OpenLab #8: Advice for the Future

Assignment (due Thursday, December 15).  Imagine that you are invited to speak on the first day of MAT 2071, to give advice to entering students.  Write at least three sentences responding to at least one of the following, describing what you would tell them.

  1. What do you wish that you had been told at the start of this class, to help you succeed?
  2. Choose one topic in the course that is especially challenging. Identify it, and give advice to students trying to master that topic.
  3. What is the most important prior knowledge (not taught in the class) that you need in order to succeed?  Why is it important?

Extra Credit.  Respond to someone else’s comment.  Do you agree? disagree? Have anything to add?


  1. Armando

    This is one of those courses I believe, where you start completely fresh. Not much prior knowledge besides basic math is needed. One piece of advice for this class, LEARN THE TERMS!!! TATTOO THEM INTO YOUR BRAIN!!!! They show up so much in this class. You need to know them WORD FOR WORD. One of the hardest sections in my opinion is dealing with quantifiers. My advice is practice, practice, practice.

  2. hanan abuhashish

    Yes Armando I agree with you you do not need too much prior knowledge, If you have good math foundation that all you need , and with amazing prof like prof Reitz you will never lost.

  3. Gary

    From the start I want to tell the new students coming into the course to always review your notes and the new terms for class to help you better understand the material for the next day’s class. The topic about proofs was challenging for me because you needed to know when to use which kind of proof for the specific question and how to prove the proposition. My advice for students is to keep practicing and to go to professor Reitz office hours, ask questions in the beginning of class, and work with other students so that you can have a better understanding than to try to understand it yourself and keep being confused.

    • Ismail Akram

      Your post reminded me to add a notebook of definitions to keep every time a new term pops up. That and mark your calendars ahead of time to get a sense of where you’re going.

    • Ismail Akram

      And yes I agree with Gary, forgot to mention that.

  4. Ismail Akram

    3) Prior Knowledge: Be organised and take note of the checklist Professor Reitz writes on the right side of the board (and Openlab)

    2) Regarding difficulty: Practice, fail (before your exams!), practice again and talk to the Professor during before class and office hours, the help is there.

    1) Seize every opportunity for extra credit that Professor Reitz offers, and he offers a lot!
    Simple (and easy!) things like responding to a fellow classmate serves two purposes: extra credit and becoming acquainted with your peers.
    This class will be small in number and you should seek out a few friends for projects and notes if you miss class. Use Openlab to cummincate with your peers.

    Review sheets: study them! When I say study, I mean sit down, time yourself and practice the reviews and check for corrections (you will make mistakes!) You will not learn by simply looking at the questions and answers.
    Practising and making mistakes is part of the process (you’re going to love Lockhart’s spiel about this). Once you remember your mistakes and learn the how and why of a problem, you’re golden.

    Homework and Webwork: There should be no excuse for not getting the odd numbered problems in your HW assignments, the answers are in the back! Of course you should practice first and then check. Do all of the WebWork, there is a surplus that counts for extra credits should you need a fallback.

    You will have rainy days, you’ll be down and gloomy but that’s okay! You’re human and that’s what makes the good moments in life all the more serene. Take advantage of the opportunities you have and stock up on your extra credit in case you have a bad exam, it happens. Best of luck and peace be upon you!


  5. Hanan

    If I am invited to speak on the first day of Math 2071 to give advice to the student , I will say come on time to class do not miss any class, All lessons builds up , do your homework on the due date, pay attention in the class , ask questions if you do not understand. what prior knowledge you should know? good math foundation Algebra and trig . also knowing the difference between natural number integer and real number. Good luck.

  6. Hanan

    Yes Ismail I also agree with you review sheets before the test is very helpful , and student should practice and practice until they get it.

  7. Hanan

    Gary I read your advice and its convinced .

  8. Violanda

    The first classes may look easy to most of the students and they may not take proofs and logic class very serious because everybody learned about sets since he or she was in junoir high(In my experience). What students learn in first classes, it is just tu refresh the memory about what they used to learn many years ago.It is itself the refresh of your prior knowledge ( sets,subsets,power sets,union,etc). After you finish these chapters, you start to work in proofs(what thiss class is really about).Working with proofs such as direct,contrapositive,contradiction,disproof etc was my favorite part, but sometimes it was also very challenging especially when I had to decide which proof to use for a certain proposition.However, the topic that I found more difficult than the others is the topic on quantifiers.Practice is the key to succeed in this course.But you dont have to practice more than what prof Reitz assigns you.Do the homework study the review sheet before the exam and everybody will do well in this class.Moreover, don’t be lazy!

    • Jpitt

      Yep I agree with you statement regarding the proofs. Finding the right proof selections for the our in class work became increasingly challenging as we were given more options to select from. Homework is key to succeeding in his class and also the review sheet. I don’t think I would have made it without those 2 materials. Don’t forget we have to always come to class.

  9. Jpitt

    The first step in succeeding in a highly active class like this is to come to class as early as you can. Prof. Reitz loves helping students on homework questions or even the review sheet for an exam way before class. You wouldn’t want to be the student that misses out on the opportunity to get the answer to that homework problem that was just unsolvable or that review sheet question that kept your mind spinning. The next step is to stay on top of the work. The first set of classes are the easiest but as soon as you hit the mid-semester point get ready for a serious life plan. It’s like taking candy from a baby at the beginning but then finding out that, that child’s entire family is after you. This means that you have to have a plan or a goal set for yourself before attempting to succeed in this class. Take it seriously by going ahead of everyone else so that when the class catches up to you, you would be the one that is well aware of Its difficulties. Then you would be able to ask your questions in a timely fashion since Prof. Reitz would love to answer them for you. Stay on top of the curriculum and you would surely succeed.

  10. Tyniqua

    I would tell the students that tge hardest thing to the proofs. The proofs are hard because you have to first understand what the problem is asking for and how to prove it ( your p’s and q’s). Everything you write within a proof you always have to back up with a definition of why you are stating something is true, not true, or sometimes true. Overall study, study, study!

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