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Homework Help: Taking Calc 3 w/out taking calc 2?

  1. Jun 14, 2007 #1
    hopefully this is the right place to ask this. But do you think I would be able to handle calculus 3 (multivariable) without taking (formally) calculus 2? I'm going to be a high school senior next year, and I've taken a class in calc 1. I've self studied the material in calc 2 and it doesn't really seem that hard. The hardest part is probably series, but is that even used a lot in calc 3? I'll also be taking Linear Algebra this summer, so I'll be familiar with matrices, vectors, etc. I don't want to take the Calc 2 for many reasons (mainly scheduling), but if I'm going to totally fail Calc 3 I might as well take Calc 2. I'll also contact the professor later. I also have some experience in algebra and topology but I don't think that really matters lol
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 15, 2007 #2
    As far as knowledge of material goes, you would be fine if you just got down trig-sub and other methods of integration (you don't use series in Calc 3, but they should become a familiarity for later math). Calc 2 is good for gaining techniques and math skills regardless of whether or not you can reproduce integration methods.

    It would be like playing soccer, and saying that even though you know how to do head balls, you don't want to practice and master them.
  4. Jun 16, 2007 #3
    I imagine it would be difficult but possible. Typically self-study isn't a substitute for an actual class. The main problem is mastery--you can read over a text and understand it, but if you don't also practice it probably won't stick with you.
  5. Jun 16, 2007 #4


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    JohnDuck has the right general idea. You should restudy Calculus 2 (again, on your own) starting right now; and continue studying it until maybe four or five days before you begin your Calculus 3. In case you were a bit deficient during your first self paced study of Calc. 2, the second time through will only help you; YES, it is possible to enroll in Calculus 3 without having officially enrolled to study Calculus 2. Did you use some of Calculus 2 skills in any physics or engineering courses? ... Even better!
  6. Jun 16, 2007 #5
    Thanks for the advice. I'm still contemplating though. As long as I won't fail calc 3, I want to take it. However, when I get to college, I'll probably take calc 2.
  7. Jun 16, 2007 #6
    where are you taking linear algebra? community colleges don't offer linear algebra and universities don't accept high school students.
  8. Jun 16, 2007 #7
    Yes they do. In fact I took linear algebra at a cc and I was able to transfer the credit to a top university. It was a pretty rigorous course, too. (even though the grading was a little on the easy side.)
  9. Jun 16, 2007 #8
    i'm taking linear algebra at the community college. btw, I also know of several high school students who take classes at universities, I just don't have one close enough to take any.
  10. Jun 16, 2007 #9
    Good luck! I think it'll be harder than Calc 3 normally is but do-able.
    Calc 2 seems mainly like techniques of integration+applications+series to me.
    Just be sure to look at alot of integrals and solve em to be sure you're where you should be.
  11. Jun 17, 2007 #10
    Calc 3 moves pretty slowly at the beginning as well; at least mine did. The first month or so was just a more rigorous rehashing of pre-calc analytical geometry, trigonometry, and vectors. It was probably week 6 or so before I saw an integral. You should have plenty of time to catch up with your calc 2 while you're waiting for calc 3 to get to the actual calculus.
  12. Jun 17, 2007 #11
    The original poster shouldn't count on this being the case in every multivariable calculus class. If you don't see an integral for six weeks, you are probably in a class at a school with a lot of unprepared students.
  13. Jun 17, 2007 #12
    I don't see why not-- I practically self-studied calculus I and II, did a semester of calculus in high school (which was a combination of trig subs and dynamics) and have taken (well, the final's in about 3 hours) multivariable integral/vector calculus.
    We haven't used any series in this course so I guess you'd probably be good to go in that regard-- depends on your school I guess.
    Then again, I'm talking about university-- it'll probably be even easier for you as a high school senior.
  14. Jun 17, 2007 #13
    No, this was at UTexas, 11th in the nation in my program (EE); not top tier, but not a CC either. But whatever, I know that classes vary from school to school. That's why at the beginning I qualified my statement by saying that this is what I experienced.
  15. Jun 17, 2007 #14
    But was your calc III in the EE department, or was it a school-wide class? It just seems like a long time for reviewing pre-calc. Vectors should take a week or so.

    I'm just curious... Not trying to make an argument. I actually took calc-3 at a CC and we didn't even take 6 weeks to get that far! And at my new school, the quarters are almost over in 6 weeks. :)
  16. Jun 17, 2007 #15
    thanks. just to confirm...the main methods of integration would include: substitution, trig substitution, integration by parts, integration by partial fractions, improper integrals, and maybe polar areas/integrals. Am I missing anything?
  17. Jun 18, 2007 #16
    Don't think so-- but I would think polar integrals are part of Calculus III. (Since the idealized formula 1/2 integral r^2 d theta is a direct consequence of the Jacobian transformation of the area integral)
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