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Should I go ahead and take Calc lll in my first semester of College

  1. Jul 25, 2013 #1
    I'm attending TAMU this fall and have new student conference early next week. I'm having a difficult time deciding if I should go ahead and take calc 3 during my first semester. I'm majoring in Petroleum Engineering.

    In high school calculus AB/BC I was pretty solid I think. I got basically Bs all year around with a pretty competitive class. I managed to pull off a 5 on the BC exam, although i have a feeling i was pretty close to a 4. My teacher is thought to be very good in my school. Everyone passed the BC exam. In fact everyone got a 5 except for two people who got 4s.

    I'll admit after summer my calc 1/calc 2 understanding is a little fuzzy. I'm hoping to recap quite a bit in the next 2-3 weeks. But we did cover everything in my calc class in high school. We even went a little bit into multivariable calculus after the BC exam.

    At TAMU calc 1/2 are supposed to be weed out courses. I've heard that people who did well in calc in high school also have a difficult time in these classes. Many people actually consider calc 3 to be easier. However, if I do retake calc 1/2 I think I will definitely solidify my understanding in calculus.

    Does anyone have further advice?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 25, 2013 #2

    MarneMath

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    Well, there really isn't much point relearning Calculus 1 and 2 if you already have a good understanding of the overall material. The tricky integrals, the tedious series, and annoying related rates are less import than understanding how and when to use a series, an integral or arc length etc. Any fuzziness you have, you should be able to reread a calculus book and be able to figure it out. I just don't see the point in wasting AP credit to retake rather basic courses.
     
  4. Jul 25, 2013 #3

    symbolipoint

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    Fullmetalx explains this:

    If that is the case, you do not yet know enough about Calculus to start at Calculus III. You also may have lost some skills in the Calculus which you have already studied. BEST thing to do is restudy first semester material on your own before enrolling for real in Calculus II, not III; or review as much as you can of Calculus I&II on your own before enrolling in Calculus I.

    Whatever course you repeat that you think you already "know" from high school, you will learn much better than you had before. You would then be far more prepared for your multivariable Calculus course at the university.
     
  5. Jul 25, 2013 #4
    I know a few people who also started out in calc III at TAMU having received BC credit, and they all recommended me against starting in calc III.

    That being said, I'm also going to be starting my first semester of college (similar situation), but I have decided to start in calc III.

    Since I haven't taken the course yet, I can't really offer an opinion apart from what my friends have experienced.
     
  6. Jul 25, 2013 #5
    Oh really? Is it because TAMu teaches some extra calc material that is not taught in high school?
    Right now about half the people i know at TAMU recommend me to start at calc 3 and other half don't.
     
  7. Jul 25, 2013 #6

    symbolipoint

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    Interesting! Tough to judge. You may know your current qualifications better than most people. Read the course description for Calculus III at TAMU, and determine what you already know well from their description based on what you already learned. Look also at the course descriptions of Calculus I and II. Do you still have the prerequisite knowledge for Calculus III? Are you lacking any of it?
     
  8. Jul 26, 2013 #7

    verty

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    Multivariable calculus is going to stress your algebraic skills. All the calculations are more difficult, with more writing and more places to make mistakes. One of the benefits of doing calculus at university is those so-called tricky questions really drill you in your algebra and handling of long and tricky calculations. And you will now be thinking in 3d, so for example the volume of revolution stuff from before will be helpful. I would say without hesitation that anyone who struggles with the shells/disks stuff can do with revisiting Calc II. If that was for you one of the easier parts, along with related rates problems, you are the type of person who could go straight to Calc III. Obviously check for any gaps you may have, especially in integration techniques. Get a feel for every technique and what types of formulas can be integrated.

    (I think related rates problems are similar to the types of problems you will face in Calc III, problems where one is given a geometric picture but few formulas).
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013
  9. Aug 12, 2013 #8
    If you have a very solid foundation in calc 2, multivariable calc should come easy. I took it first semester of school, and found most of the material to be a repeat of my previous knowledge of calculus. If Calc 2 is fuzzy to you, I would recommend retaking it.
     
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