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Faculty of Science
UNB Fredericton

Back to Mathematics and Statistics

Preparing for first year 

First-year calculus

You’re not alone, many students in universities across Canada find first-year calculus difficult. 

Don’t forget that in mathematics, like in music and athletics, the development of knowledge is cumulative. What you learn next depends on what you’ve retained before.

Facility with basic algebra is important, as is the ability to combine techniques from several areas.

University courses proceed at a faster pace than courses in school. It’s easy to fall behind and difficult to catch up, especially if your skills have diminished over the summer.

Ease your transition from high school to university

Keep up with your mathematical knowledge and skills during the summer and benefit from a variety of resources:

These cover the parts of the high school curriculum most essential as background for calculus. Many of the problems are challenging. It will take some time to work through the complete set, but do not become discouraged if you have difficulty with some of them. You should consider working with friends or asking your high school teachers for assistance.

Calculus Challenge Exam

The Calculus Challenge Exam is held in early June every year and is open to students who are registered or have completed a high school calculus course. High scores earn students credit for MATH 1003: Introduction to Calculus 1.

The Math Learning Centre

The Math Learning Centre at UNB offers pre-term workshops to help incoming students brush up on calculus and linear algebra in late-August/early-September each year.

Mathematics diagnostic test

A mathematics diagnostic test is given in the first week of MATH 1003.

This is a mandatory diagnostic test that is intended to provide students with some indication of the mathematics skills required to succeed in Math 1003 and some helpful advice should a student receive a low score. The results of the mathematics diagnostic test do not determine which math course a student may or may not take, and students who wish to continue taking MATH 1003, even in light of a low score on the diagnostic test, are free to do so.