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Am I actually learning Calculus?

  1. Oct 23, 2011 #1
    I'm in the 11th grade (17 years old. There are 12 grades here) in High-School. I assume they should be teaching us Calculus at this time, but as I looked the topics of Calculus I am concerned. They didn't teach us anything about limits, differentiation, integration.

    Most recent new thing I've learnt in school during Math lessons is logarithms. Now we are going deeper into trigonometry (things like unit circle).

    In terms of Physics, we have learnt about uniform rectilinear, changeable rectilinear and curvilinear motions.

    Is the education system here wrong? Is this still in the area of pre-calculus?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 23, 2011 #2
    Well I'm no calculus guru, but I think its fair to say that when you get to the topic of a limit, then you have stepped into calculus. The concept of a limit really seems to underpin the whole topic, so if you haven't seen limits then in my mind you haven't seen calculus yet.
  4. Oct 23, 2011 #3
    In my high school students did not take calculus until their final year (12), even if they were strong in math. Year 11 was precalculus, covering the sort of things you are describing. Maybe more of the core calculus topics are covered next year.
  5. Oct 23, 2011 #4
    Well, I saw some differentiation stuff written on the blackboard a couple of times after 12th graders left the classroom. So hopefully it will start next year.
  6. Oct 23, 2011 #5
    You're fine. I only ever did calc in grade 12, and even then it wasn't a very rigorous course at all. They teach stuff quite slowly in high school because they have to keep things at a pace which everyone can keep up with. Your learning will really accelerate when you hit college (I'm assuming you're planning to do something related to math/science/engineering if you're concerned about not learning calculus).
  7. Oct 23, 2011 #6
    Hello, how can you study curvilinear motion without calculus? As far as I know all you can do is circular motion at a constant speed (or what?).
  8. Oct 23, 2011 #7
    Oh yes, nothing fancier than circular motion at a constant speed.
  9. Oct 23, 2011 #8


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    What country are you from? Don't worry about not being in Calculus yet. It's better to delay your study of Calculus and have a stronger background in Algebra and Trigonometry than to rush into Calculus. In some schools in the US, the "normal" track is to reach Pre-Calculus in gr. 12, and not see Calculus at all. Honors/accelerated students will see Calculus earlier -- I myself took Calculus gr. 11 and gr. 12.
  10. Oct 23, 2011 #9
    Seems like you're covering Pre-Calculus now, it's normal
  11. Oct 24, 2011 #10
    I'm from Lithuania.

    Alright, I suppose I shouldn't worry too much.
  12. Oct 24, 2011 #11
    Don't worry too much about it. Like everyone's said, high school calculus is something of a joke. A decent treatment of the subject awaits your college career. And honestly, you will want to take it again in college - I see too many people struggle with higher math because they got their foundational calculus from high school.
  13. Oct 24, 2011 #12
    That's another good point. I know a couple people who took AP calculus in high school and were allowed to opt out of Calc 1 because of it. They very quickly regretted doing so when they got to Calc 2. It's certainly good to get an introduction to Calc while you're in high school, but it will probably only be that: an introduction.
  14. Oct 24, 2011 #13
    Calculus wasn't even required in my high school, and it was only offered to us in 12th grade. I personally took AP calc (which in end covered all of my college calc 1, calc 2, and half of calc 3 courses), but if a student wanted to stop with trig/pre-calc and focus on English or some other topic, they were able to do so in their senior year. I wouldn't worry about it.
  15. Oct 24, 2011 #14


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    Can you clarify this for me? It sounds like that in gr. 12 you took a Calculus course that covered college Calc 1, 2, and part of 3? If that is so, then that must have been one heck of an accelerated course.

    When I was in high school, the really advanced math students took Calculus in gr. 11-12. The 1st year included everything in college Calc 1, and most of Calc 2 (excluding diff. eq. and series, but including analytic geometry). The 2nd year was supposed to include series, a little diff. eq., and college Calc 3 (we didn't cover all of those topics when I took that class back then, because all of us had trouble with series :redface:).
  16. Oct 24, 2011 #15


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    It sounds slightly accelerated, but not by much. AP calculus BC normally covers calc 1 and 2 in their entirety. To include a bit of calc 3 is unusual, but certainly not impossible given the amount of class time involved (since in high school, 5 hr/wk of lecture per class is standard).
  17. Oct 24, 2011 #16
    Just lean back and listened to some hall and oates and you'll learn calc soon enough
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