View Full Version : How hard is Calculus?

KBlade

01-10-2011, 12:38 AM

I'll be taking the first semester of Calculus next semester and I'm not really sure what to expect. I just ordered the textbook online (author is Stewart, I hear its popular) so I won't be able to preview the material for a few days. But I think its stuff like functions, limits, integrals, etc. My professor has pretty decent reviews so I'm not too worried about her teaching skills.

The problem is I'm not very good at math. I typically get C's when I put in the minimum amount of work (doing just assigned hw), and I get B's when I really work my *** off. For some reason its impossible for me to get A's. If its any indicator of future success/failure, I took PreCalc last semester and got a C. But again, with minimum amount of work because I was swamped with other classes and work. However I'm quitting my job and taking fairly easy classes so I'll devote myself 110% to calculus.

You have to practice a lot if you want to become good at Calculus ! I was always good at maths but my over confidence got the good of me. In the second semester I FAILED in Calculus-II. I repeated the course and got an A :) My tip is to practice as many exercise questions as you can. My favourite calculus book is a book by Howard Anton.The text book was Calculus, 6th Ed, by Swokowski, Olinick, and Pence

You have to work hard and if you are in engineering then calculus is a very important subject !

EDIT: I also focused a lot on the theoratical explanations which each chapter has in the begining :)

athiker

01-10-2011, 04:45 AM

Its different for different people. My only advice is its one of those subjects most have to keep on top of as the semester goes along. It doesn't lend itself very well to cramming.

You have to practice a lot if you want to become good at Calculus ! I was always good at maths but my over confidence got the good of me. In the second semester I FAILED in Calculus-II. I repeated the course and got an A :) My tip is to practice as many exercise questions as you can. My favourite calculus book is a book by Howard Anton.The text book was Calculus, 6th Ed, by Swokowski, Olinick, and Pence

You have to work hard and if you are in engineering then calculus is a very important subject !

EDIT: I also focused a lot on the theoratical explanations which each chapter has in the begining :)

Its different for different people. My only advice is its one of those subjects most have to keep on top of as the semester goes along. It doesn't lend itself very well to cramming.

Perfectly stated :)

I loved calculus as it was the compilation of all the tedious math classes below it. It's the type of course that will really expand your brain and change how you see the world.

To the OP, make sure you take the calculus lab and thoroughly understand the concepts (proofs). If you don't, have a TA keep explaining them until you do.

Also, it helps to have the same graphing calculator as most others and/or the instructor.

jhick

01-10-2011, 07:25 AM

I'm probably not a good example, since most Calculus (with exception of the very advanced Calculus) came relatively easy to me. It helped that I had a strong high school math program and that I had 2 years under my belt before starting college. So college calc was mostly review for me.

Now advanced physics on the hand....

sureshs

01-10-2011, 07:39 AM

So nowadays teachers get reviews? Sort of like a business? What is the world coming to?

Claudius

01-10-2011, 09:04 AM

The most helpful piece of advice I can give you is to read the textbook. I know students don't often do this in math classes, since instructors seem to cover everything there is to know, but trust me. It'll make your life a whole lot easier.

And remember, when in doubt, the answer is either 0 or infinity. :)

r2473

01-10-2011, 09:12 AM

And remember, when in doubt, the answer is either 0 or infinity. :)

That's funny.

jhick

01-10-2011, 09:30 AM

And remember, when in doubt, the answer is either 0 or infinity. :)

I always would say the answer is 0,1, pi, or infinity

XFactorer

01-10-2011, 09:57 AM

Calc might be the first class where you have "concepts" to grasp instead of just memorizing formulae and plugging in numbers.

Calc sucks, man. Take it from a math major. I'm a stats person myself.

Steady Eddy

01-10-2011, 12:44 PM

First semester calculus spends alot of time on concepts that mostly confuse people, IMO. Things like: limits, and when a function is differentiable, and delta/epsilon proofs.

Don't despair too much about these. What's really essential is that you learn to differentiate. Know the power rule, that's about half of what you do.

After you go on to integrate, remember, you can check your answer by differentiating. The first fundamental theorem of calculus and the second fundamental theorem of calculus won't really help you solve the problems that they give you on tests. Don't stress too much about them.

If you can remember the power rule, and the chain rule, you can get a B or a C. Very few beginners can understand why calculus works. Focus on how to get answers.

P.S. You won't be asked about delta/epsilon proofs again until you take advanced calculus.

Off The Wall

01-10-2011, 12:59 PM

Hardness? Somewhere between golf balls and diamonds.

So nowadays teachers get reviews? Sort of like a business? What is the world coming to?

Yeah, check out ratemyprofessor.com

Hardness? Somewhere between golf balls and diamonds.

That's what she said.

krizzle

01-10-2011, 06:29 PM

I'm a sophomore (HS) taking calc. My teacher is pretty easy:tests are 50%, participation 30%, homework 20%. I think the average test score is over 90. My overall semester score is below average :shock: at 87%

I don't know what i'd really recommend, other than doing the homework.

I got a C in precalc. I had a tough time with some of the math, but my sister also got diagnosed with Leukemia before the start of school.

Make sure you understand basic operations in math—don't make stupid mistakes. Those kill me. If you don't understand something, ask everyone! Chances are someone understands.

samej07

01-10-2011, 09:14 PM

You have to practice a lot if you want to become good at Calculus ! I was always good at maths but my over confidence got the good of me. In the second semester I FAILED in Calculus-II. I repeated the course and got an A :) My tip is to practice as many exercise questions as you can. My favourite calculus book is a book by Howard Anton.The text book was Calculus, 6th Ed, by Swokowski, Olinick, and Pence

You have to work hard and if you are in engineering then calculus is a very important subject !

