Trig Vs. Calculus? Which is harder?

  1. Just wondering what you find harder? Trig or Calculus?
  2. jcsd
  3. You need to know Trig to understand Calculus... usually
  4. Trig is a prerequisite for any significant calculus.
  5. jtbell

    Staff: Mentor

    Define "harder."
  6. 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).
  7. 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
  8. Good thing to define hmmmm how to word that haha :)
  9. 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.
  10. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,951
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    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

  11. :bugeye:How did you manage?
  12. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,951
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    the basic rule of real estate: never give up, never give up, never give up.
  13. 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).
  14. 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.

  15. 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?
  16. 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 .
  17. 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.
  18. The rigorous study of calculus can get pretty tough. If you are talking about the "computational" calculus then that is a lot easier though.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thead via email, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?