# Trig Vs. Calculus? Which is harder?

1. Jun 25, 2011

### Jurrasic

Just wondering what you find harder? Trig or Calculus?

2. Jun 25, 2011

### BloodyFrozen

You need to know Trig to understand Calculus... usually

3. Jun 25, 2011

### cjl

Trig is a prerequisite for any significant calculus.

4. Jun 25, 2011

### Staff: Mentor

Define "harder."

5. Jun 25, 2011

### thegreenlaser

Define "Trig". Define "Calculus". There's a significant amount of calculus that involves trig, so I think you'd have a hard time completely separating them, much less comparing difficulty (which, as jtbell said, is something else that needs defining here).

6. Jun 25, 2011

### Angry Citizen

I never took a class in trig, but I can tell you that it'd probably be 'harder' than calculus. I say this because in calculus, you've improved your mathematical maturity to a much greater level. Perhaps I'm just unique, but by the time I was halfway through calc III, I felt like I understood math pretty well from an applied standpoint, and even knew a little theory. Trig though ... that's just memorizing formulas. I didn't understand what was going on with the identities until I'd practiced my algebra skills in calculus. YMMV

7. Jun 25, 2011

### Jurrasic

Good thing to define hmmmm how to word that haha :)

8. Jun 25, 2011

### PCSL

And also why don't you tell us why you have this question? It would help to have some context.

edit: I totally agree with what Angry Citizen said.

9. Jun 25, 2011

### mathwonk

calculus involves the concepts of derivatives and integrals of functions. trig functions are one class of functions. so trig is more the study of one class of examples and calculus is an idea.

in practice one applies the idea behind calculus to examples like those found in trig.

thus if you study calculus purely abstractly, it might seem easier than trig, but if you study the examples of calculus, then trig will be a necessary prerequisite to doing calculus in many cases of practical interest.

I myself learned advanced calculus of banach spaces a la loomis and sternberg before learning trig. a kind of goofy progression. i could prove the graph of a function of bounded variation had measure zero before i learned to integrate tan(x).

i do not recommend this order of topics. in general, walk first, then run.

but one could learn first the calculus of polynomial functions, before knowing trig.

Last edited: Jun 25, 2011
10. Jun 25, 2011

### BloodyFrozen

How did you manage?

11. Jun 25, 2011

### mathwonk

the basic rule of real estate: never give up, never give up, never give up.

12. Jun 26, 2011

### BloodyFrozen

Very nice:)

Anyways I don't like Trig because many teachers require memorization (atleast at my high schools and no proofs, not that it's terribly hard to prove though).

13. Jun 26, 2011

### jeebs

i don't think there really is a difference in terms of difficulty. It's the same as anything in maths really, you just have to practice it until it becomes automatic and you don't even stop to think about difficulty.

14. Jul 15, 2011

### Jurrasic

The question is due to - for some people trig seems to be much harder than calculus? How daunting. Since most, if not all schools teach trig before calculus?

15. Jul 15, 2011

### Jurrasic

yeah
Its silly to have students memorize things because the good teachers derive everything so the students in the class can understand why each formula has the look that it has. Then your not memorizing but understanding .

16. Jul 16, 2011

### gdbb

I had a MUCH harder time grasping concepts in my trig class than I did in my calculus class. Calculus was, by far, the easiest math class for me in high school.

17. Jul 16, 2011

### chiro

The rigorous study of calculus can get pretty tough. If you are talking about the "computational" calculus then that is a lot easier though.

18. Jul 16, 2011

### thegreenlaser

On the other hand, computational trig as it's generally taught in high school is a lot easier than calculus. You usually need to be able to do that sort of trig to be able to do computational calculus.

19. Jul 16, 2011

### Cuauhtemoc

Hmm Calculus is harder, computational or rigorous, except if you only integrate x dx and derivate e^x
Atleast in my calculus course you had to know trigonometry pretty well or you would certainly fail.