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Need Help Coping with Scheduling Conflicts

  1. Nov 2, 2011 #1
    Just to start off, I'm kind of in a hurry while writing this, but hopefully it will all make sense and if not I should be able to clear up any misunderstandings a little later.

    I'm a sophomore majoring in applied physics. I haven't been able to start the general physics (calculus based) until this term as well as general chemistry due to scheduling conflicts last year. I'm currently taking calculus III (infinite series and now we're covering the basics of vector calculus) and am doing okish as far as the infinite series... I got in A in calculus II but over the summer I lost a lot of my abilities to work with derivatives and integrals.

    I'm going to register for my classes next term and I need some advice. I've got a pretty heavy workload right now with 19 credit hours, a part-time job, and having to commute an hour to and from school. But I'm not sure if I can handle differential equations with gen chem, gen physics, along with the job next term as I heard the differential equations class is twice as hard as calc. III.

    My original plan was to take linear algebra while polishing my calc. I and II skills on my own time winter term. Then take the math methods for science class spring term. Then differential equations during the summer if they offer it. And pepper in some computer science classes somewhere in there.

    But as it turns out... the linear algebra class is not available this next term, nor is math methods for physics. The way I see it, I have the option of braving differential equations next term without being able to hone my skills from calc. I and II (I'm in pretty bad shape as I strain to remember the quotient rule...) or I take a hold on all math classes and take a nano-particle class approved for university studies. By the way, no computer science classes will work with my schedule for winter term.

    Either way, I feel pretty ripped off, but what's the best option to keep me from falling behind without my head exploding? Or am I already behind because of my freshman year?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 3, 2011 #2
    You probably should talk to an advisor from your school/program... or at the least a professor in your program (maybe your current physics I professor?). These people are probably better equipped to answer your questions than those of us also familiar to the field (but at random locations on the globe).
  4. Nov 3, 2011 #3
    I was under the distinct impression that Linear Algebra was essential to a Differential Equations course.. although I haven't taken them yet (next year!), so it's entirely possible that I'm wrong. Assuming this is the case and your schedule permits, it may be more prudent to wait until you've taken LA to enroll in ODE. At the very least you'd want put in the time to learn LA on your own time while brushing up on your calc skills, before taking ODE and LA concurrently.

    Most prereq cycles that I've seen go something like this:
    Calc I --> LA --> Calc II --> Calc III --> ODE.
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