Math 1341B, Introduction to Linear AlgebraFall 2003 Peter Selinger

In the past six years, at the time of course evaluations, students have been asked to offer any advice they might have for new students who are just beginning the course. Here are some of their comments:

"this course is not like OAC Algebra, so get with it from the start or you'll have great difficulty later..."

"the more you work in January, the less you have to worry in April..."

"do the assigned questions..."

"do all the problems..."

"do more than the assigned questions: often, test questions come straight out of the book..."

"go to the problem sessions! ..."

"don't fall behind..."

"allow lots, I mean lots of time for studying..."

"attending problem sessions is practically mandatory..."

"wear baseball caps low over the forehead. It helps to hide you when you fall asleep..."

"no matter how bored you are, attend all the classes..."

"keep at it ! Each concept builds on the previous ones..."

"read each chapter the night before a lecture..."

"read ahead, it's much worse catching up later on if you fall behind..."

"read one section and then do the exercises before going onto the next one..."

"the course moves along quickly. Taking 20 minutes the night before a class to read over the material makes the course substantially easier..."

"take 5 minutes after class to read the notes. They're more helpful than you think..."

"read over the class notes, since they are very different from the textbook and homework..."

"studying from the book is easier..."

"consulting the textbook to re-learn what was already taught in class was mandatory..."

"summarize the theorems in your own words..."

"nine beers before the midterm is just too much..."

"make sure you know what a "span" is..."

"don't study this course while watching a hockey game..."

"don't leave your questions until the last week..."

"don't wait until the last moment to start studying or to start the suggested exercises..."

"relax and keep trying - this stuff actually makes sense after a while..."

and my favourite:

"algebra is like skydiving. If you put off pulling the cord until the end ..."

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(These student comments were collected and provided by Prof. Barry Jessup).

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Peter Selinger / Department of Mathematics and Statistics / Dalhousie University
selinger@mathstat.dal.ca / PGP key