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Calc 3 from High School Student

  1. Aug 6, 2008 #1
    Hello ya'll, new to these forums but I've been reading around and enjoyed what I've read. Wanted to get some feedback about some classes coming up this semester.

    I'm a Sr. high school student, and will taking one class at the HS (AP Bio), and 4 at a college nearby. I took AP Calc BC and recieved a 5 on both the BC and AB subscore portion. Took Honors physics w/ a B+, and honors chem w/ an A (recieved a B in the BC Calc class itself).

    Question: Do you think it'd be do-able to go through Calc III at the college, and I was also planning on doing General Chem and Physics for Scientists and Engineers. I know the Calc and Physics may be overkill, but I've always taken the most challenging classes to ensure my options are wide open.

    Additional Info: I have an interest in the Science field, right now more towards biochemistry / molecular biology / nanotechnology / but most of all bioengineering. My research hasn't been fine-tuned about looking into these different subject areas, so any additional informaion, links etc. about the degrees would be helpful.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2008 #2


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    This is more relevant to "Academic and Career Guidance" so I am moving it there.
  4. Aug 6, 2008 #3
    What does the calculus 3 course that you're looking into taking entail? Do you have a syllabus or outline? If it's multivariable calculus you won't have much difficulty with it for the most part in my opinion. Most of the concepts are much the same as calculus 1 & 2, but extended to well..more variables. Sure things start getting a little more abstract when you begin getting more into vector fields and line integrals, but by then you're almost prepared for a differential equations class.
  5. Aug 6, 2008 #4
    You'll be fine doing calc III - I recall having no difficulty doing night classes for both that and diffeq while in HS. You might even find the classes easy because of the lax rigor in a local college class. As for chem/physics, I would make sure that the coursework is identical to what's covered on the AP exams because "Physics for Scientists and Engineers" doesn't immediately sound like it would transfer anywhere as a physics I/II credit.
  6. Aug 6, 2008 #5
    General Physics for Scientists and Engineers I, II, and III are the classes that Engineers and Non-Physics Science majors take at schools in my area (such as UMass). I & II are required for all Engineering majors, with III being an elective that some people take on the side (I bought the book to read on my own). They are Calculus based, and focus on application more than abstract models.

    I attend a local community college as well as UMass. The mathematics classes at my local college (GCC) are actually more challenging than the ones at UMass. Multivariate, Diff-Eq, and Linear Algebra are 4 credit classes at GCC (covering more material) and only 3 credits at UMass. I actually took Calculus I & II at UMass out of high school, and the most challenging part was trying to translate my instructor's Russian-laden English. At GCC the math department is very strict, and some people wait to take Multi and/or Diff-Eq during the summer at UMass. Class difficulty is often highly dependent upon the instructor.
  7. Aug 6, 2008 #6
    Thanks for the input. I'll copy and paste the course discriptions below. As for the physics, it will transfer to practically all in my state - Michigan. The physics for sci/eng is above the General Physics I, and II in terms of difficulty. I figure I'll go for the higher level physics and math incase I want to change majors, although there's one thing.

    I'll take Calc III and Diffeq this yr at my community college, then another yr. of college after I graduate to grab my associates. Problem is... I'll go a yr. without math, maybe grab stats in there for some good medicine (I'm hoping it will be alright if I have to continue math at my new university). After the two years I'll transfer my credits and spend two years there to get my undergrad, and maybe go on to masters or Phd.

    Calc III: "The course covers multivariable calculus including
    three-dimensional analytical geometry, vector valued
    functions, partial differentiation, and multiple
    integration (with applications of each). Also an
    introduction to linear algebra will be covered."

    Diffeq: "Introduces the concepts of differential equations and
    of linear algebra. Topics include: solving linear and
    systems of linear differential equations, Laplace
    transformations, power series solutions, and their
    physical applications. Solutions are found using
    analytical, numerical, or graphical techniques relating
    to quantitative modeling and Laplace transforms.
    Linear algebraic topics include: vector spaces,
    subspaces, spanning sets, linear dependence and
    independence, basis and dimensions, eigenvalues,
    eigenvectors, and linear transformations."

