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Differential Equations or not That is the Question

  1. Jul 13, 2010 #1
    Next year I'll be entering my first year in college, and I'm not sure if I should skip Calculus 1 and Calculus 2.

    I have both credits from my AP scores, I'm much more confident in my Calc 1 skills than Calc 2, because I don't really remember anything from series and sequences really... I'm surprised I even got credit.

    Anyway: I'm not sure what Differential Equations entails... so I'm not sure if I should skip it or not. Diff EQs are the only math class that I have to take if I skip Calc 1 and 2, and it'd be nice to get it over with first semester :P

    Thanks in advance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2010 #2
    Do you have the syllabus for your diff eq. class?
  4. Jul 13, 2010 #3
    Well first of all... What do you plan on doing as a career? Or even more general: what do you plan on majoring in?
  5. Jul 14, 2010 #4
    I want to do Chemical and Materials Engineering


    "First-order differential equations, second-order linear equations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors of matrices, systems of first-order equations, stability and qualitative properties of nonlinear autonomous systems in the plane, Fourier series, separation of variables for partial differential equations. "

    I have NO CLUE what this means pretty much.
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2010
  6. Jul 14, 2010 #5
    I think you should be fine as long as you remember most of the stuff from your AP calc course, but don't be surprised if you need to review something from your calculus class.

    Also, be prepared to review sequence and series if you don't remember it. That's very important if you need to study Fourier series.

    Buy a cheap calculus textbook from a used book store, and review some materials you don't remember.
  7. Jul 14, 2010 #6
    Your school doesn't require Calculus III/Multivariable Calculus/Vector Calculus? That's often how the sequence goes especially for engineers: Cal I -> Cal II -> Cal III -> Diff. Eq.
  8. Jul 14, 2010 #7
    Nope :(
    It skips Calc 3, and we're done with math after Diff. Eqs :P
  9. Jul 14, 2010 #8
    That seems really strange that multivariable calculus isn't required for engineers. But in that case, I think you should be fine in Diff Eq, although a basic understanding of linear algebra would help (but isn't necessary), especially given the course description below.
  10. Jul 14, 2010 #9
    that sounds like the syllabus for the chem majors at my school, but for an engineer I would'nt skip multivariable I would do diffy q and calc 3 and linear algebra too
  11. Jul 14, 2010 #10
    That's not an option unfortunately, my curriculum says I only need to take Calc 1, Calc 2, and Diff EQs

    It just comes down to this: how much of Diff EQs relies on the Calc 2 material?
  12. Jul 15, 2010 #11
    A class in D.E.'s will rely heavily on calc 2 (and calc 1 for that matter). If I were you I'd take calc 2 at the university before jumping into D.E.s -- especially if you've never played around with even O.D.E.s before.. Just my two cents.
  13. Jul 15, 2010 #12
    Don't skip calc 2. Series are used extensively when you get to Fourier.
  14. Jul 16, 2010 #13
    I am doubtful that a Diff Eq course will be that heavy in Fourier anyways. We touched a bit on it in my linear algebra course, but it was bare minimal. Maybe after taking analysis, fourier would be more sequence heavy. When I went into college environment (my senior year of high school) , I retook all of single vari calculus (after scoring a 4,5 on BC, AB respectively), and I am really happy I did. I think the AP test doesn't really do a good job of preparing kids for upper level math. E.g. AP BC does not test on trig substitution integrals, but these appear heavily in Calc 3. As a chemical engineer, I would recommend not jumping straight into diff eq. The courses that require diff eq appear later in your college career, so it would be better if it was fresher in your memory. I think you would be better off starting in a multivariable course, which is what I did my first semester freshmen year, since these topics appear sooner in the cheme curriculum...
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