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I Which topics from precalc are essential for calc 3?

  1. Jan 13, 2017 #1
    i took calc 2, and am going to take calc 3. My precalc teacher skipped on a lot of topics since the class was falling behind and he assumed most weren't going to take calc 3 anyways.

    So which topics from precalc are essential for calc3?

    NOTE: i am on the semester system, which means there are three semesters of calc (not quarter system, which has 4 quarters of calc), so i am asking about the final third of calculus.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 13, 2017 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    You could do a comparison yourself by looking at the video collection of mathispower4u.com

    Vs Algebra 2

    And trigonometry

    Off the bat, I would say the trigonometry part would play a big part in Calculus 3 where you might have to use cylindrical or spherical coordinate systems or in the vector calculus part. However, you should go through the video lists and refresh yourself on topics you've covered and on others that look like they might be needed in Calc 3.
  4. Jan 13, 2017 #3


    Staff: Mentor

    IMO, this is kind of an odd question, something like asking "Which letters of the alphabet are important in writing a novel?" Although it would be possible to write a novel without some letters, such as, say, j or x, you would have to put in a lot of extra work to find synonyms for words that use these letters.

    Going from memory from when I taught precalc classes, the main topics included linear functions, quadratic functions, polynomial functions, rational functions, radical functions, trig functions, exponential functions, log functions, function inverses, plus a few more topics that don't immediately come to mind.

    Presumably in your calc 3 course you're learning about sequences and series, as well as functions of two or more variables, iterated integrals, partial derivatives, and other topics. I can't think of any of the precalc topics that aren't uses somewhere in this course. If you still have your precalc textbook, I would advise spending some time reviewing those topics. If you don't have your precalc textbook, I'm sure you could get one from Amazon or other book seller. Alternatively, Khan Academy has videos on specific topics, and there are the ones that jedishrfu listed.
  5. Jan 13, 2017 #4
    How about all of precalculus is essential for calculus 3? That general answer should match the quality of your question.
  6. Jan 13, 2017 #5
    If you list your exact syllabus or module description for calc 3 it would help more
  7. Jan 13, 2017 #6
    You need everything from pre-cal. Depending on the rigor of your course, you could probably do without sequences and series. Cal 3 is not like Cal 1 and Cal 2 in the respect that cal 1 was only differential calculus and cal 2 was only integral calculus (possibly series). Cal 3 is all of the above in a 3+ dimensional setting. You will use everything from your previous calculus courses as well as your pre-cal.
  8. Jan 13, 2017 #7


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    Gold Member

    Some pre-calculus courses include basic Linear Algebra and that will be used is vector 3D parts of your Calculus 3 course (Multivariable). Basic trigonometry will also be used.
  9. Jan 14, 2017 #8
    "Three-dimensional analytic geometry, partial differentiation, multiple integrals, vector calculus."
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