A Seven-Day Review Years in the Making
Aditya Velamuri ’27 turned his passion for learning into an Amazon best-seller.
While everyone else was learning the steps to bake homemade bread, Aditya Velamuri used the 2020 COVID quarantines to focus on an entirely different kind of proof.
Aditya, now a first-year quantitative finance major, certainly did not loaf during the pause. Instead, he taught himself calculus and earned a 5, the highest possible score, on the Advanced Placement calculus exam. While perhaps his most impressive project, it was just the latest example of his curiosity.
“I've always been interested in math and taking concepts and ideas a step further,” Aditya explained. “I think my interest really took a big leap during the pandemic when I had more free time at home. I wanted to learn Calculus and really understand its applications, as it's used a lot in so many fields.”
For most, that “next level” would be enough, but when he moved to Round Rock, Texas, from India, he discovered a new ladder to climb. After discovering many of his classmates were struggling with the material, he started a calculus society and began to pass along his expertise as a tutor. The club, sponsored by Round Rock High School calculus teacher Travis McKinney, grew to more than 100 members and even included students from nearby colleges, including Austin Community College.
“The response from those initial members was very encouraging,” he said. “I was initially skeptical about how it would work out, but it got off to a great start and started growing at a very quick pace. Indeed, some of my very first students are now continuing the same organization.”
Aditya’s success rate had quite a bit to do with the students' enjoyment. More than 80% of his students, including those who were getting their first exposure to calculus, were scoring 5 on their AP exam or achieving a 90% on the final exam of their class.
“Not only was the skepticism about math removed, but they absolutely excelled at it. They loved it,” he said.
Staying true to his nature, Aditya realized there was yet another aspect of his idea to explore. After hearing feedback from students that reviewing several hundreds of pages of material when it came time for the AP exam or a final was not very effective, he went to work on a solution.
The result was The 7 Day Calculus Review. Published in September 2022, the book is a structured seven-day review plan designed to walk students through the process of preparing by providing a refresher on key concepts, emphasizing the topics most likely to appear on exams, showing detailed solutions to practice problems, and giving step-by-step procedures to solve specific question types, all designed to be completed in a week.
“I talked to many students about how they were learning,” Aditya recalled. “My book has a very structured plan and methodology, so students absorb the material in the most effective way possible. For example, you can look at a calculus textbook or any other material on the internet and you are shown how to do an example problem. Are you going to be able to replicate this by yourself? What if I change the scenario of the question by a little? The secret sauce behind my book is that I understand the psychology of how students learn concepts and most importantly, apply them to different situations, and I reflected that in my book.”
The process wasn’t quite as simple as sitting down and writing. It required methodical research in order to create a “revolutionary resource” for students.
“I had a couple of years of experience working with students, understanding where they struggle, where they messed up,” he said. “The majority of teachers have their perspective on how they teach, but I came at it from both perspectives—from the instructor end and from the student end. I think that really covers the gap that is in a lot of existing resources.”
The book became available online on Amazon Kindle in September 2022, and its success has “definitely exceeded” Aditya’s expectations. It is listed in the top 90 of Amazon’s best-selling AP test guides regardless of subject, and currently has 4.5 out of 5 stars. George Calhoun, teaching professor, director of the Stevens quantitative finance program and frequent contributor to Forbes joked that, “his book gets better reviews than mine.”
The 7 Day Calculus Review is a chapter in Aditya’s story, not the ending. He’s already focused on his next great work.
“I'm currently studying quantitative finance, and I want to be able to get more hands-on experience,” he said. “On the journey to create something impactful, you first need to have a lot of ground knowledge. I want to learn everything I can so that I’ll be able to take things to the next level so that I can make a definite impact on my field.”
Impressive, any way you slice it.