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What is a good grade in calculus 1-3?

  1. Jul 28, 2011 #1
    What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    I realize that good is relative. Hopefully I will pursue a PhD in math one day. Is there a certain grade that will tell me whether I am capable of doing this, or at least on the right track? I also realize that not all grades are created equal, some professors and universities are easier or harder than others. But in general, what is a grade that I should aim for?

    The calculus series I will be taking starts with basic differentiation and goes all the way up to multiple integration and vector analysis.

    I know that this is a somewhat strange question, but it's always good to have some sort of goal to work towards.
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2011
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  3. Jul 28, 2011 #2
    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    I think it's a given that if you are going to apply for admission to a PhD program in any subject, you should have A's in most or all of your major classes. But if you're going to get lower grades, your freshman year is probably the best time to get them.
     
  4. Jul 28, 2011 #3
    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    The reason that I ask is that I see a lot of people with 3.0 or 3.1's in their respective major that get into grad school. I certainly don't want to go to a low ranked grad school, but I don't necessarily need to get into the best either.

    Either way, I don't plan on getting low grades. Just useful information.
     
  5. Jul 28, 2011 #4
    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    I find that very surprising. I don't keep up with admission stats any more, but when I did, it would be rare for a good school to accept someone with a B average in his major, except in unusual situations --- outstanding research, or his dad was a former Congressman, UN Ambassador, and CIA Director; stuff like that.

    In any case, you wanted a goal, not a minimum, and IMO your goal should be A's in all your major courses.
     
  6. Jul 28, 2011 #5

    bcrowell

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    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    My impression would be the same as brocks's. For example, if you don't get an A on your first calc exam, then bringing yourself up to an A needs to become your #1 priority in life; otherwise you'd need to reevaluate your goal of getting a PhD in math.
     
  7. Jul 28, 2011 #6
    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    I'll definitely be shooting for A's. I've always been good at math, so hopefully that translates over to college math. We'll see.
     
  8. Jul 29, 2011 #7
    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    In most cases Calculus 1-3 isnt all that difficult and you should go for an A. The later abstract heavy proof classes are the ones where a B might be considered really good.

    Of course if your prof tries to make that intro calc stuff into some abstract heavy proof class then maybe not. I easily got As from precal to differential equations (and hopefully higher but I'm an EE not math). I really enjoyed calculus and found it easy to be interested in it.


    Secondly if you are striving for a PhD in math then an A in calculus should be your priority. Calculus is very important and useful and is your first real exposure to whats to come. Grades aren't important, try and soak up as much as you can. If you truly want to be a mathematician then I'd suspect it'd be easy and fun for you to do just that.
     
  9. Jul 29, 2011 #8
    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    Paul Halmos was a wonderful mathematician. He got a B in calc. I. Obviously, getting A's in Calculus is good, but (and I am just an undergrad, too, so I am not too knowledgeable) what goes on in Calc and what goes on in real (that is, proof-based) math classes is quite disconnected. So, it would seem to me (again, I might be 100% wrong) that graduate departments would rather see you do really well in the upper level classes and ok in the calc classes than the other way around.


    I know plenty of people (*ahem* engineers *ahem*) who do well in calc/ode but are completely lost in proof-based classes.
     
  10. Jul 29, 2011 #9
    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    Well of course. In the long run a B in calculus or whatever wont make a lick of difference, but I think its an important first class for a striving mathematician.

    For the engineer comment I kinda resent that lol but its very true. I always say I like math alot but I havent had any real proof classes. Its the reason I've registered for a intro proof class next semester (the one all the math kids have to take before they go on to Algebras and real analysis). We'll see how I fare.
     
  11. Jul 29, 2011 #10

    fss

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    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    I don't think any prospective Mathematics PhD should even have to ask "what grade they should be aiming for" in an introductory calculus class. If you're not aiming for 100% +/- a few percentage points, you probably don't know what you're getting into anyways.
     
  12. Jul 29, 2011 #11

    gb7nash

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    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    The problem is, you're asking the wrong questions. It's very possible to get an A in calculus and not get a single thing out of it. If you want to eventually go to grad school, make sure you understand the concepts and theory behind the work. If you start doing this early, you'll be on the right path.
     
  13. Jul 29, 2011 #12
    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    Haha! And I have more engineer jokes! In all honesty, I have no problem with engineers (some of my closest friends are engineers :) ) and one of the best students in my analysis class was an AE major. I just like to make fun of engineers because I go to a major engineering school and they way outnumber us :)
     
  14. Jul 29, 2011 #13
    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    110% is a GOOD grade. an even better one is X>110%.
     
  15. Jul 29, 2011 #14

    Dembadon

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    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    Well said, and I fully agree.
     
  16. Jul 29, 2011 #15

    bcrowell

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    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    Great point, but of course this is a much higher standard than simply gaining the proficiency in calculation that is required in order to get an A.
     
  17. Jul 29, 2011 #16
    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    I got B's in calc I and III and learned an insane amount from those classes (I'm kinda peeved at the B in calc III, because I literally got an 89 in the class). I got an A in calc II and I learned none of the integration techniques, none of the integration applications, very little about series, and most of the stuff on polar coordinates was covered in better depth in calc III. The grade doesn't matter. It's whether you understand the material. I understand the material (well, maybe not calc II, but I know enough calculus that my self-teaching has been very successful so far). I suspect a lot of the plug and chug kids who got A's in my classes.. well, don't.
     
  18. Jul 29, 2011 #17
    Re: What is a "good" grade in calculus 1-3?

    At my university, a 3.66 is 90-93.9% a 4.00 is 94-97.99%, and a 4.33 is >97.99%.

    It's even harder to get a 4.0 this way, I don't know if a lot of university do it likes this. Looks like I'll have to study even more. :P
     
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