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I got a B+ in Calculus 1, should I reconsider being a mathematician?

  1. Dec 24, 2011 #1
    I go to a top 10 math school in the US and just received a B+ in Calculus 1 (the final was ridiculous!). Should I reconsider being a math major? I enjoyed the course considerably, but I feel that all math majors would breeze though it with an A.

    Any thoughts?

  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 24, 2011 #2
    Your performance in calculus I says nothing about your aptitude as a mathematician. The real math classes start later, when proofs are introduced.

    However, you do have a problem. You should evaluate your study methods and what you know of the course. What went wrong?? (and don't blame the final) What could you improve??
  4. Dec 24, 2011 #3

    I like Serena

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    If you enjoy math, keep at it.
    Perseverance should get you where you want to be.

    There will be plenty of time to reevaluate what you want to do later if that is necessary.
  5. Dec 24, 2011 #4
    I currently have a c- or something in my year long introductory to calculus and analysis (proof based) and i'm still on the road to becoming a statistician. I don't think marks matter as much for me. I know a few people in statistics canada and i'm social. I just need to do decent enough to get a statistics degree.

    So really, just quit your whining. You can be an amateur mathematician as well. Besides, working for academia is probably VERY glorified. There's lots of administrative tasks to do and you probably won't even really be researching as much as you want.
  6. Dec 24, 2011 #5
    Math major and mathematician can mean different things. You can be a mathematician as a hobby, but not all math majors get there. To get there, you should be actively thinking about questions in mathematics, have research interests, etc.

    If you would like a career in theoretical mathematics, be advised that there aren't many jobs (where we're talking someone who was the top of his/her class from a good university would still on average have a very hard time).

    You should not reconsider being a math major, however, solely based on your performance in a calculus course. It's quite possible that you will be better at the proof-based classes than some of those who did better than you in this one. Nevertheless, the advice someone gave about thinking what went wrong is a good one. You have a long way to go.

    Just remember that mathematics appears all over the place, and that too many people are somewhat narrow-minded about what they believe constitutes doing mathematics. Consider the various areas (statistics, physics, engineering, computer science, etc) which can have significant interplay with mathematics before you start considering yourself on track to becoming a "mathematician."
  7. Dec 24, 2011 #6
    I don't know if you know, but a B is actually a good grade. Sure, you didn't get the A you wanted, but that doesn't mean you can't excel in math. Calc 2 will probably be harder, so assess what you missed in the course and nail that down now. In fact, it would be best if you started in the calc 2 material now so you can start off strong next semester.
  8. Dec 24, 2011 #7


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    I got a B- in calc 1st semester and D- the second semester. of course I lost focus and stopped going to class. But it was also haa..ard.
  9. Dec 25, 2011 #8
  10. Dec 29, 2011 #9
    Don't let a B+ in calculus I hold you back. I had a B+ in calc II as an engineering major, before I switched to a mathematics degree track. Now I have a B.A. in math and I'm almost finished with an M.S. in math. So, the important mindset I have is to enjoy math and have a positive attitude about it. If you are a math major, be devoted to it. It will help you in your (math) classes.
  11. Sep 14, 2012 #10
    I got a B plus too.
    Depends on why... is the material hard for you to understand, or do you just make ADHD errors while under pressure?
    For me it was the latter... plus the stupefied brain-state that sitting through a lecture puts me in...
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