I'll agree with this one too. You've got to work at it and put in the effort to learn. I did the same thing as Subz and kinda thought I could cruise through calc b/c I never had any problems in HS. I managed a C in Calc I, but I didnt really LEARN the material. That came back to bite me in the @$$ in Calc II. Got a D in there so I had to retake it. Remember, Calc II is the hardest of the 3 classes for most people, so you should really try to get a little bit of a grasp on whats going on in Calc I so you stand a chance in Calc II.

So, just make sure not to slack off and you should be fine. If you dont understand something, theres no shame in talking to your prof or a TA until you do get it. Good luck!

Edit: Also, it helps alot if you can buy a good graphing calculator. I recommend a TI-89, since it can do dang near anything you will come up against in Calc I-III. Unfortunately for me, the math department at my school wont allow us to use graphing calculators, not that Im bitter or anything.... :razz:

SystemicAnomaly

01-10-2011, 10:07 PM

I always would say the answer is 0,1, pi, or infinity

How about -1 or some expression involving e?

Actually, isn't the answer to the odd numbered problems always in the back of the book? Or is it the even numbered problems? And, if you get your hands of the teacher's answer guide, as some frats do, you'll have the answers to all the problems.

SystemicAnomaly

01-10-2011, 10:09 PM

Hardness? Somewhere between golf balls and diamonds.

Best answer.

onehandbh

01-10-2011, 10:12 PM

Calculus seems sort like one of those computer generated prints where you

start off really close and then slowly move back until you see an image.

It seems difficult at first, but once you get it, it really all makes sense.

My Calculus teacher in HS was awesome, but people either loved his class or

hated it. We didn't use a book for the first few months. He just gave us some

real life problems to solve and told us to break up into groups of 2 or 3 and to

try and figure it out. What he actually was doing was giving us problems that

required calculus to solve. It was really good b/c it forced us to really derive

and understand calculus on a very thorough and deep level.

Learning these problem-solving skills carried forward when

I did a little bit of tutoring for university students in quantum economics and

calculus. The funny thing is that I didn't take any of the economics classes but

I was able to figure them out because you can just break them down into

math and logic-type problems.

Talker

01-10-2011, 10:19 PM

Just do all the homework.

If your missing any skills in algebra, trig or geometry you'll learn all that too. When your done you should feel pretty good about yourself, it's a nice accomplishment.

If your going into engineering or some science you'll have to become quite proficient and need to really push it hard if you have any difficulties.

You don't want to change your path in college because you didn't put in the time that is necessary.

Don't come back and ask for homework to be done. J/K :)

KBlade

01-11-2011, 10:25 AM

Wow thanks for all the feedback guys, I really appreciate it. I'll do my best to stay on top of all the material and do the homework.

My final question is this: Can you recommend me some good calculus books that will help me understand the subject? Like a supplementary guide I guess.

Talker

01-11-2011, 10:30 AM

Wow thanks for all the feedback guys, I really appreciate it. I'll do my best to stay on top of all the material and do the homework.

My final question is this: Can you recommend me some good calculus books that will help me understand the subject? Like a supplementary guide I guess.

There's some good ones that have plenty of examples and practice questions.

Schaum's outlines is one.

Wow thanks for all the feedback guys, I really appreciate it. I'll do my best to stay on top of all the material and do the homework.

My final question is this: Can you recommend me some good calculus books that will help me understand the subject? Like a supplementary guide I guess.

Like I said before, I read Calculus by Howard Anton to transform an F into an A :] I used it as a supplementary book as it was not the text book. A very good friend gave it to me after my F.

sureshs

01-11-2011, 12:49 PM

You need to be strong in algebra, geometry and trigonometry before entering calculus as all those skills will be assumed.

itsEr

01-11-2011, 12:57 PM

You need to be strong in algebra, geometry and trigonometry before entering calculus as all those skills will be assumed.

i'm not really sure about trigonometry, because at my school, you have the choice to take either Pre Calc, or trig, and then the next year you go to Calculus. But then again, i take Calculus next year (i'm currently in PreCalc), so can't really assume. But i agree with all of this^^^the reason you take courses before others is because you use that prior course's learnings to help!

Imagine going #2 and passing a bowling ball.

Harder.

SystemicAnomaly

01-11-2011, 01:06 PM

I don't know how much it will help (perhaps an infinitesimal amount), but some may find this video amusing or at least entertaining:

Calculus - Bohemian Rhapsody (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qy_ywlv1s2E)

Here are some other calculus resources that may be of help:

The Calculus Page (http://www.calculus.org/)

Bikini Calculus (http://www.spike.com/video/bikini-calculus/2658150)

Good insight on the last video -- "Calculus is a trick to let you divide by ZERO". I wish that I had access to this video series when I was learning calc. I may have studied "harder".

SystemicAnomaly

01-11-2011, 01:10 PM

Oh yeah, if you want the DVD for the last one:

http://www.howtodogirls.com/bikini_calculus_dvd_sale.php

.

sureshs

01-11-2011, 02:01 PM

i'm not really sure about trigonometry, because at my school, you have the choice to take either Pre Calc, or trig, and then the next year you go to Calculus. But then again, i take Calculus next year (i'm currently in PreCalc), so can't really assume. But i agree with all of this^^^the reason you take courses before others is because you use that prior course's learnings to help!

