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Worried about taking Calc II (life story/rant/cry for help)

  1. Jul 9, 2014 #1
    I'm 25 years old, life's been kind of rough so I'm still in school. In Jan 2015 I take Calc II. It's one of the last classes I need before I can apply for pharmacy school.

    Problem is, never in my life have I been able to score an A in a math class. I couldn't do better than a B in Calc I and I took that class FIVE YEARS AGO. So obviously, I need to re-fresh my memory and I am.

    I've been doing tons and tons of pre-calc and calc 1 question. My plan for the summer is to review to the point where I'm caught up to Calc I. Then in the Fall I plan to make time between two other heavy classes (Gen Chem II and Genetics) to learn Calc II on my own.

    Still, I'm not going to lie, I'm afraid. The stakes are high and I can't afford another B. Even if I prepare and even if I know my stuff, I've heard that it usually takes a genius to get an A in a class like Calc II. I'm no genius.

    To what extent can I really prepare for this class?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 9, 2014 #2
    Well, this is definitely false.

    Reviewing precalc and Calc I is a good idea. But why not actually start learning Calc II already? If you do, then you'll have a much better idea what to review. And you'll actually know some of the material already before starting the class, so you'll be more comfortable.
  4. Jul 9, 2014 #3


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  5. Jul 9, 2014 #4


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    Relearn Calculus 1 and Trigonometry on your own. You will then be ready for Calculus 2. Do not try to rely on being a genius for an A in Calculus 2. What you earn is what you earn. If Mathematics is a great difficulty for you, try studying material MORE THAN ONCE, and preferably before you enroll in the courses, (something like what micromass suggests).
  6. Jul 9, 2014 #5
    You definitely don't need to be a genius to get an A in calc 2. I barely got a C in pre-calc and failed calc 1 THREE times before passing it. I knew my math skills weren't up to par for Calc 2, so I voluntarily retook pre-calc to study up on algebra and trigonometry. I then studied up on calc 1 concepts and worked hard in my class and was very happy to receive an A in calc 2.

    Grades are really just a matter of hard work, I don't see myself as mathematically talented at all, and if I can do it, I think anyone can.
  7. Jul 9, 2014 #6


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    Very nice inspiration to work hard and succeed. What does not seem right is failing Calculus 1 THREE TIMES. How did the institution let you continue in the course sequence or let you enroll in and fail in that same course the third time?
  8. Jul 10, 2014 #7
    Started with engineering calc 1st semester, had never seen trig before (only had done pre-calc part 1, which was only algebra concepts and barely passed with a C) so I had no idea what was going on so I dropped it (was going to fail), enrolled in calc for life sciences, still had trig in it and I didn't put in the work to learn it so I dropped it before failing. then enrolled in business calc, and failed it because of poor algebra skills. The school didn't really notice because it was technically a different class each time and my GPA was still good, but I did waste a lot of money on those classes.

    Realized college was much more difficult than high school, and that even basic algebra was a struggle, so I retook both precalc 1 and 2 with the goal of actually learning math in a capacity that would allow me to succeed in higher level courses. If you have a good grasp on these topics already, I think just a bit of self-study would get you up to a competent level. Got an A in both of these; this gave me some confidence in my ability to do math, so I retook engineering calc 1 and received and A. Then since I was so confident I took an accelerated calc 2 in 6 weeks and got an A.

    As long as you are still strong in algebra and trig, and have a good grasp of the ideas in calc 1, calc 2 is actually an easy natural transition, it's not even close to the jump you had to make from algebra/trig to calc 1. I don't even think calc 1 to calc 2 was as hard as going from algebra to trig.

    I honestly also used to think that the kids who would get A's in hard sounding math classes were math geniuses and that I could never be on their level. However I see now that they were just the ones who put more time into studying, and that mathematical talent really is just about putting in the work to build your foundation of skills through experience, which will make you confident in your own abilities.
  9. Jul 10, 2014 #8
    Youtube: PatrickJMT, and google Paul's online math notes. These will save you.
  10. Jul 10, 2014 #9


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    X2 on pauls notes. he has all of his homework assignments for calc1 and differential equations with all solutions on his site you can print off. And common mistakes, cheat sheets and notes. best math resource out there. I like mit opencourseware but I almost always never learn anything by watching it. just watching someone do it after I learned it is nice.
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