Classes, Connections, General, How-to, Places, Student Life, Study

Keep Calm and Calculus On

In my first year as a Life Science student at U of T, I had to take MAT135 and MAT136. At first, I was frightened by the extensive use of letters and notation in university calculus, but once I began to understand the meaning of dy over dx, I realized that calculus is a discipline with connections to all fields of science. Still, it wasn’t easy for me at all! I had my challenges in both courses and that’s when I went for help at a few of the Math Aid Centres on campus. While there are a lot of for-pay tutoring services out there, these Aid Centres are free of charge; with a bit of help, you can succeed in calculus and become a modern-day Newton!

Photo of Calculus Notes

To find the most up to date locations of the various Math Aid Centres on campus, check out From here, you’ll be able to access the actual pages of the Aid Centres. For first year students taking Calculus, the Aid Centres you are likely to venture to are New College, Victoria College, Woodsworth College, Trinity College and the centre located in the Physical Geography Building. Here are my three tips for accessing these aid centres:

  1. Bring all the materials you need, like your textbook, notes, pencils and an abundance of paper for practice! It’s often easier to have specific issues addressed in these interactions, so bring in all the details of the problem you’re facing so you can get some tailored answers.
  1. Even if you don’t have specific homework questions, you can bring in your notes and get some clarification, even on the basics. For instance, I was accustomed to using a calculator in high school, even for the simplest multiplication steps, but mental math was a huge aspect of both courses. If you don’t understand the basics, like long division, you’re likely going to struggle at these university-level courses. Don’t be shy to seek help! The staff at the Math Aid Centres can help you no matter where you stand in managing these courses.
  1. Prefer guaranteed one-on-one help? Book a free thirty-minute appointment with the Trinity Math Aid Centre ahead of time. This was my go-to Math Aid Centre during my first year, since I never had to worry about walking into a packed Math Aid Centre and waiting. I also could ask silly questions without judgement, which really helped me address what was actually going on with my work.

Calculus can be difficult, but you don’t have to be infinitely confused! When in doubt, seek help at one of the Math Aid Centres on campus. Also, don’t forget to write +C (see MAT136 for more details).