I have not heard of any Calculus book or course which doesn't involve trigonometry.

quest01

01-11-2011, 02:41 PM

It can be hard the same can be said for organic chemistry.

jmverdugo

01-11-2011, 03:00 PM

It is hard, specially because most of it is very abstract, what does it mean in the real word to differentiate? or to Integrate? can you put it in plain terms? a limit? I am a Mechanical Engineer, and I am very good in some abstract things, like applied mechanic, I used to be able to tell the resultant direction of a force just by looking the problem and I can picture in my mind a 3D piece just by looking the drawings, but I never EVER was able to understand Calculus, none of them (I, II, II, iV, and linear algebra), good thing is that in the end you will only need the final formulas, not how to get to them. JMO.

sureshs

01-11-2011, 03:21 PM

It is hard, specially because most of it is very abstract, what does it mean in the real word to differentiate? or to Integrate? can you put it in plain terms?

Yes, it is easy to put it in plain terms. Picture derivative as slope of a curve and integral as area under a curve.

dlesser13

01-11-2011, 04:34 PM

Precal = encompasses trig(think unit circle,etc). I am taking classes with your book(it has an integral sign on the front, should be 6th ed.) The book you have is fine, I suggest buying a cramster account and using that. It is a great tool to seeing problems explained(not just odds,evens too) Calculus works on the idea of how good your algebra is. People will tell you there isn't a lot of calculus but how well you can do the algebra associated with some problems.

KBlade

01-11-2011, 05:10 PM

Honestly my Trig is A LOT better than my algebra. I really like working with and manipulating trig functions and all that but my algebra is mediocre.

dlesser13

01-11-2011, 05:33 PM

Honestly my Trig is A LOT better than my algebra. I really like working with and manipulating trig functions and all that but my algebra is mediocre.

That isn't necessarily a bad thing as some parts of calculus focus heavily on certain trig identities and functions. I'm not saying you need to have a good background in algebra(because I faired well in calc but sucked in algebra) but you will soon find that half of solving a calculus problem is working through the algebra.

Kenny022593

01-11-2011, 07:07 PM

I am in AP Calculus in high school right now, and it is by far my favorite math course of all time.

Steady Eddy

01-11-2011, 08:21 PM

My final question is this: Can you recommend me some good calculus books that will help me understand the subject? Like a supplementary guide I guess.

"How to Ace Calculus", for Calc I, and "How to Ace the Rest of Calculus" for Calc II. These books also tell you what kind of problems you can expect on the tests, they tell you what percent of classes ask these different questions.

North

01-12-2011, 05:54 AM

Calculus itself is easy. This is from someone (me) who sucked at algebra and even basic arithmetic in elem. school - I never liked or was good at the detail-oriented manipulation of numbers (like being an accountant) in either. However, I rocked in geometry because it was abstract and involved ideas/concepts. Same thing with trig, to some extent. Calculus is the same - if you get the idea/concepts and are permitted to use a calculator to do the stupid arithmetic/algebra.

I read a book, right before I took Calculus, called "How to Enjoy Calculus" by Eli S. Pine. At the time (I don't want to admit how many years ago) it was just a small orange volume that I was lucky to come across becuse it was only distributed locally in NYC (where I lived). Now you can Google the title and the guy Pine also has DVDs that go up through Diff. Equations, in addition to the book which only went through the beginning of Integral Calculus.

Anyway, it was absolutely the best thing I ever did to help myself out in a course. The book had a quote on the cover from someone who said that he was the only one in his Calc course at Columbia Univ who understood Calculus. Well, I took Calc at Columbia and found the same thing. Once I got the concept, it was simple. Integral Calc was harder because you have to do some algebraic manipulation but conceptually, it made perfect sense.

I've seen the "How to Ace Calculus" books and they are also excellent - probably the only other ones I'd recommend. But when I had to take a Calc refresher course many years after my first Calc course, I went back to my tattered "How to Enjoy Calculus" and aced Calc again. Btw, I don't work for the author or publisher - lol - just had a great experience when I thought I'd sink.

Everything else is pretty straightforward. Sit in the front row. Don't talk to your friends in class. No texting in class - turn the phone off. Read the pertinent pages in the book BEFORE class. Go to every class. Do all the homework right away. Do NOT fall behind EVER. See the Prof (make appointment right away) if there is something you really just don't get.

Wow thanks for all the feedback guys, I really appreciate it. I'll do my best to stay on top of all the material and do the homework.

My final question is this: Can you recommend me some good calculus books that will help me understand the subject? Like a supplementary guide I guess.

One good investment is that 4-page laminated Calculus helper. I forget the company who makes it but you can find them in most book stores.

Barcharts (http://www.amazon.com/Calculus-Methods-Quickstudy-Reference-Guides/dp/1572228415)

You need to be strong in algebra, geometry and trigonometry before entering calculus as all those skills will be assumed.

Especially trig

Mansewerz

01-13-2011, 10:18 AM

I actually have my AP Calc BC final tomorrow, and let me tell you this: Calculus can be a lot of work and can get quite theoretical in some places. That said, it's a lot of fun, and a lot of things make sense when you just think about it. Plus, it allows you to figure out so many things you had to guess and check or annoy yourself over earlier in a much easier manner.

Also, your algebra skills need to be pretty good

sureshs

01-13-2011, 11:15 AM

Here is a good precalculus question to see if you are prepared for calculus.

Without having studied limits or L'Hospital's rule, can you say what the value of (x^2 - 3*x + 2)/(x - 2) will tend (i.e. approach) to as x tends towards 2?

Answer is NOT infinity.

I admit I could never have done this without having studied calculus or limits first.

But if you can, you are really bright.

Mansewerz

01-13-2011, 11:19 AM

Here is a good precalculus question to see if you are prepared for calculus.

Without having studied limits or L'Hospital's rule, can you say what the value of (x^2 - 3*x + 2)/(x - 2) will tend (i.e. approach) to as x tends towards 2?

