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Pre calc harder than calc?

  1. Sep 21, 2006 #1
    Hi, all

    I am taking precalculus right now, and I have heard from some people that calc is actually easier than precalc. What is your experience?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 21, 2006 #2
    Maybe at your high school it is.... Depends.

    Both at my high school were relatively easy. Calc II at the University of Arizona was significantly harder than any math course I have ever taken in high school. By significantly, I mean worlds harder.

    If calc at your school is taught towards AP test and nothing else, then yes, it will be really easy because you would only need to memorize several things and be on your way.
  4. Sep 21, 2006 #3
    I am taking precalc at a community college. and will be taking calc 1,2,3 at community college, probably
  5. Sep 21, 2006 #4
    Depends on the teacher, the book, the student, the amount of time one studies, the amount of previous knowledge one student has, and probably numerous other factors. My experience would be that Calculus 1 is harder.
  6. Sep 21, 2006 #5
    Oops, sorry, I thought that your previous posts mentioned something about high school...
  7. Sep 21, 2006 #6
    no prob, I have been out of school for 10 years. I have a two year degree in business, but want nothing to do with the business world. It took me a long time to find what I wanted.
  8. Sep 22, 2006 #7
    This is what I have heard from everyone as well at my school (University of Florida). I don't really think I can venture an opinion because I found both to be easy. But if you understand how precalculus really well it makes calculus much easier.
  9. Sep 22, 2006 #8
    In my experience the general people who do take precal and all the calcs offer say that Calc II is the hardest one they face. Perhaps Pre-cal is viewed as difficult because it is new math that they are not use too and when they get to calc they are more use to it?
  10. Sep 22, 2006 #9
    Basically, with calculus you learn the Derivative, Limit and Integral in fine detail, with precalculus you learn all sorts of concepts in less detail.

    Its all about Mass concepts vs. Fewer, more complex concepts.
  11. Sep 22, 2006 #10
    If your calculus class say uses stewarts calculus, and it's just a regular calculus class with not a bunch of proofs. Then yes, I think pre-calculus is harder, perhaps because it covers more topics that really don't seem to be related when you study them, whereas calc, it's a very vertical thing. You start with limits, go to continuity, then differentiation, etc. It builds upon what you know.
  12. Sep 22, 2006 #11
    Calculus showed me how bad my algebra skills were. If your foundation is strong, than calc I is not too dificult. It's hard to say if one is easier than another, because the material can definitely be difficult. It really depends on your professor, and the book.

    A lot of people told me that calc III was the easiest. I found it to be very difficult. So people's opinions are just that... theirs.
  13. Sep 22, 2006 #12


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    I agree that there's many factors to consider. My experience, Calc II and Calc III were the hard ones of the whole set, I skipped precalc and college algebra, and went straight to Calc I at my community college, then I came up to the state university and did Calc II and Calc III and those semesters tore up my social life like a (insert lewd comment).

    It's natural for me to assume that community college classes are (on average) easier than university classes.
  14. Sep 22, 2006 #13
    So, would you recommend I take the calc classes at a university as opposed to at the community college?
  15. Sep 22, 2006 #14


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    I'm a student, myself, so this is just opinion, but yeah, it might be a good idea to go down one series of classes in the same school. If it seriously complicates your schedule, then just take the community one, but otherwise, you might as well get a feel for the university influence (grading policies, homework, etc, you also get to hear other studen'ts opinions of good and bad teachers) at the start of the calc series.
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