In previous exams you either had to do a real problem or an approximation. With the Calculus I test you will have more problems to solve and will have to solve them in a way that you have not always been taught to solve problems of that type. That means that you need a different type of approach to solving problems. You should not try and memorize all the formulas and ways that you used to solve the previous problem. Instead, you should use that memory to help you figure out the derivatives of the function. You need to go through all the steps to get to the absolute maximum of your answer, but at the same time do everything in as few steps as possible.
The first part of the exam is usually all done with real problems. You will solve for real limits, functions of the derivative, tangent functions, derivatives of a function, and so on. Once you have all the solutions, you can do one simple trick that will make your entire solution memorized. Rather than writing down every single derivative for the function you are working on, just write it down in the following form: x sin (a + b) cos (b – c) tan (d – e) cos (f – g). Notice that every term has the value a + b – c or b – d, depending on whether your function is a power function a gamma function, or a sine wave.
The next question that comes up is what you should do if the answer is not a definite value, such as x=0. This is where memorizing the formula becomes extremely important, because otherwise you would have no way of figuring out the answer by taking a normal graphing formula and figuring out the derivatives of the function. If you memorize this formula then you will have no need for the formula you were asked to memorize, and therefore you can forget about the problem.
On many questions there is usually an incorrect answer. For these I simply answer “help” or “I don’t know” and move on to the next question. The problem that often comes up on the exam is often very specific, such as finding the greatest geometric function. Obviously you need to know how to find the solution to this type of problem, but knowing the formula for finding the solution is not necessary.
One of the hardest parts of this exam is proving a correct solution for a particular unknown function. Most people get nervous when asked to memorize a formula and therefore cannot come up with a good answer. A much easier approach is to solve a simple problem first. After you learn the function and its derivatives then you can go back and solve the original problem.
There are many formulas online to learn, but I prefer to learn from real life examples. I once learned how to solve a cubic, quadratic equation from the manual of a college professor. You must solve the equation and then find a function that does the same function as stated by the formula. It is very easy to learn these techniques if you search for them in textbooks or go to a class and practice them. Practicing them on a graphing calculator is also a good idea, since these calculators make it very easy to calculate large numbers.
Getting a high score on the exam is not difficult, but it is certainly not easy. The passing requirements vary between tests, but getting at least a 95% on any one section can get you in the top five percent. If you do not pass the first time, then do not feel bad, because your second try should be able to help you. Just make sure to do plenty of practice questions before taking the actual exam.