    Phy for sci/eng: "This course is the first semester of a two-semester
    course sequence primarily intended for those students
    preparing for engineering, science, or math careers.
    Topics include linear motion, Newton’s Laws,
    conservation of momentum, conservation of energy,
    rotational motion, oscillations, fluids, waves, and
    thermodynamics. The laboratory covers the preceding
    topics in parallel with the lecture whenever possible.
    A recitation accompanies the lecture and lab."
  8. Aug 7, 2008 #7
    Here are some of the class descriptions for Mathematics courses at my local CC...

    Multivariate Calculus
    Theoretical and applied multivariate calculus for students interested in mathematics, engineering, and the physical sciences. The course assumes an understanding of single variable calculus. Topics include vectors, the dot and cross products, multiple representations of functions of several variables, the gradient and directional derivatives, first and second order partial derivatives with applications including Lagrange multipliers, iterated integrals, parameterization, vector fields, line integrals, and Green's Theorem. Students use computer software and/or graphing calculators in and out of class to apply and enhance their understanding of calculus concepts.

    Differential Equations
    An introduction to ordinary differential equations with a dual focus on finding analytic solutions and on solving and understanding differential equations using numeric and qualitative approaches. Topics include separation of variables, methods of undetermined coefficients, integrating factor method, Euler's method, phase planes, first order linear systems, second order differential equations, an introduction to nonlinear systems, and LaPlace transforms. Throughout the course, students use and formulate differential equations that model real-world situations. Students use computer software and/or graphing calculators in and out of class to apply and enhance their understanding of differential equations and their solutions.

    Linear Algebra
    The study of matrices and vector spaces. Topics include the algebra of matrices, systems of linear equations, determinants, subspaces, linear independence, bases, linear transformations and their matrix representations, eigenvalues, eigenvectors, orthogonality, and applications to linear systems. Students gain significant computational experience with the use of computer software and/or calculators with linear algebra capabilities.

    I've taken Linear Algebra, and I'm registered for Multivariate next month.

    At my local university (UMass), there are four levels of Physics.

    Conceptual Physics
    Introductory Physics
    General Physics for Scientists & Engineers

    Conceptual is a single course that involves no math or labs.
    Introductory has labs, but only requires Algebra and is a two course sequence.
    General has labs, is Calculus based, and is a three course sequence.
    Physics is for Physics majors, and has dozens of courses.

    Of course this varies from school to school, and is why credits don't transfer everywhere.

    For the General Physics sequence, the class descriptions are as follows...

    General Physics for Scientists and Engineers I
    Mechanics is the study of motion of all types, from the smallest particles to the largest astrophysical objects. This course introduces the student to a number of concepts to help analyze classical motion, including kinematics, force, energy, and linear momentum. Newton's laws of motion and laws of universal gravitation are covered in detail.

    General Physics for Scientists and Engineers II
    Heat, kinetic theory, first and second laws of thermodynamics. Comprehensive study of electricity and magnetism from Coulomb's law to AmpEre's law. Applications to basic circuits and ending with AC circuits.

    General Physics for Scientists and Engineers III
    Wave physics and modern physics. Waves on a string, sound and electromagnetic waves. Ray and wave optics, reflection and refraction of light, optical instruments, interference and diffraction. The central ideas of 20th-century physics: relativity, photons, introduction to quantum physics, atoms, molecules, nuclei, and other modern topics as time permits.

    I took General Physics I both at my CC and at UMass, and it was much more challenging at my CC. General Physics II I took at my CC, and it was a serious challenge. It was taught by an EE with a masters in Education, and we covered a heck of a lot more than UMass - all the way to Maxwell's equations, and introductory topics in semiconductors. It was insane, and I plan on re-reading the E&M portions of our text once I finish Multivariate.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
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