Online Math Lab
Undergrad Survival Guide
Here are some general tips for succeeding in math classes at UCSB.
- Go to class. Be on time. Don't leave early unless there are mitigating circumstances. Few things are more annoying to instructors than students who seek extra help at the end of the quarter but didn't attend class in the first place.
- A campus map can be found here.
- If you must arrive late or leave early, be courteous and don't cause a distraction.
- If you must miss class, you should ask a classmate to take notes for you. This will help not only for keeping up with the material, but also to make sure you are up to date on announcements and assignments.
- Be courteous to your professor and classmates. This means being attentive and not being a distraction. The most obvious examples are not texting, not having a side conversation, and not getting up in the middle of class.
- Same rules about courtesy and attendance apply. Let your TA know ahead of time if you need to miss a section.
- Come to section prepared. Start the homework beforehand and bring questions. Keep in mind that the TA may not have a copy of the homework on hand.
- If you want to switch sections, do not attempt the switch on GOLD as you may lose your spot in the class. It is much better to ask your TA if you can switch "unofficially."
- Your TA's office is on the 6th floor of South Hall in the Grad Tower (at the south end of the building across the breezeway). 6431 is the blue side, 6432 is the pink side.
If you are stuck on a problem or need extra help on a topic, here are some resources available to you:
- Yourself. Don't give up at the first sign of difficulty. Take a little extra time with whatever is troubling you. Even if you don't figure it out, you'll know the right questions to ask.
- Your classmates. Most professors encourage students to work in groups as long as you turn in your own work. You should check with your instructor to make sure this is allowed.
- Math Lab. Located at South Hall 1607 and open 12-5 weekdays, Math Lab provides free drop-in tutoring for lower-division (3, 4, 5, 6, 8, and 34 series) students. Graduate student TA's work here and are available to answer questions and provide extra instruction.
- Online Math Lab. The Online Math Lab provides links to helpful math websites.
- Office Hours. Your professor and TA should both have weekly office hours where you can get more individualized help.
- CLAS. This is a free tutoring service on campus. They offer drop-in and small-group tutoring. Sign up early because the groups can fill up. Information is available here.
- Email. As a last resort, you may email your TA or professor. It is difficult to teach math effectively via email, but if you can be specific about what your question is, you may get a helpful answer.
WebWork is the department's online homework system. Once you log in with your class, you will be able to enter answers to the assigned problems. WebWork will check your answers automatically. Here are a few things about WebWork to be aware of:
- For non-Gauchospace classes, your user name and password both default to your PERM #, and you can change your password after your first login.
- If you cannot login this way, then you need to be added to the WebWork class. Your TA or professor can do this for you, even if you are not yet enrolled.
- Avoid putting off your homework until right before it is due. When lots of students are logged in at the same time, WebWork can slow down, and you may miss your deadline.
- WebWork accepts a wide variety of answer formats. You don't need to simplify your answers and you should avoid rounding off decimals. A list of functions recognized by WebWork can be found here.
- You can make sure that you have formatted your answer correctly by clicking the button "Preview Answers."
- WebWork recognizes "log" as logarithm base e and "logten" for logarithm base 10, although many textbooks and calculators use "ln" for base e and "log" for base 10.
- The numbers used in your homework assignment may differ from a classmate's, as Webwork randomizes the numbers used in each question.
- Be sure to check how many attempts you are allowed, as sometimes you will only be given a few attempts.
- WebWork has a function which allows you to email your TA with regards to a specific problem. Some TA's prefer this type of email, and others don't. Please be as specific as possible, as this will make it easier for your TA to provide an appropriate answer.
- One downside to WebWork is that it doesn't give students a chance to practice writing out complete solutions. Discipline yourself to write down complete solutions to some of the problems so that you'll be ready to do so on tests.
- If the class you want is full, you can get on a waitlist here. See the FAQ for more information.
- If you are crashing a class, check that you have access to Webwork. If you cannot login, ask your TA or professor to sign you up so you don't get behind on the homework.
People have had success in math classes with a variety of approaches to studying and test-taking. Some good, general notes about math study skills can be found at Paul's Notes.