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What Is a Derivative in Calculus?

A derivative in calculus is a measure of how a function changes over time. It's one of the most critical concepts in the entire field.
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What Is a Derivative in Calculus?
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A derivative in calculus is a measure of how a function changes over time. It's one of the most critical concepts in the entire field and can be used to calculate everything from interest rates to optimal stock portfolios.

But what is a derivative, exactly? And how should one go about calculating it? In this blog post, we'll answer exactly how to approach a derivative math problem and more. 

What Is A Derivative In Calculus?

In the most basic sense, a derivative is simply a function that measures the rate of change of another function. In calculus, derivatives are incredibly important because they allow individuals to study how functions change over time.

In other words, derivatives provide information about the direction a function is moving at any given point. This information is very helpful because it helps individuals improve functions and predict how things will act in the future.

Why Finding Derivatives In Calculus Is Important

In addition to allowing people to study how functions change over time, derivatives also have a wide range of applications in the real world, including in physics, engineering, and economics.

How To Find Derivatives In Calculus

A differentiation process must be used to find a derivative. Taking the derivative of a function with respect to a variable is a pretty easy way to perform differentiation.

When To Consider Finding A Math Tutor

Although the term "derivative" may sound complicated and intimidating, it is a relatively straightforward concept. But sometimes, students and adults alike may struggle to wrap their heads around the concept entirely. If that's the case, consider finding a tutor who can break down the concept and help you understand it in a way that makes sense.

What To Expect When Working With An Online Math Tutor At Learner

From the moment you sign up for a session with one of our online math tutors, you'll be matched with the tutor that best meets your needs, giving you the best chance for success.

Who Is A Derivative Tutor?

A derivative tutor is a calculus tutor who helps students learn about and use derivatives. Of course, before jumping into calculus, setting up some time with a pre-calculus tutor can help. 

Derivatives tutors are experts in their field and can help with any problems regarding derivatives. A tutor can help calculus students work through derivatives step-by-step, at their own pace, until the concept finally clicks. And once a student understands derivatives, they will be able to tackle any calculus problem that comes their way!

Hiring a derivative tutor is one of the smartest decisions you can make in calculus, as a tutor can make all the difference in helping a student succeed in the classroom. With a tutor, every student can learn derivatives in a way that makes sense based on their learning style and speed. Tutors who teach derivatives are patient and experienced, so they can help students understand derivatives in a truly helpful way.

Derivative tutors (or calculus tutors, as mentioned previously) also provide a level of customization that you can't find in a textbook or online derivative calculator. Derivatives tutors will take the time to understand a student’s unique needs and goals and then craft a derivative plan that's tailored just for that student. Success is possible, and derivative tutors can help one get there!

Finding derivatives in calculus is actually easier than it  sounds. In fact, there are a few simple rules that can be used to calculate the derivatives of most functions. Differentiation is the process of calculating the derivative of a function. The derivative of a function is a measure of how the function changes as its input changes. The derivative can be considered the function's slope at a specific point. The derivative can be used to find the equation of a tangent line to a graph at a particular point.

The derivative can also be used to find the maximum or minimum value of a function. In general, the derivative can be used to find out how a function changes as its input changes.

There are a few different ways to take the derivative of a function. The most common way to take the derivative of a function is by using the power rule, which is also known as the first rule. 

The "power rule," states that the derivative of a function is equal to the exponent times the function. So, for the function f(x) = x^2, the derivative would be 2x. The second rule, known as the "sum rule," states that the derivative of a function is equal to the sum of the derivatives of the individual parts. So, for the function f(x) = x^2 + 3x + 5, the derivative would be 2x + 3. Finally, the third rule, known as the product rule, states that the derivative of a function is equal to the product of the derivative of the first function and the second function. So, if f(x) = (x2 + 3x + 5)(4x - 2), then the derivative is (2x + 3)(4x - 2) + (x2 + 3x + 5)(4).

If the concept of derivatives is still confusing, our derivative tutors can help! To make the most of your derivative tutoring experience, be sure to look out for tutors with certain soft skills, like:


Only work with a derivative tutor who is able to see things from the student’s perspective. If a derivative tutor can relate to their students, they will be better able to figure out how a student learns best and teach them in a way that works for them.


Patience is key when it comes to derivative tutoring. Derivatives can be difficult, and it may take some time for students to understand the concepts fully. Derivative tutors who are patient will give every student the time they need to understand derivatives without rushing them through the material.


Derivative tutors who are creative can come up with new and interesting ways to teach derivative concepts. Creative derivative tutors can also help students find new and interesting ways to apply derivative concepts to real-world situations.


An ambitious derivatives tutor will have high expectations for their students and will push them to reach their derivatives goals. Their motivation and encouragement can help a student achieve heights that they may never have thought possible.

