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Should I Take Another Summer Course?

  1. Jul 4, 2014 #1
    I'm a 20 year old Engineering Major, and a sophomore at college, and my dilemma is a bit shaky. I'm a semester behind due to depression, which affected me greatly during the Spring of 2013. To top it off I joined college needing remedial Math, in which I didn't complete until the Summer, and Fall of 2013 since my ego was too big beforehand.

    As of Spring of 2014 I passed all my classes, but had to drop PreCalc due to inefficiencies in my studying, and the behalf of the department/teacher. I'll be glad to say that I passed the class yesterday with a hard earned B that cost me about 30-40 hours of studying each week for about 6 weeks. I'm a bit worn out from that class, and I'm not sure I should take the next Trig class in about week.

    I need Trig in order to take my first Engineering classes, and have full schedule as opposed to two classes if I don't take it immediately.

    My logic says that if I take Trig I would be worn out, and would probably render myself useless if I were to take a full load during the fall (Calculus, Intermediate Chem, EGG classes). However if I don't take Trig, I risk setting myself to more delays in graduation. What should I do?
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  3. Jul 4, 2014 #2


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    Do you want the best chance to pass Trigonometry, AND to learn it? Take it in the Fall semester. You really do have other choices available if you are still studying Trigonometry in the fall semester. There are other science and technology courses which you might need whatever your chosen field. Your mathematical achievement should now be enough to do a beginning computer programming course. You will find that skill very useful later.
  4. Jul 4, 2014 #3
    Actually my university requires me to have completed Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus, before I could start on my first Computer Engineering classes. Perhaps I should switch to Computer Science for the meantime, and then switch back into Engineering. I think CS majors can start earlier, and if not I guess I'll have to make accommodations in only taking Chemistry and Trigonometry for the next semester.
  5. Jul 4, 2014 #4


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    You could find a beginning computer programming course instead of any computer engineering course. I did not intend to imply computer engineering. The prerequisites may still be Trigonometry and College Algebra and in that case, you are stuck until later.
  6. Jul 5, 2014 #5
    Or you can knock out an elective. Such as sociology, psych, art, history instead. I will say that it's better to take math courses in a full semester so you actually learn the material and plug n chug. What ever you don't learn properly will byte u in the *** later.
  7. Jul 5, 2014 #6


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    If you try to take calculus without knowing trig., that's going to be a fun ride as well. Get the trig. under your belt before Fall if you can.
  8. Jul 5, 2014 #7


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    Here are three pages to get an idea of what trigonometry is about, read them in order and see if it is understandable: Unit Circle, Radian Measure, Main Trigonometric Functions. Do you see that ##sin(60°) = {1 \over 2}##? Do you see that ##sin(\theta) = cos(90° - \theta)##? This rule is essentially saying that sin and cos are symmetrical about 45°.

    So trigonometry is all about applying rules and formulas for sin, cos and tan. Everything comes back to them and the usual way to proceed is to express everything in terms of sin, cos and tan. It can be taken further: ##tan = {sin \over cos}##, but that can make things more complicated sometimes. There are many rules/formulas, look here for some of them: Trigonometric Identities. Probably your class won't cover all of those but that is most of them and it's all applying rules once you understand the definitions.

    I've put this here because I think catching up over the summer is a good plan, you'll be heading into calculus like anybody else would, a level playing field, and being caught up is a very good thing. One summer to catch up seems like a good deal to me.
  9. Jul 5, 2014 #8
    I still agree that you should take trig in a full semester. How is he going to understand certain things In his future class? SUCH as harmonic motion, springs, proportions (sst) to solve related rates, opimization and a hundred other world problems he's going to encounter?

    If ur calculus teacher was anything like myne (teaches grad school at ucla, but took him at cc) you would fail. First test differentian. Gave us problems that had to make the math easier an identity should be used. If u didn't know the identity go hacking at something nasty and simply ing it in a 1 hour test with 12 other hard questions.

    I'll look for test and post the problem.

    How else is he going to understand the concepts of limit? If he probably doesn't know the properties of the right triangle.
    Or finding area under the curve, volume of the curve revolving around an axis when the given functions are trig?

    Take trig in full semester. I started with arithmetic in college and now I am in calculus 2. You are not that behind.
  10. Jul 5, 2014 #9
    Remember the turtle beat the hare.
  11. Jul 5, 2014 #10


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    He's still going to need to do all of that even with a full semester of trigonometry. And a full semester could give the wrong impression because trigonometry is easy but calculus is not. Trigonometry is some of the easiest math. I believe trigonometry at a faster pace is better preparation for what will come next.
  12. Jul 5, 2014 #11

    True trig is easier. But many students fail calculus because their basics are not good. The calculus is not hard it is the concept. OP if you are a quick learner go ahead. I will advice against it.
  13. Jul 5, 2014 #12
    I think I will wait for the fall, the UNLV math department will definitely do its best in tiring me out with its irrelevant Webassign homework, and Department Finals in which only the professors could finish on time. If I don't get a break before the fall, I think I will crash pretty hard. I've taken all my electives at this point, and I think I will take 2 filler classes in order to boost my GPA.

