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Is A- in Calculus 2 a bad grade?

  1. Dec 12, 2014 #1
    I am kind of bummed today because I got my finals result for calculus 2 and ended up getting an A- .Truth to be told it was the best Math course I have taken so far and the professor was outstanding. Its just that I am always hanging in the 90-92 range not just for math but for physics and chemistry as well. I always tend to make these silly arithmetic errors which end up costing me points. What can I do to avoid this. Also there are some amazing people on this board. Can some of you who achieved outstanding grades in undergraduate give me any advice on how to refine my studying habits for math and physical sciences. I would greatly appreciate it. Oh! btw in precalculus I got a B, in Calculus 1 B and now A- in Calculus 2.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2014 #2
    First off an A- is far above average (I assume) so you shouldn't be bummed out.

    Second, it's hard to advice you on improving your studying technique when we don't know anything about it in the first place.

    Third, silly algebraic errors will decrease with experience. Trust me. I was asking myself the exact same question during my 1st year, i.e. "why do I always do these silly mistakes", but now, in my 3rd, I breeze thru writing many pages of math without any slips of the pen.
  4. Dec 12, 2014 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    No, A- is not a bad grade in Calculus 2.
  5. Dec 13, 2014 #4
    Is there a pattern about the types of arithmetic mistakes you make? Are you going too quickly?
  6. Dec 13, 2014 #5
    Well! First off I love Math with a passion and I get very excited doing it. That's exactly what happens to me when I see a test and I try to go fast due to the excitement, thus costing me points. Also sometimes the problem is simple enough but I overthink making it more complicated than it should be. My brain is very chaotic.
  7. Dec 13, 2014 #6
    My strategy for dealing with this is:
    1. Write down every single one of your thought processes. This way you're kind of examining your work while you do it, and it probably helps your professors understand it as well.
    2. Never turn in a test early. If you have extra time after a test, there's no reason not to spend the rest of the time meticulously checking your work. You have no idea how many times I've found a mistake on the third or fourth check (though only change an answer if you're certain).
  8. Dec 13, 2014 #7
    What material did your calc2 course cover? I personally found calc 2 to be the most challenging of all. My institution runs a two-year sequence with calc 1-4. I got A's in calc1+3+4 and a C+ in calc2. So there.
  9. Dec 13, 2014 #8
    Integration by parts, trig integrals, trig substitution, partial fractions, improper integrals, applications of integration, hyperbolic functions, parametric equations and polar coordinates, and sequences and series...
  10. Dec 13, 2014 #9


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    Wow, and you use a pen! ; that was seen as an act of brashness in my undergrad, where most used pencils so they could erase more easily. What's next, grading the exam yourself before you submit it :)? (I saw this in one movie, can't remember which, where the student submitted an exam to the prof., while telling her: you don't have to grade it, it's an A.)
  11. Dec 13, 2014 #10
    Then yes, an A- is a very good grade. Don't worry about it.
  12. Dec 14, 2014 #11
    heh, it's just an expression. Actually I use a mechanical pencil due to its comfort and the fact that you can erase stuff that's wrong. Don't really see why anyone would prefer to use an actual ink-pen.
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