Preparing for Calc I: Self-Study Tips for Higher Placement Test Scores

  • Thread starter armolsf
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In summary, the community college student plans to teach themselves algebra and trigonometry in order to pass the placement test and avoid taking precalculus classes.
  • #1
armolsf
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I was able to graduate from high school early, so now I am at a community college, and i need to take calc I for an economics major. I don't want to have to take two classes(trig and precalc) in order to take calc I. So I've decided that ill teach myself both of those subjects so that i can get a higher score on the placement test(as well as actually understanding the math itself) and thus avoid having to spend two semesters in pre-req classes.


my algebra is alright i probably need to brush up though,never took and trig. I checked out the Trig for dummies book from the library and I've found it to be well written and I am considering purchasing it on amazon along with the workbook as well as the algebra II book for dummies and workbook by the same author. However, i thought id see what you guys at this forum have to say about which book i should use.

Thanks.
 
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  • #2
Any book would do really. At a high school level most books would be sufficient.

But just make sure you know what you're doing. I see a lot of people who tell themselves they know the material but in reality don't.

You can pass a test not mastering the material but it will come back to hurt you when you take calculus if you don't have the proper foundations.

That's just something you want to watch out for^^
 
  • #3
I agree maybe brush up on algebra yourself, but i think you should formally take Pre-calc in a classroom setting. If you are strong in Algebra you can take Pre-Calc in one semester oppose to two.

Good Luck,
Eg
 
  • #4
Precalculus traditionally covers both algebra and trigonometry, usually in a single semester class. I like Trigonometry by Gelfand, but as stated above almost any precalc or trig book will suffice. However, reading the material and knowing the material are very different matters; it's one thing to read a book and do well enough on a placement exam to exempt out of a precalculus class. If you don't really know your trig it will come back to haunt you in a big way. If not in Calc I when looking at derivatives of trig and inverse trig functions then certainly in Calc II (assuming you have to take Calc II?) when you're covering trig integrals and substitutions. I'm not very familiar with econ major requirements, but I agree with the sentiment that it may not be the best idea to try to skip a class with content you haven't seen before.

Best of luck.
 
  • #5


I understand the importance of setting goals and taking proactive steps to achieve them. It is commendable that you are taking the initiative to prepare for Calc I and improve your placement test scores. However, I would caution against solely relying on self-study materials for subjects like trigonometry and precalculus, which are foundational for calculus.

While books like "Trig for Dummies" may provide a good introduction to the concepts, they may not cover all the necessary topics in depth. It would be beneficial to also seek out resources such as online tutorials, practice problems, and even a tutor to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the material.

Additionally, I would suggest considering taking a placement test preparation course or enrolling in a precalculus or trigonometry class at a community college to supplement your self-study. These options may require more time and effort, but they can provide a more structured and well-rounded approach to mastering the material.

Ultimately, the most important thing is to not rush through the material and ensure that you have a solid understanding of trigonometry and precalculus before moving on to calculus. This will not only improve your placement test scores but also set you up for success in your future mathematics courses. Best of luck in your studies!
 

What is the importance of preparing for Calc I?

Preparing for Calc I is crucial for students who want to achieve higher placement test scores. It helps students build a strong foundation in the subject, which is essential for success in higher-level math courses. Moreover, a good understanding of Calc I can also be beneficial for students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

What are some self-study tips for preparing for Calc I?

Some self-study tips for preparing for Calc I include reviewing basic algebra and trigonometry concepts, practicing with sample problems, and seeking help from online resources or tutors. It is also essential to set a study schedule and stick to it, as well as to continuously challenge oneself with more difficult problems.

How should I approach practice problems for Calc I?

When practicing problems for Calc I, it is essential to understand the underlying concepts and not just memorize formulas. Start by breaking down the problem into smaller, more manageable parts, and then use your knowledge of algebra and trigonometry to solve it. It is also helpful to check your work and identify any mistakes to learn from them.

What are some common mistakes students make when preparing for Calc I?

Some common mistakes students make when preparing for Calc I include not reviewing basic algebra and trigonometry concepts, not seeking help when needed, and not practicing enough with sample problems. Additionally, some students may focus too much on memorizing formulas instead of understanding the concepts behind them.

Can self-study alone be enough to prepare for Calc I?

While self-study can be an effective way to prepare for Calc I, it may not be enough for some students. It is crucial to seek help from teachers, tutors, or online resources when facing difficulties. Additionally, taking practice tests and seeking feedback can also help identify areas that need improvement. Collaboration with peers can also be beneficial for discussing and solving challenging problems.

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