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Courses Should I take calculus 2,3 and diff. eqs at CC while in HS?

  1. Sep 15, 2016 #1
    Hi I was wondering if taking calculus 2,3, and differential equations by the end of my senior year at the local community college would be a wise choice. Would taking these math classes before i use them in physics hinder my learning? (I want to be a physicist). Would I gain an advantage in college applications if i were to choose this path?
     
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  3. Sep 15, 2016 #2

    symbolipoint

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    Bad idea in general, but what YOU might accomplish depends on what efforts YOU are able to give and succeed in doing. Taking as much as just "Calculus 2" in a community college and doing well in it while still also attending high school is extraordinary. First, you must be well accomplished academically at Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry as would come from such courses at the community college; and then do very well in Calculus 1 as from the community college. Good at all of them? Then maybe you are ready for the c.c. course on Calculus 2.
     
  4. Sep 15, 2016 #3
    Most of the Calculus and beyond courses I've seen at community colleges are sub par.

    The more math (Calc and beyond) you take at a community college, the worse off you will be compared with taking these at a university that has a good physics major.

    You might go as far as Calc 1 and Calc 2 and expand and reinforce your learning through some other resources (MIT OCW, Khan Academy, etc.), but I think you should really wait to take Calc 3 and diff eq at the same school as your physics major.
     
  5. Sep 15, 2016 #4
    Yes, I think I might do something along those lines, since I heard that Diff eqs is a very hard class from my teachers. As of now however, I am doing calculus at my high school, and it doesn't seem as hard as how people make it out to be (right now we are learning differentiation methods such as the chain rule). I have another little question; How important is ap statistics to physics? I am wondering if I should perhaps take ap statistics next year or Calculus 2 at my local community college. Thank you for answering by the way :smile:
     
  6. Sep 16, 2016 #5

    Student100

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    Intro to ordinary differential equations is easy as taught as a lower division class at community college.

    Depends on what's taught. If they teach you how to do basic standard deviations, standard errors, confidence intervals, data rejection techniques, etc. then it could be useful to physics, especially in intro labs.

    Most of the statistics needed is learned in physics courses, but a dedicated course couldn't hurt. I can't comment on what you should do as far as taking CC classes while in HS or sticking to AP courses, not really sure how, or better, how well, that works.
     
  7. Sep 16, 2016 #6
    http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/18-01sc-single-variable-calculus-fall-2010/

    Have a look at the link if you want to see what a real 1st semester Calculus course looks like, as opposed to that dumbed down nonsense they teach in a lot of high schools and community colleges.

    At some point, a good stats course will help you in physics or any area of experimental science or engineering. I prefer the ALEKS online course and Coursera offerings to the AP Stats. Freshman physics in the classroom won't benefit much from stats.
     
  8. Sep 16, 2016 #7

    Student100

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    I took calculus one at CC (and two, and three, and linear algebra ,and differential equations), it's definitely adequate. There wasn't any great transition in rigor when I transferred and took math courses at UCSD either.
     
  9. Sep 16, 2016 #8

    jtbell

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    The quality of community college courses surely varies from one system to another (state or metropolitan area).
     
  10. Sep 16, 2016 #9
    to provide more information, my local community college is called porterville college, in a small town in california
     
  11. Sep 16, 2016 #10

    Student100

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    As do universities courses, I don't think it's possible to paint the above comments with such a broad brush.
     
  12. Sep 16, 2016 #11

    symbolipoint

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    I BELIEVE THAT.

    One of the courses of the sequence I tried at a community college and would not have passed; and I stayed enrolled for as long as possible and then withdrew, but continued attending just to keep trying to learn. I then spent a few weeks reviewing some earlier calculus material. I tried the previously widthdrewn course of Calculus again but at univeristy. This time, no trouble passing. The course was basically the same at both schools; in fact, a couple of parts may have been done more lightly at the university than at the c.c.
    (still good course at both places)
     
  13. Sep 17, 2016 #12
    Most of my math teachers at the community college were professionals or employed by a major college. I have had a teacher who worked for NASA for 20 years, a person who teaches graduate school at USC (EE), former UCLA professor who publishes good research in his field and a reviewer for scientific and mathematical journals. The classes were rigorous. Many students from the neighboring Cal States, UCLA, USC, and other colleges would try to take classes at this CC. They were the first ones to drop.
     
  14. Sep 17, 2016 #13

    vela

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    Why would it?

    There are all sorts of reasons the course may not be as hard as you've been led to believe. Most likely, you might have been "lied" to. You're probably really good at math, and intro calculus, despite what many will tell you, just isn't that hard. High school calculus course vs. college calculus course–you're probably going at slower pace than a college-level course. Finally, your teacher might be teaching a cookbook type of course, which might be fine for a future business major but would be a disservice to a potential math major.

    I took calc 1 through 3 and intro linear algebra/differential equations at a community college when I was still in high school. I later tutored the equivalent courses at the university I attended, and I don't recall them doing anything that I didn't see in my courses at the community college. I suggest if you're ready to take the courses, take them. I wouldn't wait around for a year or two just because someone told you to take them at a "real" school.

    The main difference I saw between taking courses at the community college and the university was actually the students. At the community college, 60 people would show up the first day, 20 of them trying to crash the course. By the end of the semester, there were perhaps only 20 students left. At the university, that didn't happen. Students there were much more serious about their studies. If you're easily swayed by lazy students, then perhaps you should wait. ;)
     
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