Answer is NOT infinity.

I admit I could never have done this without having studied calculus or limits first.

But if you can, you are really bright.

Is the answer negative infinity? :p

I'm not sure I could answer that last year, but I can easily now. :) It's a whole lot easier than it looks (especially if i'm not being a cocky SOB right now).

sureshs

01-13-2011, 11:23 AM

Is the answer negative infinity? :p

I'm not sure I could answer that last year, but I can easily now. :) It's a whole lot easier than it looks (especially if i'm not being a cocky SOB right now).

I saw something similar in a SAT math subject test guide (though I made this one up myself), so I am pretty sure it is based on something that actually appeared in the test.

It was worded with the limit sign, rather than how I worded it.

Which brings up this question: does the SAT subject test encompass precalculus or just algebra, trigonometry and geometry? My son will take precalc in his 11th grade, so I am not sure if he should take the test after his 10th grade.

sureshs

01-13-2011, 11:29 AM

I actually have my AP Calc BC final tomorrow, and let me tell you this: Calculus can be a lot of work and can get quite theoretical in some places. That said, it's a lot of fun, and a lot of things make sense when you just think about it. Plus, it allows you to figure out so many things you had to guess and check or annoy yourself over earlier in a much easier manner.

Also, your algebra skills need to be pretty good

Can you prove that the centroid of a triangle is its center of mass? I have never done it myself so I don't know.

Here is a good precalculus question to see if you are prepared for calculus.

Without having studied limits or L'Hospital's rule, can you say what the value of (x^2 - 3*x + 2)/(x - 2) will tend (i.e. approach) to as x tends towards 2?

Answer is NOT infinity.

I admit I could never have done this without having studied calculus or limits first.

But if you can, you are really bright.

the answer is 1 !!! its a VERY simple example of limits :) At university level, calculus is a LOT harder :(

sureshs

01-13-2011, 12:15 PM

the answer is 1 !!! its a VERY simple example of limits :) At university level, calculus is a LOT harder :(

Why don't you do #43 then?

Mansewerz

01-13-2011, 12:18 PM

I saw something similar in a SAT math subject test guide (though I made this one up myself), so I am pretty sure it is based on something that actually appeared in the test.

It was worded with the limit sign, rather than how I worded it.

Which brings up this question: does the SAT subject test encompass precalculus or just algebra, trigonometry and geometry? My son will take precalc in his 11th grade, so I am not sure if he should take the test after his 10th grade.

Take the Math Level II subject test after 11th grade. It has precalculus in there, so I would definitely hold off. Or at least, I felt very prepared after taking precalculus honor my junior year. If he has a good math teacher who can teach precalculus well (assuming he tests his algebra skills and also provides trigonometry), then you're son should do well on the test.

My 11th grade Precalc Honors teacher was great, so I felt confident going into the test.

ATP100

01-13-2011, 12:19 PM

When facing something you consider difficult, set small goals, do the work required to achieve them, than reward yourself. Rinse, repeat.

sureshs

01-13-2011, 12:26 PM

Take the Math Level II subject test after 11th grade. It has precalculus in there, so I would definitely hold off. Or at least, I felt very prepared after taking precalculus honor my junior year. If he has a good math teacher who can teach precalculus well (assuming he tests his algebra skills and also provides trigonometry), then you're son should do well on the test.

My 11th grade Precalc Honors teacher was great, so I felt confident going into the test.

What about Level 1 test?

Mansewerz

01-13-2011, 12:40 PM

What about Level 1 test?

Not sure. How strong is your son in math? I only took the level II test.

Claudius

01-13-2011, 07:31 PM

Here is a good precalculus question to see if you are prepared for calculus.

Without having studied limits or L'Hospital's rule, can you say what the value of (x^2 - 3*x + 2)/(x - 2) will tend (i.e. approach) to as x tends towards 2?

Answer is NOT infinity.

I admit I could never have done this without having studied calculus or limits first.

But if you can, you are really bright.

This is not difficult. Factor the numerator into (x-2)(x-1), cancel out the x-2, plug in 2 and you get 1.

Let me throw out a difficult question:

For what values of p is the series sigma (lnk)^p/k convergent?

∞§¶••ªº–≠‘“æ…≤≥

I just started Calc 2 this semester(finished Calc 1 last semester). It may sound obvious, but practice, practice, practice! Be comfortable with trigonometry as it has been said. Know your unit circle well(or if you use the triangles to remember it, whatever way works). Some of the language and the way it is presented can be confusing at first, but don't let it get you down. I think the first week or two usually scares people because of the limit proofs, but I thought the majority of the course wasn't very complicated. Careless mistakes as always can be a downfall, pay close attention to what you're doing/writing.

The ratemyprofessor site is fantastic, I always check up on teacher reviews before I decide what classes and what days. Some of the teachers are so bad it's amazing they're still teaching(at least where I am at). I think the "hotness" factor is a bit much, though! :)

Yeah you're probably looking at all these posts saying "yeah duh I need to practice". Then the days slip away and you still know that to do well you need to practice but there's a party tonight...

You only really know something until you do it automatically. I suggest you get yourself into a routine of 20 minutes daily practice. You might think "pffft 20 minutes is too little I'm sure I can do an hour each day" but if you say you'll only study if its going to be an hour you might never get started.

Ronaldo

01-14-2011, 07:48 PM

It can be hard the same can be said for organic chemistry.

Found Calculus, Trig, Geometry, and Algebra which I took in HS to be far easier than Organic or BioChemistry.

Mansewerz

01-15-2011, 12:00 PM

This is not difficult. Factor the numerator into (x-2)(x-1), cancel out the x-2, plug in 2 and you get 1.

