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Average math student

  1. Aug 25, 2009 #1
    If I am an average math student who gets constant c's in classes like algebra and geometry, will i have a hard time in calculus, and should i just avoid it altogether?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 25, 2009 #2


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    Yes, but No.

    When do you earn the C's? How many times do you study the same course? Do you still assess yourself as C ? If you took the same course more than once and still earn C, you are doing something wrong.
  4. Aug 25, 2009 #3
    ive never failed a course and never gotten anything less than a c. pre algebra i got a b in that class. but ive never had to take a class over.
  5. Aug 25, 2009 #4
    You'll be fine if you choose to take calculus courses, given that you understanding the main concepts. C's and B's can just be a result of carelessness, obviously something you need to fix.

    However, what is most important is the ability to understand new concepts, apply them, and be able to recognize one from the other. If you take the math course, just try your best and remember to pay attention. If you don't understand something from the courses you are taking, get tutoring. If you still don't get it - well, you really need to get it.
  6. Aug 25, 2009 #5
    Yeah, and remember that the only way to do math is to do sample problems and the homework. I was able to get fine in all elementary/middle school math without doing homework, then geometry came along and I failed rather miserably cause my "studying" consisted of reviewing formulas rather than doing problems. Doing problems is the only way to learn math! Best of luck!
  7. Aug 26, 2009 #6
    before i took Calculus, i didn't like Math much. Although i had A's in my high school Math courses, the point being i didn't like them. When i took Calculus for the first time, i absolutely loved it. So, i say give it a try see if it is the same for you.

    i still don't like algebra btw ;)
  8. Aug 26, 2009 #7


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    Maybe a bit of explanation would help in understanding that set of statements. The two statements I am hoping to understand as they relate to eachother is about your liking Calculus but not like Algebra. Maybe that is all possible but not too easy for all of us to understand. I assume that you meant Algebra regarding Arithmetic (those courses called Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 in high school).
  9. Aug 26, 2009 #8
    The majority of most high school calculus (AP Calc AB + BC) is fairly basic algebra. Most problems involve one shot of actual calculus and then a bunch of algebra to get everything looking pretty.

    This is obviously a generalization. If you happen to have the one crazy smart AP Calc class that studies Apostol, that's a whole different deal.

    What was "hard" about your algebra courses? Were they boring, or did you actually find the material conceptually difficult?
  10. Aug 27, 2009 #9
    not quite, when i said "i still don't like Algebra" i was referring to algebra courses in college like Linear Algebra (although very important) and Abstract Algebra. Even back in high school, i wasn't fond of doing Algebra (that would be 1 and 2)...it didn't excite me at all.

    and of course Algebra is used in Calculus as well but algebra itself isn't the focus of study. Calculus has lots of stuff (like limit, derivatives, and integrals) that i found really enchanting.
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2009
  11. Aug 27, 2009 #10
    I truly don't believe in an "average" math student. I seriously failed college algebra twice. I had taken 5 years after High School then returned to college and my heart still wasn't in it I was working full time and unwilling to compromise any part of my life for school, but I thought I was just "bad" at math. The third time I took college algebra I quit my full time job and became a full time student and put the work in, did all the assigned problems even though they weren't required and low and behold when it came to test time, I got A's and got an A in the class, and have moved on to just finishing my third semester of Calc. with an A. The moral of this story is just practice its like any other skill. A rare few are born with a pre-disposition to math but for the vast majority including some very very good physicist it is a skill that takes practice practice practice, and that requires desire and self discipline. Not a "magical" goodness at math.

    (I also write my posts too long :) )
  12. Sep 1, 2009 #11
    I agree, I took College Algebra a few years after high school. Boy did I flunk that class hard. It was to the point where I said screw it and started to look at other majors, other than Physics. I got back up and took it again this time in the Summer, granted I didn't get a great grade, I did get the grade required for me to move onto precalc. Something that I enjoy even if it is mostly a rehash of some of college algebra. I make better grades because I do spend hours on end going over things, if I don't get one problem I'll do the next odd one even if it was not assigned. If I run out of problems in my book to do, I look in other text books that offer problems in the back that allow me to work the problem and then see if I am doing it correctly.

    If I was you I'd never avoid a subject because you might get a bad grade. Take it, take a chance, study, oh yea and study. Really don't forget about the study part. If you forget about that last part then you will always do poor in your math classes.
  13. Sep 6, 2009 #12
    calculus is another kind of math, i got A's in trig, algebra, all the early stuff they teach you, but in calc I got B's (and had to work hard for them)

    try it, it almost feels like it uses a different part of your brain.
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