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Should I be conserved about skipping pre-cal?

  1. Dec 23, 2009 #1
    Ok, I tested out of pre-cal into calculus and calculus with analytic geometry. Should I be concerned about stuff I might miss out on in pre-cal? I know everything in pre-cal that I would have learned, except the trig stuff. My friend is taking calculus now and he said that you don't really need any of the trig stuff that you hammered into your head in calculus.
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  3. Dec 23, 2009 #2


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    You should be most concerned about English class.
  4. Dec 23, 2009 #3
    ROFL. I tried to spell concerned, but I can't spell very well, and just clicked the first word that the auto corrector offered me, and didn't ever bother to check it. My bad, but really, should I be concerned?
  5. Dec 23, 2009 #4

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    Then he hasn't gone very far with it. Learn the trig - you'll need it.
    And make sure you have a thorough understanding of functions.
  6. Dec 23, 2009 #5
    Like I said, I learned everything except the trig stuff, but when I say trig stuff I mean that I don't have the values of certain sin and cos memorized or that I don't have the identity's memorized. I have a trig book, I worked 3/4 of the way through it, it was surprisingly easy. I think that I'll be good.
  7. Dec 23, 2009 #6
    As long as you know what the trig functions are and some of their properties (like what their graphs look like), you should be good. Don't worry about memorizing tons of trig identities. Most calculus books will have the most important identities listed on the front cover anyway so you can always refer to them quickly when needed.

    I would recommend learning the values of sine and cosine at 30, 45, 60, 90...and so on because knowing these values will help you later on.

    Overall, the fact that you worked through most of your trig book already and tested out of pre-calc means you will probably do just fine calculus. I wouldn't worry at all.
  8. Dec 23, 2009 #7
    Sweet, thats what I wanted to hear. And yeah, the trip book I have went way into detail about the graphs of all the trig functions. Even ones like inverse hyperbolic cotangent. I'll memorize the values of sine and cosine at 30, 45, 60, 90 and so on, like you suggested though, that shouldn't be very hard I think.
  9. Dec 23, 2009 #8
    You'll be fine. I also never took pre-calc before i took calculus 1 last semester at my university and I passed with a pretty solid A. Like others have said, the most important thing is a thorough knowledge of trig functions; I wish I had known them a little better.
  10. Dec 23, 2009 #9
    So true.

    I haven't taken trig in a while and I would always get stuck whenever a calculus problem came that invovlved that stuff. I think trig functions and log functions are very important. However those aren't too hard to learn on your own. In fact, I re-learned them as I was going along in calculus. Which I was successful in the class, but they are still a HUGE weak point for me.
  11. Dec 23, 2009 #10


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    Yep. Just take a few days to learn the trig and you will do fine.

    No problems.
  12. Dec 23, 2009 #11
    The testing is there for a reason. I'm sure you'll be fine.
    I never took pre-calc, so I don't know exactly what they cover in it, but I'd imagine that doing well enough to "test out of it" means the people that make the curriculum feel that you will be fine without it.

    I have to disagree with your friend's assessment of trig's importance. Every new level of math I take seems to make the trigonometric fundamentals more and more important.
  13. Dec 23, 2009 #12
    Is it possible that your friend is taking business calculus (or calculus for social science... however you call it at your institution) instead of standard calculus? Because the former never talks about trigonometry (at least at my institution) whereas the latter talks tons about it.
  14. Dec 24, 2009 #13
    Well, he's taking calculus in high school. And apparently they skip a bunch of stuff. Like they never did quadratic approximations, only linear, and things like that. So that could explain why, and he fail calculus horribly, so maybe he just missed it.
  15. Dec 25, 2009 #14
    Euler's formula. Just make it a habit, using this identity, and you'll never have any troubles with trigonometry.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2009
  16. Dec 25, 2009 #15
    Your friend might have not seen trig in calculus yet because they may have not gotten to the relevant parts of the subject yet. I know my high school calculus class barely mentioned trig in the first semester, but we used it a *lot* in the second semester. (I remember because I didn't take pre-calc before I took calc, and I had to learn the trig I needed on the fly.) The first semester of my calculus class covered the basics of differentiation and integration, while the second semester focused on various integration techniques and applications, both of which used a lot of trig.
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2009
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