My office, during the last week of class:
Student: Dr. K?
Student: I’m not sure how well I’m doing in your class.
Me: Let’s see… [ Consults gradebook. ] You have a 60% on Exam 1, a 40% on Exam 2, and a 20% on Exam 3. I’m pretty confident you’re doing bad.
Student: The class seems pretty hard…
Me: I said as much on the first day of class: The prerequisite for Calculus II is often Calculus II. This is a difficult class even for good students, but it’s damn near impossible if you don’t do any of the homework.
Student: This is my first semester in college. I never really had to work in high school for good grades, so I guess I thought I didn’t have to do any work here.
Me: It’s a tough lesson to learn.
Student: Is there any advice you can give me so that I can get a better grade?
Me: At this point in the semester, there’s nothing you can do.
Student: I get that. I mean next semester?
Me: Turn in the homework. Heck, do the homework. Do all of the homework. Make it an active study experience. Try to check your answers by hand. Try to check them with Maple. Try old problems to practice your skills.
Student: Do you have any other advice that doesn’t involve so much work?