Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What pre-calculus needed for this calculus class?

  1. Dec 13, 2011 #1
    This quarter, I will take the course "Calculus for social sciences." Here's the description:
    "Introduction to differential and integral calculus with applications to modeling in the biological sciences," and "study of differential and integral calculus with differential and integral calculus with applications. Introduction to mathematical modeling with differential equations. Calculus of several variables including an introduction to partial derivatives."

    What pre-calculus do I need to know? I bought a quick review book, here's the table of contents. if someone could point out which things I should know, that would be incredibly helpful:

    Chapter 2: Functions.
    - Relations vs. Functions
    - Functions Graphs and transformations
    - Combining functions
    - inverse functions
    Chapter 3: Polynomial and Rational Functions.
    - Factoring
    - Solving quadratic EQs
    - Polynomial division
    - Important root-thereoms
    - Calculating roots
    - Finding rational asymptotes & the "the leading coeficcient test."
    Chapter 4: Exponential and Logarithmic Functions.
    - Exponential and logarithmic functions
    - Properties of Logs.
    - Solving Ex. and Log. functions
    - Exponential word problems.
    Chapter 5: Trigonometry.
    - Measuring angles
    - Unit circle
    - Right triangle trig.
    - Oblique triangle trig
    - Graphs of sin and cosine
    - Other trig function graphs
    - inverse trig functions
    Chapter 6: Analytic Trigonometry.
    - Trig identities
    - Proving trig identities
    - Solving trig identities
    - sum and difference identities
    - Additional identities
    - Oblique triangle laws
    - Calculating triangle area.
    - Given side-angle-side
    Chapter 7: Vectors and the Trigonometry of Complex Numbers.
    - vectors in the coordinate plane
    - Dot products
    - complex numbers and trig
    - roots and powers of complex numbers
    Chapter 8: Analytic Geometry.
    - conic sections
    - circles, parabolas, ellipses,
    - hyperbolas
    - identifying conic sections
    - parametric equations
    - polar coordinates
    Chapter 10: Additional Topics.
    - Binomial expansion
    - Ordered number lists.

    If someone could help me out that would be awesome, currently Im spending my whole winter breaking reviewing pre-calculus
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2011 #2
    In general, mathematics used in introductory biological sciences typically involve exponential and trigonometric functions for modelling ecological models and population models. A solid foundation of general functions is of course preferred for calculus in general, but specifically a focus for this course would probably be exponential functions and trigonometric functions. I doubt the course will introduce vectors or anything involving analytic geometry.

    It's useful to review some curve sketching as well, especially long term asymptotic behavior. Many models in ecology are interested only in the long term stability of the function. In general, I think the course is just going to be a quick albeit rough introduction to calculus. Since it covers differentiation, integration (and even partial differentiation) in a single course, I expect it to skim over many details.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: What pre-calculus needed for this calculus class?
  1. Pre-Calculus Help. (Replies: 8)

  2. Pre-Calculus Help (Replies: 4)