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Can you Conquer Calculus in 5 weeks?

  1. Mar 17, 2010 #1
    Hi all, I am a 31 year old undergraduate going back for a Master's in Computational Science. My first degree is in Political Science so I need to complete Calc 1 & 2 before being admitted. The community college I am going to take them offers either One 8 week session, or two five week session. Currently I am in Intermediate Algebra and have not recieved anything less the a 95%. I am going to take Pre-Calc this summer but not sure if I should take Calc1 one also.

    My question is, do you think if Calc1 is my only class can I pass it , but also get out of it what I need to in 5 weeks? Or should I take Pre-Calc over the 8 week session and take Calc1 in the fall.

    As I stated I am 31 so time is of the essence.

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 17, 2010 #2
    calculus 1 will be no problem for you. especially if it is the only course.
  4. Mar 21, 2010 #3
    calc one is pretty basic, the main "hard" part comes from just getting bogged down in algebraic equations. you can learn it all in 5 weeks. calc two is also pretty simple, again the main "hard" part is algebra. doing in in 5 weeks i would say is definitely possible, the only drawback being you don't get as much time to practice some of the more "special" cases of problems. the concepts, however, should be relatively easy to tackle.
  5. Mar 21, 2010 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    I'm going to disagree with dacruick and AUI 1138. Your background in Poli Sci won't be helpful at all in learning calculus, so trying to take courses in precalculus and calculus simultaneously isn't a good idea, IMO, on top of which the courses are compressed into five weeks. If you take them both at the same time, the calculus instructor will be assuming that you have mastered precalculus concepts that you won't have covered yet.

    Some things in calculus are pretty simple and mechanical, such as the Power Rule --d/dx(xn = nxn-1. The trick is figuring in an applied problem how to get an equation that you can then deal with mechanically.
  6. Mar 21, 2010 #5
    I am not planning to take them simutanously. I will be taking Pre-Calculus in the first 5-week session and Calculus in the second 5-week session.
  7. Mar 21, 2010 #6


    Staff: Mentor

    OK, I misunderstood. Five weeks is still a very short time to absorb that much calculus. (I'm assuming what you wrote about taking Precalcu twice was a typo.) Inasmuch as you're planning on a Master's in Computational Science, your goal should be higher than merely passing calculus, since you will likely need to take a number of classes for which calculus is a prereq.

    I don't know you or your abilities, and you might be able to cruise through without too many problems. However, there are several facts that make me want to err on the side of caution :

    • The summer classes are very short, so some material will be cut or it will be compressed.
    • Your master's area has a substantial mathematics component (I believe).
    • Your undergrad degree is not science- or mathematics-related.
  8. Mar 22, 2010 #7
    Thanks for the honest advice. I am motivated to try and catch up on all my Maths as soon as possible, but not nieve to the fact that Calculus will be the building blocks for the rest of my Math courses and the Masters program in generally. If I thought it was no problem I would have just signed up and did it, so the reason I put it on this site is to see how far you can push the envolpe before you lose the purpose of the class, and that is to learn the material. Thanks again, and if anybody can add to this dicussion please do, because registration for summer classes starts today.

  9. Mar 22, 2010 #8
    Don't know when the summer classes start but if you choose the short haul, you have several weeks yet before summer.

    Get yourself a good maths book or three and a fireside. You can have done much yourself by the summer class.
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