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Advice on learning Calculus II on my own.

  1. Dec 22, 2011 #1
    Hey everyone, I'm currently enrolled in an AP Calculus AB class at my high school. However, for Cornell Engineering I need a 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam. I've started to teach myself Calc II, but does anyone have any advice on how to succeed in doing this? I am using Paul's online math notes, my textbook and maybe an old version of Schaum's outline series (+ PR Review for quick learning). It seems pretty easy doing Para/Pol curves but I haven't started integration yet, though I already understand the basics of it.

    Anyone have any insight on how to teach oneself Calc II? And also, if I succeed in doing this I would try and teach myself Calc III to test out of multivariable calc at Cornell. Is this possible in 3-4 months?

    Thank you in advance.


    Unforgiven Hero
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 22, 2011 #2
    I think that depends entirely on you, and how much time you are willing to invest.

    I would say that if you are generally quick to grasp mathematical topics, then it may be possible. Multivariable calculus may be harder if you don't know linear algebra.

    As for the method, I suggest working out all the exercices you can get your hands on until you are comfortable with the subject.
  4. Dec 22, 2011 #3
    Finding a tutor or another student who does the same thing can help a lot.
    Explain to him how it works, where 'it' is the current topic you're studying.
    Explaining to others will help you in understanding the topic better.
  5. Dec 22, 2011 #4
    Video lectures are always a good place to start.Check this out:

  6. Dec 22, 2011 #5
    Of course you can learn it. However, I would not purely use Paul's online notes. I highly suggest an actual Calculus textbook.
  7. Dec 22, 2011 #6
    id grab some exams from MIT OCW and make sure you can do them. read everything you can on integration, and start working some problems. post here in the hw section for halp.
  8. Dec 22, 2011 #7
    Get a textbook and do a lot of practice problems. I just finished up Calc II and it isn't a cake-walk even with a professor. Kudos to you if you're able to pull it off!
  9. Dec 22, 2011 #8
    Okay thank you so much guys. I'm finding parametric/polar equations not too hard to understand. I will soon attack the Taylor, Power and MacLaurin Series. Then Integration will be up next.
  10. Dec 22, 2011 #9
    I took Calculus in High School and we covered most of the 'Calc II' topics, but my instructor highly suggested that we take the AB exam for guaranteed credit (everyone did get a 5). Calc II in college was all review for me, and made for an easier first semester. This decision was made because everyone's target colleges took the AB test for Calc I credit.

    Point being.... your experience will obviously be different, but maybe find an AP Calc BC prep book and see what you already know/understand? You may be closer to the BC-topics than you know. Not all high school calculus classes are created equal, and you may be only a few topics away from doing well on the BC exam.
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