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3. Getting Help
Getting help when you are in trouble is one of the most important things that you can do in a math class. Here are a couple of things that you can do the get help.
- Get Help When You Need It. Do not wait until the last minute to get help. When you start running into problems it is time to get help. Remember that math is cumulative. If you don’t get help right away you will only be making it all that more difficult to understand future material.
- Ask Questions in Class. This way you get the help you need AND stay actively involved in the class.
- Visit the Instructor’s Office Hours. The instructor has office hours for a reason, so use them!
- Form a Study Group. Many people find it convenient to study in a group. Different people will see things differently and may see a way to work a problem that you don’t know how to do.
- Go to the Tutor Lab. If your school has a free math tutoring lab (many do and many don’t) then make use of it! That’s what it’s there for.
Here at Lamar University the free math tutoring lab located in Lucas 209.
- Get a Private Tutor. You can always hire a private tutor for some help. In almost every school you will find people who are willing to tutor you for a fee. Most math departments keep a list of tutors or can tell you where you might be able to find one.
If you are here at Lamar University you can access a list of current tutors at the Math Departments office in Lucas 200.
- Ask Good Questions. Saying “I don’t understand this section.” or “I don’t get it.” is not the best way to seek help. It just doesn’t imply what you’re having trouble with and so will probably not get your questions answered. Be specific with your questions. What exactly is it about this section don’t you understand?
Many instructors won’t help you unless you do have specific questions and/or can articulate exactly what it is that you don’t understand and/or “get”. If you really don’t understand a given section that is okay, but be prepared to tell your instructor just what is causing the problems. Do you not understand the concept? Are you having trouble getting the problems started? Are you having trouble identifying how the problems use the ideas in the given section?
- Have Attempted Work With You. When you get help make sure and bring the attempts that you’ve made on the problem. This will help the person helping you to understand just where you’re having problem.
Again, many instructors won’t help you unless you’ve got something to show that you’ve at least attempted a problem. If you really don’t understand how to even start the problem then bring in work for other problems in that section that you have done. This accomplishes two things. First, it shows the instructor that you have been working and second, it gives the instructor something to look at to see just where you’re having trouble understanding the problem you’re trying to work.