    Seriously, online homework is a detriment. I find that doing problems out of the book is a lot more efficient, and relevant, but professors, and deparments don't want to hire more teachers or assistants in order to grade homework manually.
  14. Jul 5, 2014 #13
    Are you 100% positive that you even need trigonometry before taking calculus and the others? Most schools require precalc or college algebra and trig before beginning calc. I never took a trig class and made it through the calc sequence just fine. It depends also on the topics covered I'm your particular precalc class, but often there is significant overlap with trig.
  15. Jul 5, 2014 #14

    Pre - calculus at least in the states, incorporates college algebra and trig into 1 class.
  16. Jul 5, 2014 #15
    My point exactly. It seems unnecessary in most cases to take precalc AND trig.
  17. Jul 5, 2014 #16

    True in theory. Also depends how much op actually understands. Sometimes it helps to see yhe material a second time. Now if is a self learner then thays even bettef n he can learn the trig an hour or 2 a day by himself.

    Even to even complicate things further. Some schools pre cal is divided into 2 semeater. College algebra 1st semester and trig second semester

    Questuon for op. How confortable are you with ur trig?

    And also make sure u learn how to do the geometric problems in pre cal using the max and min to find areas, lengths, ratios. Theae problems never go away and you will be working with them in calculus.
  18. Jul 6, 2014 #17
    Not very comfortable, I never learned it during High School. I usually spend 4-5 hours studying, a good chunk is spent on webassign, the other is for test preparation.
  19. Jul 6, 2014 #18

    I was told by a professor (he is the only person who teaches stats with the pencil and paper method and not excel at my cc) he said there was a study going around a few years ago. The outcome of the study was that students learn better with the pencil and paper method. Also the lecturing should be done on a chalkboard or whiteboard and not with a projector PowerPoint style.

    It's your call. Do you have any teachers you get along with that can access your work? And say that u can do well in a summer course? What is the quality of the teacher that is teaching trig in the summer and fall respectively?
  20. Jul 6, 2014 #19
    UNLV is a dick, and they censor the instructors name on their edu site, so I can't see whom is teaching it during the Fall. However for the Summer, I can readily see the instructors name, and they seem to be of good-great quality according to the reviews. UNLV practically has newbie TA's teaching at all levels of mathematics, except for the really high ones.
  21. Jul 6, 2014 #20


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    My one concern with trig, I think you will never fail it, is okay, you take it as a full semester, then after that you take calculus, and it's not impossible that you find calculus difficult and perhaps fail it. So another semester of calculus, that's 3 full semesters to get to that point where you meet most of the prereqs. But I was thinking that calculus, if you fail it and it was this coming semester, you could pass it the next and it's one year only.

    But I can certainly understand that it won't be nice to lose holiday time, it'd be a very solid block of study and that can be hard. So whatever you decide, just try your best and be sure to ask questions if you need to.
  22. Jul 6, 2014 #21

    That sicks if you cant see what instuctor you are aigning up for.

    I do not attend a university but a cc and I forgot that lower math at a UV is uasually thought by a ta or recent graduate etc.

    So have you decided on what you are going to do?
  23. Jul 7, 2014 #22
    I think I have decided to take Trig during the Summer, so I can at least attempt the other requisite classes.
  24. Jul 7, 2014 #23

    Gl with that. Im sure your school is going to use stewart for their calculus series. The book is ok. There are about 5 sections that the author didnt give a great explanation of the material. They where linearization, the volume problems, and a few other.

    I recommend you get an older copy of thomas 3ed or (I think 8 or 9th ed with co author finly).

    I prefer swokoski calculus (not the classical ed) because the writer is straight to the point axiom/theorem approach. Book can be dry and or dense.

    These are great supplements to stewarts cal.

    Ie thomad explains the concept of epsilon delta whrte stewart takes multiple pages and is still noy clear with using the triangle inequality theorem to find a value.
  25. Jul 7, 2014 #24
    So it looks like I'm going to be doing:

    Circular functions, trigonometric identities and equations, conic sections, complex numbers, and discrete algebra.

    This might actually seem easier than the advanced algebra that I was doing in Pre-Calculus
  26. Jul 7, 2014 #25

    Yeah. At first its rather weird because u are introduced to the symbols of trig such as. Cosine sine, and the properties of their graphs.
    The unit circle will be somewhat confuaing but the more problems you do the better you will understand.

    The only difficult part I had in trig was vectors and how the xyz axis work.

    Some people have a problem with polar coordinates but it was straight forward.

    I recommend wat hing rob bob on youtube because his videos are like an actual lecture.

    I recommend watching youtube videos after you have apent hours readibg your book.

    What book are you guys going to use for trig?
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