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Should I take Calc III (multi-variable) in high school?

  1. Oct 29, 2011 #1
    I am currently enrolled in Calculus AB and am going to take the Calculus BC exam. I taught myself most topics in single variable calc over the summer so I am very confident that I can pass the BC exam.

    Provided I do, I would have the opportunity the take Calc III (and possibly partial diff equations) at a satellite college in my city. If I am wanting to go to Purdue University and enroll in their physics honors program and mathematics program. Is taking Calc III at a separate college a worth wild choice (the credits could transfer to Purdue)? I have heard conflicting opinions. Will it make my application stand out in a good way compared to others?

  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2011 #2
    I would go for it.
    As for the partial differential equations, you need ordinary differential equations first as you constantly use them in PDEs.

    Good luck!

    P.S. Calc BC covers taylor series, power series, infinite sums, improper integrals, trig subs, etc. so make sure you review these topics before the exam (since you're in calc AB you won't be reviewing those topics in class)
  4. Oct 30, 2011 #3


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    Hey rebat and welcome to the forums.

    Do you have a good background on basic Euclidean Geometry?

    Also I think for PDE's as another posted suggested, you should do a normal DE course first before you do PDE's.

    With regards to honors courses, most that I have seen often start with Multivariable calculus and linear algebra in their first year and don't expect the students to have done the multivariable stuff before (they expect that they have a solid single variable calculus history though).

    It's more important that you learn the stuff properly rather than quickly. Math has a habit of taking a little while to settle in the mind before you really understand it and this becomes more evident as you go up the abstraction food chain.

    I guess though if you feel confident, you could take it and if you get credit, then you could substitute that course for another math or other course, but if I was to give advice I would say to wait until you get into an honors program and take it from that professor especially if they have a seperate course for honors students, since the benefit will be having a professor that will give you more insight and who will push you that little bit more as well as having other students with similar traits to yourself in your class: that is the real benefit of being in an honors class: it is not the material per se, it is the other things like the environment that make it good for the students.
  5. Oct 30, 2011 #4
    PDEs sounds a bit advanced. You definitely want to do regular DEs first.

    ditto 100%

    As for Multivariable, I'd say that if you want to be a mathematician, a good base of rigorous calculus from a book like apostol could be good. However I don't think you'll have any trouble in multivariable. If you want to learn the math, go for it. You can always place out of the Purdue course if you want.
  6. Oct 30, 2011 #5
    Ok, I may have got there courses mixed up :redface:
    Thats probably what I will do; I will take the classes in high school but retake them in the honors program(the classes at the satalite are cheap :!!)).

    Thanks for the advice!
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