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Calc 1 woes

  1. Feb 3, 2010 #1
    Ok first let me give you some background.

    I began college as a MIS major (business college) at a local community college (good reputation cc). Anyways, last spring I finished 2 years on time with pre-major business ready to transfer to our local university, UCF. I decided I wanted to switch majors to EE, so I got in to UCF and became a transient student. The only class I could take towards my ee major in the fall was trig. Although I ended up taking a sociology class at the university to get a feel for it, along with 2 other random classes at the cc.

    Anyways Im at the university full time this semester, taking chm 1, c programming, calc 1, and finance (couldnt take anymore toward major). I was somewhat of a slacker, not a huge slacker, but I didnt study HARD for the first 1.5 years in college. I turned things around and Ive earned straight A's since last spring. (Note Ive only earned 1 C in college, so I guess I didnt slack too much) I study very hard now and will not settle for anything less than a A. I have a decent math background, college algebra, pre-calc, business calc, stats, trig.

    I just got back my first test from calc 1, I got a 70%. I made careless mistakes, such as forgetting to put a negative in front of one of the answers. The teachers test are 5 questions worth 4 points for a total of 20 points. He has 3 test worth 20% each, final is 30%, attendance is 5%, quizzes are 5% which totals out as the 100% of your grade.

    My worries are that this has really screwed me over from getting a A in the class and will bring down my 3.67 GPA. I KNOW Im a good student, I try hard and I think I can do better than this. If I drop this class that sets me back to being able to only take calc 1 over the summer, and will lock me in to being able to only take calc 2 and physics 1 for fall; if this was the case I would take classes towards my minor in finance.

    What should I do? Go up until the drop point and drop it if it doesnt get better? Or stick it out all the way through? I cant imagine getting a C in this class, but I didnt imagine getting a C on the first test and I wouldnt like a B too much either.

    Advice please, Im worried.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2010 #2
    Maybe Im being unrealistic expecting to keep straight A's my whole college career?

    edit - sorry for the new post, didnt see edit till after
  4. Feb 3, 2010 #3
    this is really only a question that you can answer. I say stick it out, find a challenge and hammer through the course. To me, your GPA is of minor importance. If you want to be successful, it shouldn't be about keeping an untarnished record but being able to work under the pressure of yourself. A lot of areas in which you make mistakes, wont let you drop it and take it again.

  5. Feb 3, 2010 #4
    I would suggest continuing the course. You got a 70% on one exam that makes up 20% of the course. That means you still have plenty of chances to bring your grade up. It sounds like you're motivated and understand the info just fine and you just made a few correctable mistakes on the exam. So you got a little lazy, just pay a little more attention on the next exam, check your work if you have time, you know the drill. And even if you do end up with a C, I would imagine you still would have a decent gpa. Finally, in my calc classes, exams or final grades were often scaled up based on the class average, does your class do anything like that?
  6. Feb 3, 2010 #5
    Theres no curve that I know of, although at the beginning of the class he said he would curve when necessary.

    I think you both make valid points, there could be a good opportunity here to build some character that would help me in a later career. I didnt hammer the books ridiculously hard because I thought I understood the material (and I spend a ton of time on chm). I will now shift that over to more time on calc.
  7. Feb 7, 2010 #6
    Don't worry. If you study harder you'll be fine. Last semester I got a 51% on my first Calc 2 test. Similar to the class you're in, we had 3 tests (100 points each) and a final (200 points) that made up about 85% of the total grade. Once I realized what I was in for I started studying and wound up with 2 88% tests and a 90% on the final. Granted, I ended up receiving a B in the course, but it was a solid B. You're in a better situation than I was; I'm sure if you study sufficiently, you'll do fine.

    Edit: Just to eliminate ambiguity, there was no curve.
  8. Feb 7, 2010 #7
    I really don't think I'd drop the class just because you weren't going to get an A in the class. Though at least to me, calculus does get harder after the first test... so it's really up to you. If I did bad on the first test, I'd a bit upset, but I'd channel that into massive amounts of studying to do better on the text. However if you really think you're in over your head, then maybe it's best to step back & try again...

    Ok, so I didn't really give an answer, but you're really the only one that can decide that. Some schools allow you to retake the course & they take the higher of the two grades, though I reckon both would still show up on your transcript.
  9. Feb 8, 2010 #8
    Interesting post, but what does that mean ?
  10. Feb 8, 2010 #9
    I was unclear in my original post as to whether or not there was a curve. Since the original poster has no curve it seemed relevant. Yet, I didn't want to alter my post without acknowledging that I had done so. I apologize if my use of ambiguity may have been a bit ambiguous itself, but I hope I have cleared that up.
  11. Feb 11, 2010 #10
    I would also suggest staying the course and ramping up your study habits. There seem to be many teachers who grade a bit harsh at the beginning to scare off the less serious students and to get the others to bring their best. That is also what happened to me in my calc 2 class last term. I had a TOUGH teacher. I've had nothing but A's thus far and for the first part of her class I was getting failing quizzes and tests, mostly from stupid habits like that. With the help of the math lab, studying with fellow students and lots of practicing I was able to pass with a B, though it was close. Also, check out the MIT website as they post video lectures of calculus classes and I know that helped many of my classmates.

    There were many students in there who were taking Calc II for the second or even third time, so you definitely want to make sure you have the basics of Calc I down. It's a very interesting and fun class when you know what you are doing. Calc III is a blast, so I would definitely say hold the course if you can.

    Good luck!
  12. Feb 15, 2010 #11
    I dropped Calculus twice.

    The first time I only showed up for one class, and it was mostly a time conflict thing, so it's not really applicable.

    The second time I just wasn't doing enough homework and tried to juggle it with a full time job.

    The third time I enrolled I had been practicing for about a year out of Spivack's book. Now I can't see myself living without it :) I love Calculus. I look forward to talking Analysis in the Fall.

    From what I understand EE is math heavy, probably one of the heaviest in engineering discplines. If you are passionate about EE, I'd take some time out and reassess your goals. Perhaps you can find yourself enjoying math more.
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