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Should I take Calculus 2 during summer? and other questions

  1. Mar 28, 2008 #1
    Hello All,

    First post here, looking forward to your suggestions and opinions.

    I am currently taking Calculus 1 and so far so good. I have had some challenging days but so far I am managing an A-, not bad I guess considering this is my first time ever taking Calculus. However, I have heard that Calc 2 is by far the toughest Lower Division Math course and so it's not recommended to be taken during the summer. I do work FT and have a family so summers usually have been the time to take GE classes and not major prep. So my question is, should I consider taking Calculus 2 since I only need one more GE class which I can take online and try to move on to linear algebra in the Fall? I don't want to just get by, I've managed really good grades since returning to college (I am 32) and don't want to set up myself for failure.

    On a slightly different note, since returning to college in the Spring of 07, I've developed a love for teaching and I think I'd enjoy teaching Math the most (although I am a CS major) so I am entertaining the thought of returning right after earning my BS to pursue a MS in Math so I can teach and the JC level. Is B throughout Calculus, DiffEQ etc... good enough for teaching? I feel I have the ability to teach, I help other students and for the most part can see what's going on in most of my math so far but I am somewhat of a perfectionist (so says my wife :-) and am under the impression that only As will do to be able to teach. PLEASE CORRECT ME IF IM JUST BEING UNREALISTIC :-)

    Questions to Math professors
    If you could share some wisdom, what would be your advice to someone in my shoes?

    Thank you for reading!

  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 28, 2008 #2
    I'm in calc II now. So far I've found it easier than calc I by far. Not that calc I was the worst class I've taken, but calc II just seems to be a breeze & I'm not the greatest mathematician in the world. But then again, sum/series is left. Taking it during the summer, well I suppose it all depends on how much time you want to put into the class. There is a lot of technical stuff that if its an online class you may miss out on... but its really up to you & if you're a good independent learner. Not sure its something I'd want to try if you're moving on to calc III, but then again I haven't taken that yet so I have no idea how much the it builds on top of each other.
  4. Mar 28, 2008 #3


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    Homework Helper
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    Any of Calculus 1, or 2, or 3 in the summer session as an enrolled student --- Bad idea.

    A better strategy is the review your Calculus 1 course in detail during the whole summer so that you can learn it better, and then continue onward into the Calculus 2 material if you still have enough time in the summer. This can help you be prepared for starting Calculus 2 in the Fall. Don't let that A grade fool you! You will probably loose much of what you learned during the summer, and the Calc 2 course needs the number of months; NOT the number of hours. The official summer session (probably 6 or 7 weeks) will be too short to learn adequately the Calc 2 course.

    Naturally, some forum readers will disagree with me about all that. Ask yourself this: Are you as academically effective as they are?
  5. Mar 29, 2008 #4


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    Staff: Mentor

    I don't know your school's calendar, but here, summer school terms are about half as long as terms during the normal academic year. Classes meet more often, and for longer periods, and you're expected to cover more than twice as much material per week as during a normal term. On paper, the number of hours in class comes out the same either way, but I think that most people need the extra time overall (inside and outside of class) in order to really master the material.

    I've taught General Physics during summer school, and we refer to it as "firehose physics." If you just need to pass the course in order to get credits towards another major, that's one thing, but if you need to retain the material for future courses, well...

    I expect most math courses would be similar.
  6. Mar 29, 2008 #5
    Depends. If it's an accelerated course, I probably wouldn't take it. If it's a full-length 4-month course (May-August), then I see no reason why not--would be the same as any other semester. My school offers a variety of course lengths. I don't know if this is common or not though.
  7. Mar 29, 2008 #6
    What about Linear Algebra over an 11-week summer course?
  8. Mar 29, 2008 #7
    ^ Does that include the final? Sounds like about the normal length of courses for me.

    For example for me... Start first week of January, Finish classes beginning of April. That's about 12 weeks. Then the final exam is about a week later than that.

    So linear algebra in 11 weeks... I think that is definitely doable. Just stay on top of the readings/recommended problems.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2008
  9. Mar 29, 2008 #8
    Yeah, I've learned to be diligent in my math courses. I do the homework sets along with covering the sections, etc.
  10. Mar 29, 2008 #9
    I wouldn't suggest taking calc over the summer, just too much information to soak up...

    At my University the summer is divided into two semesters, each just over a month long, so there is no way I'd take a 4 cr hr calc course over the summer..

    If your summer is 11 weeks, then a 3 cr hr Linear Algebra class shouldn't be a problem.
  11. Mar 29, 2008 #10
    Thanks for your reply, very good advice indeed. I think reviewing it during the summer will help me be better prepared for Calc 2.
  12. Mar 29, 2008 #11
    The summer semester is between 7 and 9 weeks so in some cases in less than the half! Given my situation, FT job and family, I'll wait until the Fall and just take the one GE class I need to satisfy the requirements during the summer. Thanks for your reply.
  13. Mar 29, 2008 #12
    At my school Calculus 2 is a pre-requisite for Liner Algebra so unfortunately, not an option. Thanks for your reply.
  14. Mar 29, 2008 #13
    Thank you all for your replies...I think I'll just tackle Calc 2 in the Fall for the sake of my sanity :-)

    Any suggestions regarding the second part of the original post?
  15. Mar 30, 2008 #14
    I was asking for myself since it was closely related. lol.
  16. Mar 30, 2008 #15
    Got It! :-)
  17. Mar 30, 2008 #16
    actually some schools have the option of taking a regular semester during the summer, in my school they have two 6 week semesters (A from may to july, and B from july to august) but they also have a C summer semester that's from may to june; I'm going to be taking calculus III and physics II during that time, and I think that's plenty for calc II; in calc II I found the intergrals pretty easy (except for the volumes by slicing, shells, etc those were tricky for me), integration by parts, trigonometric integrals, integration by partial fractions and those were easy, series/sequence is a little tricky but not that much, I agree it's easier than calc I (if you already know your calc I of course, and you will have to do series);

    a good website to go is Karl's Calculus Tutor, makes the concepts very easy to understand.
  18. Mar 30, 2008 #17
    Your situation sounds similar to mine. I returned back to school Spring of '07 and I'm 37. I'm takng Calc I this semester and condered Calc II in the summer. The summer course is only 6 weeks long and I have to have time for things to sink in. I'm taking Calc II in the fall and a calculus level statistics class this summer.
  19. Apr 4, 2008 #18
    Thanks for your reply!
    I wish my school would offer a longer summer semester but it only offers the 8 week format so I think I'm going to wait to take Calc 2 in the fall and just take my last GE class during the summer along with Statistics. Hopefully, I'll find Calc 2 easier too :-)... I am doing pretty good in Calc 1, I understand most concepts fine but those darn Related Rates problems kicked my rear end...I'll find out this week how I did on my third test. I'll defenitely check out Karl's Caculus Tutor...I'll take all the help I can get. Thanks again.
  20. Apr 4, 2008 #19
    Nice to know I'm not the only one! :-) What's your major?
    I'll be taking my last GE class in the summer and perhaps regular stats as well since it's required for Computer Science at SDSU. Good luck to you and thanks for your reply.
  21. Apr 4, 2008 #20
    We've noticed that success rates in challenging courses are much lower in the summer term when the classes are accelerated. We routinely posted success rates under 50% for Calculus and Physics in the Summer.
  22. Apr 4, 2008 #21
    Calc 2 as in continuation of single variable or as in the full multivariabe?
  23. Apr 4, 2008 #22
    I think Calculus II is traditionally still single variable. The third semester is usually when multivariable comes in. I found Calc III to be easier than Calc II, personally.
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