top of page

Study Tips with the Raj



Hello and welcome back to Study Tips with The Raj! For those who are new to the column, allow me to explain how Study Tips with The Raj works. Every week, I feature 3 different classes (e.g. English 10, AP Bio, Sports Medicine) and an upcoming assignment that is due in each class, and give tips as to how to complete the assignment, as well as general tips on how to succeed in the class. Apologies for not posting last week, I was jammed up with some homework, but I’ll commit myself to maintaining a regular schedule. This time, I’m featuring three classes, AP Gov, AP Calc AB, and Academic Decathlon.

AP United States Government

AP United States Government is a year-long class usually taught during senior year by Mr. Sanchez. In this class, you’ll learn the fundamentals behind how our government is framed, how it works, and how the government affects our everyday lives. At the end of the year, your understanding of the course will be tested in a 3-hour exam, but with proper studying, many find success.

Assignment Name: Lesson 2.8 Reading Guide Date Assigned: October 1, 2023 Due Date: October 6, 2023
  • Read the AMSCO textbook in advance: In order to do the reading guide, it’s integral that you read the corresponding unit in the AMSCO textbook, which can be found by clicking on the “classwork” tab on the AP Gov Google Classroom and scrolling until you see “textbook” in all caps. Most times, you only need to read 20 pages of the textbook per week in order to complete the reading guides.

  • Look for keywords in the text: Both Mr. Sanchez and the College Board want you to understand specific vocabulary terms in the AP Gov course, and the textbook often bolds (like this) the words that you need to know.

(In this excerpt from chapter 6 of the textbook, we can see the highlighted words are key for understanding the lesson)

  • Allow the information to soak in: Often, you might be tempted to skim over the textbook reading and miss much of the content, which may save time in the short term. However, in the long term, this information will most likely be found in future quizzes and tests, and having a deep understanding of topics like federalism and the branches of government is critical for succeeding on these quizzes.

General Tips for AP Government:

Given that we all live in America, we see the applications of foundational documents like the Constitution every day. It’s a good practice for this class and for living in America in general that you keep up with the news, especially about politics because it allows you to see what you’re learning in AP Gov in action.

AP Calculus AB

AP Calculus AB is a senior-level math course taught by Mr. Gutierrez in which you study the basics of differential and integral calculus. Throughout the year, you learn the theory behind the various mathematical concepts before seeing how they’re applied in the real world. At the end of the year, your calculus knowledge will be tested in a 3-hour exam, but just like in AP Gov, those who study proficiently often find success.

Assignment Name: Section 3.1 Homework Date Assigned: October 2, 2023 Due Date: October 4, 2023
  • Make good use of graphing calculators as a learning tool: Although it’s not advisable to use graphing calculators to hold your hand through an entire question, given that during the AP exam you won’t have your calculator for a good while, the graphing calculator can help you visualize the concepts presented in the course, such as seeing how derivatives act effectively like the slopes of graphs like you’ve learned back in middle school.

  • Try and look for real-life applications: It may seem like a fruitless endeavor trying to find ways to implement calculus into your everyday life (to be frank there are very few ways), but when it comes to machines, such as cars and our cell phones, calculus is a very important field. For instance, the time it takes a car to accelerate from 0 to 60 miles per hour is an application of calculus. By taking the time to find these applications, your appreciation for the material grows.

  • Ask Mr. Gutierrez for help when you need it: Mr. Gutierrez has taught AP Calculus for the better part of a decade and teaches online classes at a nearby community college, so his calculus skills are sharper than anybody’s. Knowing this, there should be no reason to be afraid to come in the mornings or ask him during class

General Tips for AP Calculus AB:

AP Calc can be a very difficult course, especially if you’re not the best at math. Nonetheless, as long as you pay attention, complete the homework, and ask Mr. Guitierrez when you need help, then you’re bound to find success in the class.

Academic Decathlon (Acadeca)

This year, the Academic Decathlon has returned to Rialto High School after a lapse in offering during the pandemic. Acadeca is an elective taught by Mr. Ansermet where throughout the first semester, you and your classmates study 7 subjects (arts, economics, language and literature, math, music, science, and social sciences) and prepare for an essay, interview, and speech. In late January and early February, you and your team participate in an interscholastic competition that tests your knowledge in various subjects.

Assignment Name: Math Packet Date Assigned: September 25, 2023 Due Date: October 9, 2023
  • Go back to the basics: The mathematics needed for the decathlon competition is not some arcane, hidden math knowledge, but rather math, in this case, geometry, which we learned back in middle and elementary school. That is why you should refresh yourself on topics that you learned years ago and not assume that you still remember them.

  • Don’t get lost in the vocab: Even though math is heavily centered around numbers, there are various vocab words that describe mathematical patterns. Most times, seemingly fancy words actually mean simple things. For instance, in geometry, a triangle has three vertices, which sounds complicated, but it turns out that vertices refer to the points on a shape, with a triangle having three points.

  • Challenge yourself with complex questions: During the Acadeca competition, you have no idea what curveballs will be thrown at you when it comes to math problems, and you might find yourself stumped if you don’t remember how to manage these curveballs. This is why it’s advisable for you to look at tricky questions that require you to have a thorough knowledge of math. With these questions, quality should be chosen over quantity, so it’s better to do a couple of tricky questions over several easy ones.

General Tips for Acadeca:

Given that the Acadeca competition features 7 subjects, the coursework can get quite varied, and you might feel like you have to be a jack of all trades. However, remember that you’re working as a team, so you should work on building your expertise in the subjects that you’re proficient in and focusing on maintaining a strong foundation in the subjects that you’re not as proficient in. That way, you’re a member of a balanced team, which is better than having a half-baked understanding of every topic.


So that concludes the second edition of Study Tips with The Raj. Hopefully, you all get a better understanding of how those three classes work. Next week I’ll be back with a pair of featured classes where I’ll go a little more in-depth as to how the assignments are to be done. If you have any comments or want to suggest a class to be featured, you can message me on my Instagram “the_raj_man”. But with that, thank you for reading, and this is the Raj signing off.


bottom of page