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Am I ready for Calculus and Analytic Geometry?

  1. Mar 31, 2015 #1
    Hello all, I was accepted into a program that allows me to take a free college course and I was hoping to take a math/science course. I am most interested in Physics, but I don't know Calc so that isn't really an option, and I was thinking of taking Calculus and Analytic Geometry. However, I am a little concerned that I don't have the prerequisites. I plan on taking the class in the summer (around the end of June or July), and by then I will have completed math up to Honors Geometry. I really want to take this particular class because I feel that taking anything lower will be a waste of this opportunity.

    Obviously this is not enough, but I already have some background in Algebra 2 and Trig, and have the time/ability to teach myself some more Algebra 2 and Trig using Khan Academy, and maybe do precalc if I have time. So will I be able to do it? Or should I do something else instead? Any advice is appreciated!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 31, 2015 #2
    It is my experience that precalculus is not really a necessary class, so don't worry about that. Definitely try to self-study some algebra and trig however, that is really important. If you can do that, then you should be ready for calculus.
  4. Mar 31, 2015 #3


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    Calculus 1 in the summer is generally a bad idea. How good are you with Trigonometry and Intermediate Algebra? If you are excellent, then MAYBE you could try Calculus 1 in the summer, or safer, do Pre-Calculus in the summer.
  5. Apr 1, 2015 #4
    Right now I'm decent at Trig and Algebra, but I could easily improve a lot just by reviewing some stuff. Like I said, I would really prefer not to take precalc since, well, how many times do you get the chance at a free college course at my age? That said, I am fairly confident that I can catch up. Any tips on what specifically to study?
  6. Apr 1, 2015 #5
    I think understanding calculus conceptually is actually more difficult than simply carrying out the calculations (at least for calc 1 and 2 o0)). If you are getting some solid assistance in the program (no grumpy professors), then getting through the first part will be easier (the rough seas), and once you get it, you'll practically sail through calc 1 without any major problem (the smooth oceans). Calculus is best understood using graphs (it goes hand in hand with AG), so make sure you're comfortable with geometric representations of functions (simple ##ax^n + bx^m## types) and drawing tangents. IMO, don't do precalculus - they just make you run around the main dish there.

    Ask your math teacher(s) and see what they think. I'd say that if you're a little unsure, still go for it (though in the end it's up to you), you don't have much to lose. If you understand it, great! You'll save on quite a few classes later on. If not, then at least you'll gain from the exposure to the math and won't be as lost others when you're going for it in uni :wink:
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