how to use their calculator to its full potential, mainly because they haven’t used it much in Algebra II.
4. Difficult trigonometric functions that students encounter in precalculus can seem intimidating:
Precalculus is the first math lesson in which students will be introduced to the graphs of sine, cosine, tangent, secant, cosecant, and cotangent functions. These graphs are particularly difficult because they can be plotted in degrees or radians and can be translated, stretched or inverted. A precalculus tutor can help you learn these functions by describing their similarities and identifying their differences. Practice makes perfect and will help the student gain confidence in figuring out even the most difficult solutions to precalculus math problems.
5. Precalculus builds on concepts of algebra and trigonometry and begins to prepare students for advanced topics in calculus.
In order to excel in calculus, the student will need to be comfortable plotting and interpreting a wide variety of complex functions, including trigonometric functions. Therefore, precalculus becomes an important prerequisite for any student wishing to take graduate-level math courses, including science and business courses that they can take in the senior year of high school or college. Precalculus is the bridge to calculus, and students taking this course and more advanced math courses cannot afford to miss even a few of the fundamental skills learned in precalculus.
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