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Courses Reapplying to Engineering: Physics II, Calc II Or ODE?

  1. May 9, 2017 #1
    Hello, I just came across this forum and thought of asking for advice! I am reapplying to Engineering and I am taking summer school (Full term) and need to take 2 more classes to boost my avg.

    Right now, I am enrolled in Physics II, Calculus III, and ODE and I have to choose two out of the three.
    I am reapplying to engineering and will need an A- in both classes.

    I haven't taken physics for 3 years, and I'm not that great with integration at the moment. The ODE course I am taking also includes Numerical Methods.

    I am curious to hear what experience people had with these classes. I've heard that ODE is "easy" however, saying something is easy is really subjective, and it gives me the impression someone is stroking their own ego.

    I've taken time off school to work and my skills have weakened. This year I took Calculus II (B) Linear Algebra (C+) and Probability and Stats for Engs (C). The difficulty I had this year was with regaining my momentum and taking care of personal issues. I got screwed over on my finals so my marks took a huge hit. I should've received at the very least B+'s across the board. An unfortunate outcome, however, life is complicated.

    This term my prof's seem to be equal in terms of teaching, and difficulty. Currently, I am keeping up with my classes and putting time in to solve any problem. I hope this will bring me to some sort of conclusion.

    I felt pretty comfortable with Linear Algebra working through proofs. I felt Linear Algebra is helping me to conceptualize physics problems, so that is a comforting thought. Last September I found Calculus to be a pain, but I have relearnt integration, so now I feel somewhat comfortable.

    My current decision is: ODE and Calc III. I've regained my momentum and finally am up to speed with my academics. My ODE prof told me to keep ODE at the very least.

    Thanks everyone for taking the time to read through this.

    Experiences and thoughts are more than welcome.

  2. jcsd
  3. May 10, 2017 #2


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    What type of engineering are you interested in? Structural, Environmental, electrical, chemical, mechanical, aeronautical, other??
  4. May 11, 2017 #3
    The first weeks of the class I'm taking involved some things that were easy and some things that were not easy. For example, one would need to be able to understand the concept of integrating factor by the product rule, and finding the roots of a characteristic quadratic polynomial. These things one should be able to do after Calculus I. Then you have mathematical modeling, which is difficult to get into at first, being used to just writing down numbers and equations and solving for a value. Basically, you must conceptualize a physical process by means of devising a differential equation, then solving for it. It's hard at first, but it's satisfying once you've figured out a formula for how much salt is in a saltwater tank after many hours of filling it with freshwater with a given rate of flow. I won't go into detail for the remainder of the course, mostly because I can't be bothered to explain it right now.
  5. May 11, 2017 #4
    Thanks for the reply. Chemical.
  6. May 11, 2017 #5
    I like the idea of using processes to solve problems, however I am nervous about falling into "traps" and making simple mistakes etc. etc.
    Thank you for the description, I'm trying to develop some kind of perspective... I need to make up mind very soon!
  7. May 16, 2017 #6


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    I would suggest Calc III and Physics II. Every engineer regardless of discipline should have basic knowledge of those 3 Calculus courses and 2 Physics courses (mechanics, electricity, and magnetism). Neither is easy, but not of extreme difficulty. ODE can wait till later, if necessary to take it. You don't want to take Calc III and ODE at the same time.
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