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A question about Calculus class

BeachyPeachyBeachyPeachy 4 replies2 discussions Forum Champion
So, I had to take a math placement test for the University of Arizona in order to be able to take math classes there. Since I'm enrolled in a college algebra class already, I took the "prep for calculus" version.

Note: I have never learned Trig. Ever. A lot of the test had trig and I attempted to do the problems by a little "cheat sheet" that was a very vague description on how to solve the problem. Some pointers, really, and nothing more. I did the rest by logic, such as: "Hey, that sounds right, I'll multiply here."

By some miracle, I got an 82. That score allows me to take Calculus I as a freshman next year. With that score, if I can teach myself some basic Calculus in roughly six hours, I'm probably capable of taking Calculus with a lack of preparation for the course.

I know that engineering majors require calculus so the only reason that's stopping me from enrolling in Calc I right away is the fact that the University of Arizona has a reputation of a horrid Math department. And also the fact that I don't have too much knowledge of math for a strong foundation. The last thing I wanna do is fail Calculus.

Suggestions? Should I just enroll in Calc 1 and help buy me some time so I can change my undecided major to engineering, or take a transitional math class for the fall?
edited May 2013 in Engineering Majors
3 replies
Post edited by BeachyPeachy on
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Replies to: A question about Calculus class

  • bschoolwizbschoolwiz 11 replies4 discussions
    If you are going to attempt Calculus I, I would probably get a tutor if you are second guessing your abilities.

    I have a lot of Math deficiencies like most students in this country. I am going into Calculus II and I struggle mostly but because I never had a good foundation in the first place

    We were doing some integrals a few weeks ago that required long division, honestly, I was able to make all the way to Calculus II without ever learning long division. Sad but it makes me think that there is something fundamentally wrong with our educational system.

    In my opinion, if you don't have any previous Trigonometry background, it will be very hard for you to learn Trig this late in the game- I don't remember anything from Trig, if you asked me what sin of π/6, I have no idea but Calculus I assumes that you know your Trig identities well

    I remember some limits that were impossible to solve without recognizing Trig identities- so not knowing Trig will definitely work against you but I still don't remember anything from Trig and honestly don't have the patience to learn it this late in the game.
    edited May 2013
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  • Gator88NEGator88NE 17 replies0 discussions
    @OP

    You'll do fine in Calc 1, as long as you have a plan (and keep to it). I'm sure tutoring is available, and you'll want to get into a study group with other 1'st year engineers. In fact, the best advise I can give any undergrad engineering students is learn to love the "study group". It will make classes like Calc 2, fluids, etc, much easier to work though and understand.

    @bschoolwiz

    I'm guessing one issue with our educational system is....calculators. Without calculators, you would have been forced to learn long division. One fun game I like to play with both of my "honor" high school kids is quiz them with simple math problems (what's 15% of $63?). It's fun watching these brainiacs faces scrunched up as they try to race and solve a simple math problem in their head (yes, I'm easily amused).
    edited May 2013
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  • da6onetda6onet 10 replies1 discussions
    I started back to school two years ago and had not taken a trig related class since 2000 (even then I don't think I memorized identities), I was still able to make it through the calculus sequence, diffeq and linear algebra with all A's. A quick google search provided me with a cheat sheet to memorize of trig identities (especially half/double angle formulas). Last summer I finally cracked open a precalc book (after calc3 and circuits mind you) and finally read the chapter covering all the lovely trig stuff. You just have to be willing to put the time in to review what you don't know and you'll be fine.

    @ bschoolwiz, sin (pi/6 or 30 degrees) = 1/2 ;-)

    @Gator88NE
    The ability to chunk percentages quickly, especially 15% is very useful with figuring out what you want to pay on a restaurant bill. 63*.1 = 6.3, half of that is 3.15, so 9.45 would be the tip :-)
    edited May 2013
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