Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Calc 1

  1. Jul 15, 2010 #1
    I am taking calculus 1 right now and we have been doing a lot of application problems. Like related rates and finding and relating maximum values. I don't have any specific question I was just wanting to maybe have an open forum where we could discuss tips in understanding math->language a little better. I would really appreciate any little nuggets are suggestions any of you guys have.

    I will be going on to calc 2 this fall and I am sort of nervous because this class is somewhat challenging for me and all my friends who are in calc 3 or higher keep saying it is easy. I don't find it all that easy. Is there anything I should really really pay attention to in order to be prepared for calc 2?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 15, 2010 #2
    What is calc 1?
  4. Jul 16, 2010 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    Very likely it's the first quarter or semester of calculus.

    Some tips...
    Make sure that you are very proficient at using the product rule, quotient rule, and especially the chain rule. What you'll be doing a lot of in the second calculus course is integration, which can be thought of as backwards differentiation. If you are weak with derivatives it will come back to haunt you when you start working with antiderivatives.

    You'll be exposed to several different techniques of integration: substitution, which is where the chain rule comes in; integration by parts, which is where the product rule comes in; trig substitution, which requires a good understanding of right-triangle trig.

    Being able to sketch graphs of functions is important when you come to applications involving definite integrals, such as finding the area beneath a curve, volumes of solids, and others.

    That's all that come to mind right now. I'm sure I've left some things out, but if you are competent at what I've listed, that should get you through maybe 75% of the things covered. A lot of the concepts of calculus are relatively simple, but where many students fall down is not being able to carry longer calculations all the way through, due to poor understanding of algebra or trig, or previous calculus classes.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2010
  5. Jul 16, 2010 #4
    It is in fact first semester calculus.

    I have all of the derivative rules down pat and have become rather proficient with them. Trig isn't too big of a deal either, I mainly have problem with trig when it comes to recognizing when I can use an identity.

    We started antiderivatives yesterday :)

    I have a test Monday and it covers a lot of application problems. This is where most of my worry falls in, I don't have trouble understanding math concepts and going through obvious needed motions to get a result. I have trouble applying what I know to actual situations.
  6. Jul 16, 2010 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    Can you give some examples of the types of applied problems that have given you difficulties? Not the specific problems, just the general types.
  7. Jul 16, 2010 #6
    Well I was having trouble with different related rate problems, but I am not too shabby with them now. (lots of practice problems lol)

    But now its optimization problems. Finding minimum of materials used in a box' construction with just the volume given. Finding the formula for the maximum sized cylinder one can fit in a sphere with radius r. Stuff like that.
  8. Jul 20, 2010 #7
    Take it from someone who took calc 2 at the nations' #1 engineering, math and science college. Calc 2 is full of integrals (finding areas, volumes), derivatives, series' (Taylor, Maclaurin), and sequences. Focus on those 4 things and you're sure to do well.
  9. Jul 20, 2010 #8
    (to the poster above) MIT? Cal Tech?
  10. Jul 20, 2010 #9
    Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook