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Learning Math in College vs. High School

How is learning mathematics in college different from learning mathematics in high school?

Class Time

Math classes in college meet for fewer days per week, cover the same or more material in less than half the time, and require significant time outside of class to master the material.

High School College
Math classes meet every weekday Most math classes meet only 3 – 4 hours per week
A math course is one year (38 weeks) long A math course is one semester (16 weeks) long
15 – 30 minutes per night is expected on homework and studying A minimum of two hours outside of class for every hour inside of class is expected on homework and studying
Some class time may be given to start on homework No class time is given to start on homework


Course grades in high school are typically computed using several components whereas course grades in college may be based on only a few components.

High School College
Homework is consistently graded or checked and homework counts toward the course grade It is expected that homework will be completed, but it may or may not count as part of the course grade.
Tests are given after each unit or chapter with many tests given during the course Only 3-4 tests are usually given in a course and the tests cover more than one unit or chapter per test
A final exam is given after each half of the course One final exam is given covering material from the entire course and is weighted heavily in the course grade
Participation and extra credit may be factored into a course grade Rarely or never is participation and extra credit factored into a course grade
Attendance is mandatory and make up work is provided Attendance is expected and make up work may or may not be given