Let me throw out a difficult question:

For what values of p is the series sigma (lnk)^p/k convergent?

This might take awhile, but if you get it, pat yourself on the back...:)

That is not difficult for someone in Calculus, but it can be difficult for someone in precalculus, you know, someone never exposed to limits.

Claudius

01-15-2011, 12:41 PM

From what I remember, limits are covered extensively in precalculus. Questions like these should be easy to precalc students.

tennisnoob3

01-15-2011, 01:25 PM

What about Level 1 test?

level 1 test is looked down upon/not even accepted by most colleges due to it being the same as sat math. math 2 is almost a requirement.

math 1 curve is brutal with one wrong being a 790. whereas 6 wrong for math 2 is an 800(perfect score). both are out of 50 questions

sureshs

01-16-2011, 01:52 PM

Ok I will focus him on Math 2 after 11th grade then

sureshs

01-16-2011, 01:53 PM

This is not difficult. Factor the numerator into (x-2)(x-1), cancel out the x-2, plug in 2 and you get 1.

Let me throw out a difficult question:

For what values of p is the series sigma (lnk)^p/k convergent?

This might take awhile, but if you get it, pat yourself on the back...:)

Not any more. I know there are tests for convergence like Cauchy's test, ratio test, etc. but the memories have evaporated.

KBlade

02-04-2011, 06:52 PM

Hey guys, thought I'd report after completing the second week of my Calculus 1 class.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but we're using Stewart's textbook. The first chapter was review of algebra as it dealt with functions and how to graph them, find their domains, how to shift them around, and etc. I'm a little tripped up on natural logs but I'm doing lots of practice problems to get better.

As for actual calculus work, we covered a little of limits. Tangent/velocity problems, how find the limit by looking at a graph or creating a table and estimating the value, as well as creating a graph that satisfies several conditions. Then we calculated limits using Limit Laws. Next week we will cover continuity.

Quite honestly I find limits ridiculously easy right now. I'm sure the class will get much harder, but it really isn't that bad right now, especially since I'm spending around 3-4 hours on homework every night.

I do need some help though. I did the majority of the problems in my current textbook (Stewarts), and I also did extra stuff from Anton's and Schaum's books. However I feel like the stuff they have in there is too simple and I'm looking for more of a challenge. Where can I get some moderately difficult calc problems? Even though I'm not in high school I thought maybe getting AP Calc book would be useful.

Claudius

02-04-2011, 07:08 PM

Modern calculus textbooks like Stewart severely waters down the material to better accommodate high school/lazy college students. If you find the material easy, I would recommend a more rigorous calculus text like Spivak. His text is definitely more theoretical, and will prep you well if you plan on taking advanced calculus (i.e. real analysis).

GetBetterer

02-04-2011, 09:41 PM

I took it in high school during my senior year (so I could get into Statistics in college).

It was fairly easy. A lot of in-depth math materials you have to understand and try not to forget old formulas or just be like "oh I only have to remember it for this one test" because then you're screwed.

AllLeague

02-04-2011, 09:58 PM

Let me throw out a difficult question:

For what values of p is the series sigma (lnk)^p/k convergent?

∞§¶••ªº–≠‘“æ…≤≥

I don't have an exact answer because I just read over the problem but would the process include a u substitution of the ln k or k, then use the P-Series test for convergence to determine what value P has to be to make the P/k>1?

The REAL answer to the OP's question is another question:

Are you willing to stick your butt in a chair, shut off the music and distractions, and focus on the math at hand?

A good, old-fashioned iron butt can get you through many difficult subjects.

tennisnoob3

02-05-2011, 09:28 AM

I took it in high school during my senior year (so I could get into Statistics in college).

It was fairly easy. A lot of in-depth math materials you have to understand and try not to forget old formulas or just be like "oh I only have to remember it for this one test" because then you're screwed.

uh, calculus is not a pre-req for statistics. if there is, its usually algebra 1.

statistics requires very little knowledge beforehand

KBlade

02-20-2011, 08:04 PM

So from I understand....calculus is just a study of the rate of change of things. And that obviously plays an important role in science/engineering. So was calculus developed as tool for scientists/engineers then? I mean are there people who work with pure calculus, or is it just something that's integrated with physics...

So from I understand....calculus is just a study of the rate of change of things. And that obviously plays an important role in science/engineering. So was calculus developed as tool for scientists/engineers then? I mean are there people who work with pure calculus, or is it just something that's integrated with physics...

when i was in college i had no problem with calculus but physics was a killer. most of the time it seemed like there's not enough information to solve the problems but in reality, you've got to solve for those information first in order to solve the physics problems :shock:

with calculus, the information is given in the problem statements of most of the problems.

Viper

02-20-2011, 09:11 PM

We're using Stewart's book in our class too. It sucks and waters down to the point of being unhelpful, even explaining relatively easy things. Now I just use YouTube. Best teacher ever.

ogruskie

02-20-2011, 10:09 PM

We're using Stewart's book in our class too. It sucks and waters down to the point of being unhelpful, even explaining relatively easy things. Now I just use YouTube. Best teacher ever.

I bought The Calculus Lifesaver and its been pretty helpful, but for some topics the author seems to talk too much, so I end up reading a wall of text without really understanding the main point. It helped for the most part, but its still not "plain english". I might have to swallow my pride and buy one of those "for dummies" books...

Manus Domini

02-21-2011, 06:12 AM

it's easy. my problem is algebra (I multiplied 9*8 and got 56 :oops:)

dennis10is

02-21-2011, 01:01 PM

My two sisters, while living in poverty in Vietnam took Calculus in the ninth grade. So, if third world countries expect their malnourished students to be able to do calculus in the ninth grade, I think you should be able to do it.

