Calculus killed me

Why do so many students fail Calculus?


The young lady behind the counter was making change. I said that the next time I was in her bookstore I hoped my own new book would be on display. “Oh,” she said, “what’s it called?”

“Math Overboard,” I replied, “It’s a review of school math, written for adults.” “Hey, that’s just what I need,” she said, writing down the book’s and my name. “Calculus killed me,” she volunteered.

Calculus seems to kill a lot of pretty bright kids. It’s not that calculus is that hard – it isn’t. The problem is that many students come to calculus with an inadequate understanding of school-level math, including algebra, analytic geometry, functions and graphs, logarithms, exponentials, and trigonometry. This lack of understanding is often combined with poor writing skills in mathematics – brackets are misused, equality signs run on endlessly, and so on. These students lack confidence in their mathematical abilities – they suffer from “Math Anxiety.”

But what can be done about it?

Math Overboard!

My recently published book Math Overboard! (Basic Math for Adults) deals head-on with this problem. Covering all of school math, from kindergarten to Grade 12, Math Overboard! stresses the importance of understanding math in detail, as you learn it, or in this case, re-learn it. Frequent Problems test your understanding as well as your skills.

Math Overboard! consists of two volumes:

Part 1: Arithmetic, Algebra, Geometry, Functions and Graphs. (Published November, 2012; 444 pages. Price if ordered from the website (includes 20% discount from retail price), $24.00.)

Part 2: Trigonometry, Exponential and Logarithmic Functions, Complex Numbers, Statistics and Probability, Advanced Topics. (Expected publication date June, 2013.)


For further information, please visit Math Overboard!