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What to take first?

  1. Jun 12, 2005 #1
    I'm trying to decide which classes to take for fall quarter. The 4 math classes I want to take next year are:

    Stats, Linear Algebra, Diff EQ's, and Calculus IV. Next quarter Stats, Linear Algebra, and Calc IV are offered. I heard the Stats class is incredibly easy, so I don't know if I should even bother taking it.

    So which is easier, Linear Algebra, or Calc IV? I'll take the Stats class with the easier class. Also, which do you think I should take first?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 13, 2005 #2
    I'm assuming Calc. IV = multivariable calc?

    The way they're taught at my school, the decreasing order of difficulty was

    Calc IV
    Linear A

    The first three are pretty much required for a physics major. I found statistics at my school to be a rather 'obvious' course which I didn't really need. I would take Calc. IV first if I were you, because it's essential to understanding E&M.

    my $0.02 with taxes and inflation
  4. Jun 13, 2005 #3


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    What's Calculus 4? Differential Geometry?
  5. Jun 13, 2005 #4
    and what was covered in calcs I-III? :confused:
  6. Jun 14, 2005 #5
    What I covered in Calc 1 - 3: Limits, derivites, integrals, series, sequences, then we started doing 3D stuff, but not much.

    I've already taken 3 physics classes (Kinematics, E&M [but probably not the version you are thinking of], and heat/waves), so there won't be anymore for me until I transfer to a university.

    Other people on this board told me that Stats would be useful in experimental physics, so that's why I want to take it. But yeah, my friend who already took it says it was insanely easy.

  7. Jun 14, 2005 #6
    What level of differential equations?
  8. Jun 14, 2005 #7


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    You should definitely take linear algebra before differential equations- much of the course is devoted to linear equations and the theory behind that is linear algebra. Frankly, I would also recommend calculus IV (multivariable calculus) before differential equations. Would it be possible to take linear algebra and calculus first semester, differential equations and statistics second semester?
  9. Jun 14, 2005 #8
    I go by quarters, so I think DiffEQ's is offered last (spring) quarter anyway.

    I wanted to take Stats the same quarter as the easier of the two other math classes, but I don't think it will matter since it's easy.

    Do you think it would be better to take Lin Algebra or Calc IV first?

  10. Jun 15, 2005 #9
    Well, i'm not an expert in either course, but have taken them both. I took all calculus and diff eq before Linear Algebra. I would say that the way it was taught at my college, knowing Linear Algebra before Diff EQ might be beneficial. But, knowing at least about vectors before Linear Algebra would be a good idea. I suppose it depends on who you ask, but I found Linear Algebra to be a tougher course than MV Calculus was, but not as hard as Diff EQ by any measure. A lot of theory in the LA course compared to others (again, at my school.) I don't think it matters which you take first, LA or Calc IV as long as you are done with all integrals before Diff EQ and done with vectors before LA.

    JMO, i'm sure these guys are much more help than I am and i'm also sure that the focus of these courses varies from school to school.

  11. Jun 21, 2005 #10
    go look at the course description and see if you learn about systems of differential equations.

    in that case, take linear algebra first.

    but if the description is more like, "first order, ordinary differential equations, existence and uniqueness of solutions, second order linear equations, laplace transforms (maybe), and series solutions," then you will not need to know linear algebra beforehand. that was the course description, essentially for my class in ODE's, and we only saw a determinant i think...once.

    i'd recommend taking Calc IV before or concurrently with either of Diff Eq or Lin Alg.
  12. Jun 21, 2005 #11
    I can't find a course description anywhere, which really pisses me off. Sometimes there are classes with really ambigous names, like "studies" or something. And I have no clue what they are. =/

    I'll take Lin Algebra first, I think, since it's 220, and Calc IV is 225. I think maybe they do that for a reason... and if not, then Lin Algebra still fits my schedule better.

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