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Is being good at precalculus an indicator

  1. Apr 1, 2013 #1
    Is being good at precalculus an indicator that you will be good at calculus and later maths? Right now precalculus comes so naturally to me and I hardly struggle. And when I do struggle, I like learning how to figure where I'm going wrong unlike when I'm struggling at physics or computer science. Is this a good sign? I may want to do either applied or pure math in college. Also I got a 720 on the math section of the SAT on the first try.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 1, 2013 #2
    Enthusiasm for learning new things is the only reliable indicator that you will be good at learning new things. :) You sound quite enthusiastic at the moment. Your ability with the concepts of precalculus will aid you well in your ability to learn calculus easily, but is not the dominant factor.
    I don't know your current circumstances, but it may be the case that you will find a different approach to the topics you are struggling in more palatable. Try going to your local library (or using the internet) and searching for basic books on those topics or asking your teacher about them. Tutors may help as well.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2013
  4. Apr 1, 2013 #3
    Pure mathematics is very unlike what is done is precalculus. Pure mathematics focuses on proving statements. Creativity is an important aspect there. Precalculus is usually just applying a formula and getting the arithmetic right.

    You should work through a pure math book to see if you like it. Yes, you are able to work through a pure math book just fine without having done calculus. For example, get this book https://www.amazon.com/Book-Abstract-Algebra-Second-Mathematics/dp/0486474178 It is very cheap and shows what mathematics is actually about. And it is suitable for high school students (and that does not mean that it is dumbed down).
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Apr 1, 2013 #4


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    Focusing on just calculus and not higher math:

    Being good at pre-calc says that you have the tools to do well in calculus.

    In my experience, people do poorly in calculus because they don't have good command of the needed tools (i.e., they struggle with algebra and/or trig).

    So I'd say yes, being good at pre-calc is a good indicator that you'll be good in calculus. Of course, you still have to work hard!
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