Clear Communication

The ability to communicate derivative concepts clearly is essential for derivative tutors. When selecting a tutor, select someone who is able to explain derivative concepts in a way that is approachable, straight-forward, and easy to understand. 

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Skills And Experiences To Look For In A Derivatives Tutor

Effective tutoring goes beyond derivative concepts. In order to teach derivatives well, tutors also need to have the right skills and experiences. Here are some skills and experiences to look out for when looking for derivative tutors:

A strong understanding of derivative concepts

In order for a tutor to be effective at teaching derivatives, the tutor needs to have a deep and extensive understanding of this subject. Derivative tutors who know a lot about how derivatives work will be able to teach well and help their students do well on derivatives tests.

Derivative problem-solving skills

If your derivative tutor is good at solving problems, they will be better able to help you understand derivative ideas and use them in the real world.

Solid teaching experience

Experienced tutors will be able to figure out how their students learn best and teach each student in a way that works best for them. They’ll be able to back it up their resume with credentials and certifications. If you are interviewing a tutor, don’t be afraid to ask for paperwork or references. 

The ability to clearly communicate derivative concepts

Your understanding of derivatives will only be as good as how well your derivatives tutor can explain them. Derivatives tutors must be able to explain concepts clearly and concisely for students to be able to understand derivatives.

The right tutoring approach

Because no two students are exactly the same, no two approaches to tutoring should be the same. Derivative tutors must be able to change the way they teach derivatives to fit the needs of each student.

Red Flags To Look Out For When Considering A Derivative Tutor

In terms of skills and experience, not all derivatives tutors are created equal. Some derivatives tutors may need to get more skills and experience before they can teach derivatives well. Here are some red flags to look out for when considering derivative tutors.

Lack of derivative teaching experience

As derivative concepts can be complex, it is important to hire a derivative tutor who has extensive teaching experience. Derivative tutors who are new to teaching may need to gain the necessary teaching skills to be able to teach this complex AP subject effectively.

Poor tutoring reviews

If a derivative tutor has poor reviews, think twice about choosing them as your derivative tutor. That said, when speaking with a tutor, give them the opportunity to explain why they received so many negative reviews – they may have a valid explanation. 

Lack of teaching qualifications

More often than not, former teachers and educators make the best tutors. A derivative tutor needs to have the necessary teaching qualifications to have the necessary skills and experiences to be able to teach derivatives effectively.

Rigid and inflexible tutoring approach

Teaching involves a lot of adaptation and flexibility when figuring out what approach is best for each individual student. Derivative tutors who are rigid and inflexible in their methods may not deliver valuable lessons. 

Inability to answer questions coherently

A math tutor who can't answer questions about derivative concepts on the spot is probably not the best derivative tutor for you. If your derivative tutor does not have a strong understanding of derivative concepts, they will not be able to teach you effectively.


Hiring an unprofessional derivative tutor can result in a good use of time and money. Hire only tutors who professionally conduct themselves at all times.

Questions To Ask A Potential Derivative Tutor

Asking potential tutors questions will help you figure out if they are the right derivative tutor for you. Here are some questions you can ask derivative tutors:

  • What is your derivative teaching experience?
  • Do you have a solid understanding of derivative concepts?
  • How would you approach derivative tutoring?
  • What are the key derivative concepts that students struggle with the most?
  • How do you plan on addressing those derivative concepts?
  • What do you think are the best derivative learning resources?
  • What are the best derivative teaching methods?
  • What are your derivative teaching qualifications?
  • Do you have any tutoring reviews?

What To Expect When Working With An Online Derivative Tutor At Learner

Working with tutors at Learner is easy and convenient. From the moment you sign up, our tutors will be available to help you with derivative concepts.

When working with a derivative tutor at Learner, you can expect to receive high-quality tutoring from our experienced and qualified derivative tutors. We also match you to the perfect derivative tutor for you, taking into account your goals, learning style, and schedule.

At Learner, we also offer a risk-free trial, so you can try out derivative tutoring before committing to it. Sign up today to get started with derivative tutoring! Your success is our success.

Ready to schedule that free session? Take the next step with our matching quiz!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is derivative?

A derivative is a mathematical concept that deals with the rate of change of a function. It is a fundamental concept in calculus.

How can derivative tutoring help me?

Derivative tutoring can help students who are struggling with derivative concepts. Derivative tutors can help students understand derivative concepts and can provide valuable insights and tips.

How do I know if derivative tutoring is right for me?

If you are struggling with derivative concepts, derivative tutoring might be a good option for you. Derivative tutoring can help students understand derivative concepts and can provide them with valuable insights and tips.

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About the author:

Mike developed his passion for education as a math instructor at Penn State University. He expanded his educational experience launching and running an Executive Education business - training over 100,000 students per year. As the CEO of Learner, Mike focuses on accelerating learning and unleashing the potential of students. 

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