Manus Domini

02-21-2011, 01:06 PM

My two sisters, while living in poverty in Vietnam took Calculus in the ninth grade. So, if third world countries expect their malnourished students to be able to do calculus in the ninth grade, I think you should be able to do it.

Average Ages for Calculus:

America: 25

Austria: 15

Germany: 12

China: 3

Canada: whatever age America wants

UK: see Canada

Russia: Well, everyone has to be on the same page because everyone is equal

North Korea: Dear Leader knows all, we are too stupid to know such a great fact

South Korea: Whatever America wants

Dictatorships set up by America: whatever benefits America the most

lol jk :p

dennis10is

02-21-2011, 01:31 PM

Average Ages for Calculus:

America: 25

Austria: 15

Germany: 12

China: 3

Canada: whatever age America wants

UK: see Canada

Russia: Well, everyone has to be on the same page because everyone is equal

North Korea: Dear Leader knows all, we are too stupid to know such a great fact

South Korea: Whatever America wants

Dictatorships set up by America: whatever benefits America the most

lol jk :p

Sorry, 3 yr olds in China are doing advanced calculus.

sureshs

02-21-2011, 01:39 PM

My two sisters, while living in poverty in Vietnam took Calculus in the ninth grade. So, if third world countries expect their malnourished students to be able to do calculus in the ninth grade, I think you should be able to do it.

No, it is not reasonable at all. I would not recommend Calculus before the 11 th grade. As far as your sisters go, malnutrition is not the issue. I would suppose that fat girls in Vietnam would also be taking it the same time, if they were in the same school system, etc. A certain level of proficiency is needed in algebra and trigonometry before calculus makes sense.

Also, many things can be taught in 9th grade by toning it down appropriately. If only the simplest things in calculus were taught, and the problems kept really simple, it will just look like another chapter in math. That doesn't count. As an example, the SAT subject test in physics includes "relativity" - the only questions are whether the speed of light is constant or not and if it is the maximum speed!

sureshs

02-21-2011, 01:39 PM

Average Ages for Calculus:

America: 25

Austria: 15

Germany: 12

China: 3

Canada: whatever age America wants

UK: see Canada

Russia: Well, everyone has to be on the same page because everyone is equal

North Korea: Dear Leader knows all, we are too stupid to know such a great fact

South Korea: Whatever America wants

Dictatorships set up by America: whatever benefits America the most

lol jk :p

LOL...............

dennis10is

02-21-2011, 02:16 PM

No, it is not reasonable at all. I would not recommend Calculus before the 11 th grade. As far as your sisters go, malnutrition is not the issue. I would suppose that fat girls in Vietnam would also be taking it the same time, if they were in the same school system, etc. A certain level of proficiency is needed in algebra and trigonometry before calculus makes sense.

Also, many things can be taught in 9th grade by toning it down appropriately. If only the simplest things in calculus were taught, and the problems kept really simple, it will just look like another chapter in math. That doesn't count. As an example, the SAT subject test in physics includes "relativity" - the only questions are whether the speed of light is constant or not and if it is the maximum speed!

So, you are saying that you know that the Calculus taught in Vietnam is not real calculus?

fruitytennis1

02-21-2011, 02:30 PM

Got a kid(8th grade) on our tennis team who is in Calc..AP Calc.

Ill be taking that next year as an 11th

Precalc is cake...though we do have a good teacher

GetBetterer

02-21-2011, 03:15 PM

tennisnoob3:

uh, calculus is not a pre-req for statistics. if there is, its usually algebra 1.

statistics requires very little knowledge beforehand

Yeah I know. I meant as in so I could take an easy class in college and get the hard stuff out.

mightyrick

02-21-2011, 04:09 PM

No, it is not reasonable at all. I would not recommend Calculus before the 11 th grade. As far as your sisters go, malnutrition is not the issue. I would suppose that fat girls in Vietnam would also be taking it the same time, if they were in the same school system, etc. A certain level of proficiency is needed in algebra and trigonometry before calculus makes sense.

Also, many things can be taught in 9th grade by toning it down appropriately. If only the simplest things in calculus were taught, and the problems kept really simple, it will just look like another chapter in math. That doesn't count. As an example, the SAT subject test in physics includes "relativity" - the only questions are whether the speed of light is constant or not and if it is the maximum speed!

I personally don't think that Calculus should be taken until college. People in their teens just don't understand what its purpose is. They can do the derivatives, but they don't really understand what they are or why they are important. At some level, I think even Physics falls into this category.

Instead, I actually think that they should focus on statistics, advanced algebra, and more advanced geometry.

Just because a teenager has the capacity to remember/learn something... doesn't necessarily mean that they should. There is a huge difference between memorization and actual comprehension.

r2473

02-21-2011, 04:43 PM

I personally don't think that Calculus should be taken until college. People in their teens just don't understand what its purpose is. They can do the derivatives, but they don't really understand what they are or why they are important. At some level, I think even Physics falls into this category.

Instead, I actually think that they should focus on statistics, advanced algebra, and more advanced geometry.

Just because a teenager has the capacity to remember/learn something... doesn't necessarily mean that they should. There is a huge difference between memorization and actual comprehension.

Going by this theory, what the hell would we teach teenagers?

dennis10is

02-21-2011, 04:55 PM

Going by this theory, what the hell would we teach teenagers?

For American teenagers it would be

1: how many friends can you get on Facebook

2: Get mommy and daddy to give you more spending money

3: how to take credit for things you did not earn, this is to prepare you for that middle management position in your 30's and where to take credit for things the outsourced talents from other countries achieved.

