What type of mathematics did you find the most difficult?

In summary: I had to take a class to learn it.The most difficult math class I ever took was Calculus III. It was very difficult, and I was not the only one. I heard that Calculus II can be more difficult than Calculus III. I don't know if this is true, but I believe it because I have heard people say that.
  • #1
sevensages
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Mathematics tends to be more progressive than any other field. But I've heard some people say that some math classes that they took were more difficult than the most advanced math classes that they took. For instance, I've heard people say that Calculus II is more difficult than Calculus III.

If you have taken Calculus I, CALCULUS II, CALCULUS III, Differential Equations, and Linear Algebra, which of those math classes was the most difficult and why?
 
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  • #2
For me it was algebra (the group theory sort, not the jr. high school kind). My biggest problem was I didn't care about it much and we had a poor lecturer. But it was also really hard at my school; taught for math majors, not engineers. To this day, 46 years later, I recall the midterm score with 110 points possible the highest score was 29, I was in the teens. That was when I learn I liked analysis, not math.
 
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  • #3
sevensages said:
...heard people say that Calculus II is more difficult than Calculus III.

If you have taken Calculus I, CALCULUS II, CALCULUS III, Differential Equations, and Linear Algebra, which of those math classes was the most difficult and why?
I tend to agree that Calculus II was the most difficult of the courses you cite. Why devolves to two main thoughts:
  1. Preparation. The prerequisites for studying university level Calculus in my time included intense Algebra and Trigonometry preparation plus what was then called Analytical Geometry. The latter course gave students the ability to visualize and draw shapes based on algebraic equations and vice-versa, making Calculus I lectures reachable and homework solvable
  2. Acquired skill sets. By the time a student studies Calculus III and Differential Equations, they have developed useful problem solving skills and mathematical tools to recognize and simplify complicated problems. I was lucky studying Linear Algebra and Discrete Mathematics by having highly technical military experience which utilized applied mathematics such as Min-Max theory and transcendental functions.
 
  • #4
There is plenty of mathematics I can't do at all. I once picked up a book on the Riemann hypothesis and couldn't even understand the first page.

The only thing I was really good at was linear algebra.
 
  • #5
For me, I can get Intro level Abstract Algebra and Topology, but anything on a more advanced level of them I seem to have some kind of mental block. (Now, I've taught myself both of them. If I took an actual course, that might be different.)

-Dan
 
  • #6
Complex analysis, in particular, contour integrals. I wore out the text trying to do the homework. Never really got comfortable with it.
 
  • #7
sevensages said:
If you have taken Calculus I, CALCULUS II, CALCULUS III, Differential Equations, and Linear Algebra, which of those math classes was the most difficult and why?
Many programs require a combination course putting together differential equations and linear algebra as all one single semester course. I went through such a course with good academic record, but I just knew I was lucky because of how the instructor handled grading and testing. Years later when I tried to study linear algebra on my own from a couple of old used books,...., impossible.
 

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