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Taking linear algebra after only Calculus 1

  1. Apr 26, 2015 #1
    hey all, I've begun my engineering degree and have been enjoying it thoroughly, my first semester naturally wasn't too hot, I've got around a 2.7 so far, but my school states calculus 1 as a prerequisite for linear algebra, I hardly went to class and flipped classes but consistently scored above average with a b-. Of course I'm not going to act this way next semester, but is calculus 1 really sufficient enough to go straight into linear algebra ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 26, 2015 #2


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    IDK if calculus is really a prerequisite for LA or if your school is just trying to scare people.

    Most of the basics of LA need no calculus background. I picked up the basics in regular algebra classes and a numerical analysis class.

    You may ask the instructor of the LA course at your school the specific topics in the course which supposedly require knowledge of calculus and then decide if you want to take LA. Some topics which use LA, like regression analysis, use calculus in their derivation.
  4. Apr 26, 2015 #3
    Linear Algebra is just hard, you don't really need calc for it. Most people take calc before hand just to organize the difficulty scaling or because they need to practice the mathematical way of thinking more before they can handle Linear Algebra.

    Be prepared for a lot of abstract and complicated thinking in Linear Algebra. Get ready to actually take school seriously and study.
  5. Apr 26, 2015 #4


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    Part of the difficulty that Niflheim is talking about is that linear algebra classes typically require you to prove statements, and calculus classes typically don't. Writing a coherent proof is a lot more difficult for many students that applying some procedure to take a derivative, find an antiderivative, and so on.
  6. Apr 26, 2015 #5

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    Have you taken a college course in linear algebra yet? A few days ago you had only studied up to geometry. If not, on what are you basing this opinion?

    Mark44 is right about proofs. The other factor that is important is the analytic geometry that is taught alongside of the calculus. Without that, some of the theorems and ideas in linear algebra will seem to come from nowhere.
  7. Apr 26, 2015 #6
    If its a lower division linear algebra class then its going to have some proofs but a lot of the computation stuff is pretty easy compared to calculus class. A lot of people take it with calculus 3 since you see some of the same material in that class also.
  8. Apr 26, 2015 #7
    It's a lower division linear algebra class, I took calculus 1 and discrete math 1 which are both prerequisites in their own rights. If there is proofs in linear algebra then I should be set, because that was literally the only part of discrete math I enjoyed and thrived at.
  9. Apr 26, 2015 #8
    Does linear algebra require any visuospatial skills like calculus and physics ? Or is it completely abstract ?
  10. Apr 26, 2015 #9

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    I think it helps to understand the concrete principles on the way to understanding the abstractions. A lot depends on how the course is taught, which is one reason I don't like to recommend that people ignore prerequisites.
  11. Apr 26, 2015 #10


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    Then I would say my response is ask the professor that plans to teach the class
  12. Apr 26, 2015 #11
    Nice, well hopefully I have a clear instructor, plenty of these guys have thick and incommunicable accents.
  13. Apr 27, 2015 #12
    Off of what my cousins and everyone that I've talked to in general.
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