Aside:

4: Powerpoint (college level) Learn to summarized other's achievements are your own to present to upper management.

5: Graduate MBA: Taking credit for success and distancing yourself when projects fail.

r2473

02-21-2011, 05:17 PM

I don't think teens need to take classes in this stuff......they could teach the masters level course.

The Wreck

02-21-2011, 05:59 PM

So from I understand....calculus is just a study of the rate of change of things. And that obviously plays an important role in science/engineering. So was calculus developed as tool for scientists/engineers then? I mean are there people who work with pure calculus, or is it just something that's integrated with physics...

Calculus is the basis for so much more than just science and engineering. I'm an Applied Economics major and almost everything I do involves calculus in some form. Everything you have ever done in math classes has calculus behind it. Every formula you learned was derived from something; that's calc.

I personally don't think that Calculus should be taken until college. People in their teens just don't understand what its purpose is. They can do the derivatives, but they don't really understand what they are or why they are important. At some level, I think even Physics falls into this category.

Instead, I actually think that they should focus on statistics, advanced algebra, and more advanced geometry.

Just because a teenager has the capacity to remember/learn something... doesn't necessarily mean that they should. There is a huge difference between memorization and actual comprehension.

I agree that in high school you probably don't understand what calculus is really meant to be/do. But I think you're dead wrong saying that you should wait til college. Calc is a foundation for nearly every math class you'll have to take in the future, and even if you have to take calc again in college, you'll be so much more prepared for it.

I've taken 3 calculus classes, and if I hadn't taken AP calc in high school, I'd have had a much tougher time.

Manus Domini

02-21-2011, 06:44 PM

Sorry, 3 yr olds in China are doing advanced calculus.

I said calculus, not a specific type lol

If it was multi-variot (sp?) China's age would be 5 and everyone else's would be like 20+, so I decided to make it fair[er]

mightyrick

02-21-2011, 07:32 PM

Going by this theory, what the hell would we teach teenagers?

More algebra. More geometry. More statistics.

There's no rule that says that we have to try to teach the concepts of calculus to a bunch of 15 year olds. It is ridiculous the rate that we are trying to teach kids these concepts. Let's not forget that probably 95% of people who take calculus never really use it for anything except to brag about the early age when they took it.

Algebra, statistics/probability, geometry are things that kids can relate to. These are concepts that help kids to truly think and relate to the world around them. Much more so than solving an 8 page differential equation.

What's next? Teaching fractal mathematics and chaos to kids? Hausdorff dimensions? Brownian mountains? Cantor sets? Sierpinski?

Calculus or super-advanced mathematical concepts mean nothing to a 16 year old kid who is just beginning to grasp his/her place in the world.

Kids should be taught things that their minds are just barely mature enough to understand and relate to.

Ronaldo

02-21-2011, 07:39 PM

Took Calc, Geometry, Trig, and Algebra in HS, Statistics in College and never used it until trying to understand derivative instruments.

Claudius

02-21-2011, 07:40 PM

So from I understand....calculus is just a study of the rate of change of things. And that obviously plays an important role in science/engineering. So was calculus developed as tool for scientists/engineers then? I mean are there people who work with pure calculus, or is it just something that's integrated with physics...

Newton developed calculus to describe his laws of motion in classical mechanics. Leibniz also developed calculus concurrently (precise history is rather controversial), but he's credited with discovering how to find the area under a curve, and introduced the integral ∫. But contrary to popular belief, Newton and Leibniz aren't the most important figures in the development of calculus. Their work lacked analytical rigor. The true fathers of calculus are the 19th century mathematicians Cauchy, Weierstrauss, and Riemann who created a more theoretical branch of calculus called real analysis.

Real analysis isn't that useful for physics.....but is very useful for economics

Steady Eddy

02-21-2011, 07:47 PM

Newton developed calculus to describe his laws of motion in classical mechanics. Leibniz also developed calculus concurrently (precise history is rather controversial), but he's credited with discovering how to find the area under a curve, and introduced the integral ∫. But contrary to popular belief, Newton and Leibniz aren't the most important figures in the development of calculus. Their work lacked analytical rigor. The true fathers of calculus are the 19th century mathematicians Cauchy, Weierstrauss, and Riemann who created a more theoretical branch of calculus called real analysis.

Good summary.

Real analysis isn't that useful for physics.....but is very useful for economicsIs that why your avatar is of Milton Friedman?

r2473

02-21-2011, 07:50 PM

More algebra. More geometry. More statistics.

Let's not forget that probably 95% of people who take calculus never really use it for anything except to brag about the early age when they took it.

Calculus or super-advanced mathematical concepts mean nothing to a 16 year old kid who is just beginning to grasp his/her place in the world.

Kids should be taught things that their minds are just barely mature enough to understand and relate to.

Maybe we should teach them how to get more in touch with their feelings.

God forbid we teach useless things that they will never use in the real world. What skills do 95% of adults use in day to day life? I'm guessing it's not geometry, statistics, or algebra.

mightyrick

02-21-2011, 07:56 PM

Maybe we should teach them how to get more in touch with their feelings.

God forbid we teach useless things that they will never use in the real world. What skills do 95% of adults use in day to day life? I'm guessing it's not geometry, statistics, or algebra.

You don't think that a larger percentage of adults use some application of geometry, statistics, or algebra in their daily lives rather than calculus? I'll take that bet.

I'm not completely against scaling down what we teach kids. In fact, I think it might save some money by stopping the teaching of cirriculum that is effectively useless for these students. I'd trade calculus for arts any day at the high-school level. I'd trade calculus for more history.

My question is, why do you think it is so important to teach kids calculus at this level rather than other things?

