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Struggling with teacher and class: Should I CLEP or retake?

  1. Oct 2, 2012 #1

    I think this is my first post here, but I've lurked for quite a while as a silent user and even before then as a non-user.

    I'm currently enrolled and majoring in pre-engineering at a community college in Mississippi. So far, I've taken Algebra, Trig, and calculus 1, and I'm currently taking calculus 2, and having a hard time so far.

    I took Calculus 1 from a teacher (TeacherA) in the summer and got a B. I liked M's teaching style quite a bit, but I still felt that the application/theory in the class was weak. It was mostly composed of: "NAME OF PROCESS, HOW TO DO IT." All these procedures and NO theory or proofs! It feels like everything I find neat about calculus and that I enjoy learning about HERE (PhysicsForums and online by MIT OCW Scholar) is completely different (i.e. not neat, not fun, not cohesive). I feel like it is nearly impossible to learn all these little things without understanding the theory. Maybe it's the combination of a poor calculus curriculum and the fact that I learn best by studying by myself with a good textbook (the textbook I have isn't very good, but I intend to purchase/library request one or two that I found highly recommended here! Can't wait to get them.

    That's the backstory, I suppose. Here's the problem. I recently took my first calculus 2 test in calculus 2 by another teacher (TeacherB) on the properties of logarithms and how to use them to simplify differentiation and integration. I made the mistake of relying on my teacher's lectures and not enough on my textbook or my online resources (MIT OCW or Khan Academy). I got a 33% on the test.

    I want to excuse the failure, but outside of over-reliance on my prof's lectures, I didn't make the time to prepare... I was busy, but I could have made time if I had really wanted to. Only thing I can say is that I get excited when I study calculus online or in a good book, and I get bored and disinterested when in class with TeacherB (and a bit with TeacherA).

    This is getting too long.

    Basically, I can't stand being bored by professors. I want to learn calculus because it'll allow me to build cool stuff as an engineer later on. I also want to learn it because it'll allow me to understand higher physics studies. My first thought was that I would just attend class, learn as much as I can from the lectures, and study real calculus in my off-time. The trouble is that I have four other classes to study for, and unfortunately for me I don't have enough time to get A's in all my classes and then spend hours a week studying calculus on my own.

    I don't understand my calculus professor. I don't understand why he teaches the way he does when what I can learn from MIT OCW Scholar online program without any personal instruction is about 3 times what more than I can learn in a week in class. Not only do I learn how to apply the information, it's actually consistent with what I read in the textbook! I am 100% sure I will not be able to finish the class with anything higher than a B (if that).

    It's not too late to withdraw the class without a grade. If I do, I have two options:

    1. take calculus 2 again but with instructor A instead of instructor B
    2. Study on MIT OCW and with my personal textbooks and take the CLEP for Calculus and bypass the poor teaching.

    I think I mentioned it, but my desire is to get my first two years of study finished in pre-engineering (aerospace/aeronautical/astronautical/mechanical :D) but I'm also interested in pursuing higher physics after I get my masters degree. I don't want to learn calculus for the next test, dangit.

    Please give me your thoughts. I'm not in a hurry to graduate this Spring. I intend to retake a class or two in Fall 2013 to replace some B's with A's.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 3, 2012 #2
    Any thoughts are appreciated.
  4. Oct 3, 2012 #3
    I thought you were only able to CLEP calculus I....
  5. Oct 3, 2012 #4
    Hi TheKracken.

    I'm almost completely sure you can CLEP all 12 credit hours of Calculus, but I'll go find out now to be 100% sure.

    Update: So far I can't find any information about whether the CLEP applies to calculus 1 or all of them. If anyone has done it or knows about it, I'd appreciate input.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  6. Oct 3, 2012 #5
    Here you go mate :)
    Looks like you only get the first calc class credit. It will be up to the university though, so contact your school and ask. After looking over what the test covers it looks like it only covers Integral and Dervivative calculus (which is Calculus 1 If i am not mistaken???)

    Credit Recommendations
    The American Council on Education has recommended that
    colleges grant 3 credits for a score of 50, which is equivalent to
    a course grade of C, on the CLEP Calculus exam. Each college,
    however, is responsible for setting its own policy. For candidates
    with satisfactory scores on the Calculus examination, colleges
    may grant credit toward fulfillment of a distribution requirement,
    or for a particular course that matches the exam in content. Check
    with your school to find out the score it requires for granting
    credit, the number of credit hours granted, and the course that
    can be bypassed with a passing score.
  7. Oct 4, 2012 #6
    Dang it. CLEP isn't an option anymore, I guess. Well, not I can either retake it and get an A in the next semester or try to make up for my bad test and finish with a B. Hmmm... I have until November 2 (or around there) to withdraw without a grade so if it keeps going badly, I could do it. I think I will try to stick it out and make it up... it won't hurt my GPA much as long as I get A's in everything else I'm taking.

    Better start studying then...

    Thanks, TheKracken. :)
  8. Oct 4, 2012 #7
    a B isin't terrible, if you think you can pull a B off, go for it, if not try to retake next semester. Also, there are online courses you could take (just look up online calculus classes for credit) that may work for you.
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