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Behind in Classes

  1. Mar 19, 2008 #1
    I'm a high school senior going to college next year to study engineering. I'm kind of stressing over these math placement tests that my school makes all engineering majors take.

    Most students with my major take Analytic Geometry Calculus their first semester. As I mentioned, all engineering majors must take these tests, and their score will place them in a certain math course. I'm worried that my score may be low and I may get placed in a lower level course and therefore be a few semesters behind. If I am, say, 1-2 semesters behind, is it possible to catch back up, or will I just be too far behind to have a chance?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 19, 2008 #2


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    To be quite honest, unless you have an understanding of calculus at a strong conceptual level which is very unlikely in almost any American high school then I would just start in Calculus I. I work as a calculus tutor and last semester I had to help way too many first year engineers struggling through Calc II because they tested into out of classes they only had a superficial understanding and paying for it by struggling hard later.

    Start of in Calc I in college and take an honors version if the college offers it and you feel you high school background is sufficient.

    If you test any lower than into Calc I, you may be a bit behind, but you can still graduate in the same time by taking humanities and arts requirements you'd have to take anyway.
  4. Mar 19, 2008 #3


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    Take the tests and then cooperate with the resulting course placement. If you enroll in Calculus 1 without having the prerequisite KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS, then you stand a strong chance of performing poorly in Calculus 1., ... and maybe other courses requiring this level. The bright side is that you would have the chance to learn the prerequisite courses much better than you did previously - even if you already passed them the first time!
  5. Mar 19, 2008 #4


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    I have another piece of advice, in case you need a remedial math course and are "afraid of being behind." Use the extra semester or so to get started on a computer programming course. As an engineering major you would need some anyway, and the beginning programming courses usually do not require Calculus 1 as prerequisite.
  6. Mar 19, 2008 #5
    Thanks, I'll have to look into that along with symbolipoint's suggestion of computer programming courses.

    Yeah, I've been thinking that and it's the only thing that really makes me feel better.

    I will definetly look into that, thanks for the advice.
  7. Mar 20, 2008 #6
    Heh, I started with pre-calculus, one step above college algebra - because I got a 'D' in it in high school. It gave me a very solid base to learn more advanced math. I've gotten all A's in math through differential equations since then. Much better to start with courses that are too basic than too advanced.
  8. Mar 20, 2008 #7
    I'm getting the feeling I may end up in the same boat as you did. I guess I'll find out when I go to orientation this friday.
  9. Mar 20, 2008 #8


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    undrcvrbro, in case you are placed into a remedial level Mathematics course, just stay calm, study hard, and watch how many of the other students (who have never yet taken the course) complain about how complicated and confusing the material is.
  10. Mar 20, 2008 #9
    I don't know how the registration process works at your school, but if you really want to take the class I am sure there isn't anything stopping you from just signing up for it (I mean if you think the placement test was a fluke and you have met the prerequisites and such). I have taken classes for which I do not possess the prerequisites and fared fine with just a bit of wisdom in the courses I select and self-reflection to be certain I will not be damaging my chances of future progress.

    But perhaps the prerequisites are strictly enforced at your school and my possibly bad advice is useless as well as possibly bad!
  11. Apr 14, 2008 #10
    Sorry but I'm giving this thread a little bump. I went in and tested today and placed into Analytical Geometry Calculus 1(the highest you can test into at my university). That puts me right in line with the math sequence that my major requires! I am SO pumped right now, and not to mention relieved!
  12. Apr 15, 2008 #11
    Good job. When I read the earlier post, I didn't think you's have a problem. Usually the students who need to worry are not worried.
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