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Should I take first-year-Calculus again just to build a solid GPA?

  1. Jun 29, 2010 #1
    I took AP Calc BC already and I am entering as a freshman, should i take freshman Calculus again?

    How many freshman calculus courses actually go through these topics?

    1. Hyperbolic integration/derivatives
    2. telescoping series
    3. Work
    4. Fluid Pressure
    5. Moments of Inertia
    6. Center of Mass, Centroids
    7. Integration by Tables
    8. Simpson's Rule
    9. The Binomial Series
    10. The Shell Method
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2010 #2
    I took AP Calc BC and am planning to take calc II my first semester of college. I decided to do this to:

    1. Solidify my knowledge of calculus.
    2. Boost my GPA (hopefully).
    3. Help me ease into college.

    I also took a calc II final I found on the college website and realized that my AP class did not cover everything the college calc II class covered. I also realized that my calculus was very rusty and needed practice.
  4. Jun 29, 2010 #3
    Seems pretty standard for intro calculus I/II sequence.
  5. Jun 29, 2010 #4
    Answer may vary from different people, but my answer is no--I don't know what your major is, but I think it is more beneficial to move on to more advanced math courses to fulfill the requirement. Retaking same course again just for the sake of GPA is a huge waste of time.

    One exception to my answer: If you think your calculus skill is weak and you are afraid of moving up to more advanced courses, then you might want to consider re-taking calculus. But again, you can review the stuff you already learned by yourself, and you should be fine.

    And about those topics:
    1. Rarely. Most instructors don't even talk about hyperbolic functions at this stage, but some might. I doubt they are not something you can learn by yourself.
    2. Yes, but only as one example of series (important one, though). I'm not so sure if you would consider this as one "topic" of calculus.
    3-4-5-6: These are topics you should see in a physics class. Some calc instructor might talk about some of these topics as applications of integration, but these are not really the topics in calculus.
    7. ??? Is this just the way of integrating by looking up the table in the back of the book? If so, there really isn't much to learn anything new from this topic.
    8. Likely. Some instructors might skip it simply because it's not that important.
    9. Not sure if this really is a topic from calculus, but one can certainly include binomial series in a calculus course to do something interesting. So maybe?
    10. Yes.
  6. Jun 29, 2010 #5
    I'll speak to the courses I've taken.

    1. yes
    2. yes, but covered underneath the general series lessons, ie, no specific "unit" on this series
    3. Physics(no)
    4. Physics and statics(no)
    5. Physics and statics(no)
    6. statics(no)
    7. no. Doesn't seem to be the type of thing that would be taught.
    8. yes
    9. yes
    10. yes

    Are those the topics covered under the course you took? If so, I'd be slightly concerned that you might not have enough exposure to different methods of integration (partial fractions, trig sub, parts, substitution, etc.).

    Also, your list doesn't make any mention of vector functions, dot products or cross products. I thought those things were pretty cool when I learned about them (I'm still a noob, and I don't mean to come off like a pro), so hopefully you'll get to learn about them too!
  7. Jun 29, 2010 #6
    I think you should, but not for a GPA -- take it again if calculus is part of your major (like engineering, physics, or mathematics). AP programs are notorious for their lack of rigor, and for their tendency to 'teach to the test'. You'll almost certainly learn new things in a real calculus II class.
  8. Jun 29, 2010 #7
    Just a quick question: Where and when did you learn about vectors?
  9. Jun 29, 2010 #8
    dot product, cross product, and vectors are in Calc III. Wrong course buddy!

    Also, I think GPA is very important for my overall graduation, so I think it isn't wrong. My university allows people to skip first-year calc with AP. So I am getting the feeling that the college doesn't have those topics
  10. Jun 29, 2010 #9
    Well, we used them (them = dot product + cross product + vectors) in my intro statics course. We mainly learned them through rote learning though.

    I "truly" learned about them in my into linear algebra class and Calc II.
  11. Jun 29, 2010 #10
    I took Calc BC in high school but did not take the AP exam. When I went on to junior college, I decided to take it again and found out the curriculum included multivariate calc (yes, it's a transfer school so they had to follow the curriculum of the state school, which took about half of calc 3 and added it to calc 2 to make it a weed out class)

    so it worked out for me!
  12. Jun 29, 2010 #11
    Sure... But again, how much does taking one or two semesters of calculus would affect your GPA by the time you graduate? They might look good in your freshman year, but you would have plenty of courses taken by the time you graduate so that one or two A's from your freshman calculus probably won't matter that much (I'm not saying they don't matter, but somehow I feel like you are making a bigger deal than it should be... I could be wrong.).

    But anyway, as someone pointed out, it is possible that your AP preparation might have been inadequate. If I were you, I would check the syllabus of the calculus courses that you are looking, and see how you feel about those topics. Even better, some instructors post their assignments/practice exams/actual exams on their website, so see if you feel about those problems.

    And of course, if you really want to maximize your GPA as much as possible, and you are allowed to take Calc I & II again, by all means, go for it. After all, this is your education.
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