# What's the difference between regular math and college math?

1. Nov 6, 2013

### Tyrion101

At first I just thought there was just algebra and college algebra, but trying to figure out what math I still need, I found all sorts of college maths, and I was curious, what do I expect beyond bigger numbers?

2. Nov 6, 2013

### SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
I guess you thought regular math only involved counting with your fingers and maybe your toes for the really hard problems.

Hello! What do you do all day in school? There's algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, numerical analysis, probability, etc.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_mathematics_topics

3. Nov 6, 2013

### Tyrion101

Um there are math courses in college, then there are "college" level math courses in college, I just wanted to know what makes the. "College" versions different ?

4. Nov 6, 2013

### arildno

In the US, I've heard that right now, coloured numbers is the new vogue.
In particular, the interrelations between green squares and red primes are studied with avidity.

5. Nov 6, 2013

### leroyjenkens

At a school I used to go to, they had elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, and college algebra. I think college algebra is where the college level math courses start, even though it's pretty simple stuff a lot of people learn in high school. Then after that you move on to trig and precalc, which may also be stuff that you learned in high school.
I think the line is pretty blurry between college math and regular math (assuming that means stuff you learn before college).

6. Nov 6, 2013

### UltrafastPED

At community colleges the remedial courses won't say "college" in the title; these will all be low-numbered courses; for example if first year courses are 100 and up, the remedial courses will be 099 and less.

The "non college", low numbered courses are equivalent to high school math. They are all pre-calculus.

College Algebra includes a review of your HS algebra, but includes systems of linear equations, complex numbers, and other things that will be useful as you continue through the math program.

7. Nov 6, 2013

### SteamKing

Staff Emeritus
Just out of curiosity, what's the biggest number they let you play with before you get to college math?

8. Nov 6, 2013

### lisab

Staff Emeritus
Yes indeed, math goes far beyond algebra. In higher level math you learn how to study functions, sets, statistics, vectors, geometry, on and on. And there are soooo many applications to real life problems.

For example, suppose you are studying a system that follows the ideal gas law: nRT = PV. In this system, you know the temperature is accelerating and you know the volume is dropping at a constant rate. So what is happening to the pressure? Upper level math lets you solve this kind of problem.

But my understanding of math is from a very applied point of view. There is a *vast* area of math that may not have direct physical application. I'm sure an understanding mathematician will be able to answer this far better than I can.

9. Nov 7, 2013

### arildno

Multiplicative inverse of parental income, I think.
1 is damn too big to begin with.

10. Nov 7, 2013

### Tyrion101

Gee, I love being made fun of just like the next guy, at least SOME. People tried to answer my question. Thanks to those that did. I guess my main confusion was, I've already done algebra, why do I need it a second time if it's nothing new?

11. Nov 7, 2013

### arildno

Well, what is called LINEAR algebra is something you've never had at school.

12. Nov 7, 2013

### lisab

Staff Emeritus
Assuming you're referring to introductory algebra, there is no difference between high school algebra and college algebra, with respect to content. The college version is usually much faster paced, though.

Were you advised to take college algebra as a result of a placement test? If so, I advise you to take it. If you attempt calculus with weak algebra skills, it will be a struggle.

13. Nov 7, 2013

### Staff: Mentor

@Tyrion101:
And once you understand linear algebra (vector spaces, matrix operations, eigenvalues, ... just see if you know about those concepts) and calculus, you get to the non-linear part and other stuff. Differential geometry with manifolds and so on.
This is regular math. High-school math is just a tiny part of mathematics.

Last edited: Nov 7, 2013
14. Nov 7, 2013

### Staff: Mentor

Sure. "You" refers to Tyrion101. I edited my post to make it clearer.