Manus Domini

02-22-2011, 05:30 AM

More algebra. More geometry. More statistics.

There's no rule that says that we have to try to teach the concepts of calculus to a bunch of 15 year olds. It is ridiculous the rate that we are trying to teach kids these concepts. Let's not forget that probably 95% of people who take calculus never really use it for anything except to brag about the early age when they took it.

Algebra, statistics/probability, geometry are things that kids can relate to. These are concepts that help kids to truly think and relate to the world around them. Much more so than solving an 8 page differential equation.

What's next? Teaching fractal mathematics and chaos to kids? Hausdorff dimensions? Brownian mountains? Cantor sets? Sierpinski?

Calculus or super-advanced mathematical concepts mean nothing to a 16 year old kid who is just beginning to grasp his/her place in the world.

Kids should be taught things that their minds are just barely mature enough to understand and relate to.

As a teenager...

I have had 4 years of Algebra. Biggest waste of time, it was so dragged out I forget a lot of it. Algebra I and Algebra II can easily be combined.

Geometry and Trig should go together

We should go back to the old way of learning information, when America was smart.

sureshs

02-22-2011, 07:11 AM

So, you are saying that you know that the Calculus taught in Vietnam is not real calculus?

I suspect it is a diluted version just saying derivative = slope and integral = area and a few formulae for fnding derivatives and integrals.

sureshs

02-22-2011, 07:13 AM

I personally don't think that Calculus should be taken until college. People in their teens just don't understand what its purpose is. They can do the derivatives, but they don't really understand what they are or why they are important. At some level, I think even Physics falls into this category.

Instead, I actually think that they should focus on statistics, advanced algebra, and more advanced geometry.

Just because a teenager has the capacity to remember/learn something... doesn't necessarily mean that they should. There is a huge difference between memorization and actual comprehension.

Problem is that postpones when calculus can be used in physics in college. That becomes inconvenient.

sureshs

02-22-2011, 07:16 AM

We should go back to the old way of learning information, when America was smart.

And then you were born

r2473

02-22-2011, 08:15 AM

My question is, why do you think it is so important to teach kids calculus at this level rather than other things?

What do you imagine is getting crowded out? What sort of extra algebra or geometry, etc are you envisioning here?

And why do you think these other classes are going to be more beneficial for college bound students? I'm going to guess that nearly 100% of high school students that take calc go to college / university.

mightyrick

02-22-2011, 08:19 AM

Problem is that postpones when calculus can be used in physics in college. That becomes inconvenient.

Like I was saying, I'm not sure of the physics necessity in high-school, either. We have longer life-expectancies than ever. Yet we feel the need to produce physicists at the age of 21 or 22? It doesn't make sense to me.

And really, what good is a physics undergrad degree? Or a math undergrad degree? Answer: They aren't. They are only practical for someone who wants to pursue a graduate degree or perhaps a doctorate.

General-level physics is sufficient for most common engineering degrees that I know of.

So if you teach advanced algebra, statistics, trig/geometry in high school. That leaves four years of calculus and physics if necessary. That is more than enough time.

The real problem is the our current undergraduate cirriculum is stuffed full of unrelated bloat for the first two years. That is the real problem that needs to be fixed.

sureshs

02-22-2011, 08:40 AM

What do you imagine is getting crowded out? What sort of extra algebra or geometry, etc are you envisioning here?

And why do you think these other classes are going to be more beneficial for college bound students? I'm going to guess that nearly 100% of high school students that take calc go to college / university.

This is the path my son is following (currently in 9th grade):

9: Advanced Geometry

10: Intermediate Algebra and Trigonometry

11: Precalculus

12: Calculus

Other school districts in this area allow students to take Calculus in 11th or even 10th grades. I heard one student took it in the 9th grade after taking advanced algebra in summer after 8th grade!

These students seem to have done very basic geometry and algebra in middle school (which my son also did) and based on this, were put on fast track for calculus. I don't agree at all. It takes a long time for ideas to sink in. In geometry, it is about developing logical reasoning and spatial visualization skills. A dilute middle school course does not cut it. In algebra and trigonometry, it means absolute comfort with manipulating more difficult expressions. I don't know what is in precalculus, but probably series, logarithms, exponentials, complex numbers and limits. All this are foundations for calculus.

I agree with Rick that topics like statistics are more important than calculus. That is why I plan to ask my son to take AP Stats in 12th grade along with Calculus.

But it is a global thing. Students who DON'T take calculus are at a disadvantage. Every country now requires calculus by 12th grade for those entering science/engineering degrees in college.

sureshs

02-22-2011, 08:42 AM

The real problem is the our current undergraduate cirriculum is stuffed full of unrelated bloat for the first two years. That is the real problem that needs to be fixed.

I agree, but many don't. They believe that several courses in language, social sciences, psychology and economics are necessary to produce wel-rounded students. In this respect, the US loses almost a year of specialized instruction compared to students abroad. It is a philosophical debate.

mightyrick

02-22-2011, 09:00 AM

Other school districts in this area allow students to take Calculus in 11th or even 10th grades. I heard one student took it in the 9th grade after taking advanced algebra in summer after 8th grade!

I almost spit out my coffee when I read this. 9th grade???

I wish I was in a position to interview such students. I'd love to really know if they truly have learned and comprehended the things that they have been forced to memorize. Nothing but rote memorization.

I'm not against rote memorization for some things, but damn... where does it end? Do we want their entire science cirriculum to be learned through rote memory. No comprehension at all?

My daughter just learned the concept of area (length multiplied by width). But rather than just beating it into her head, I spent the extra time to go over real world examples of where calculating area is important. I had her calculate the area she would need to display some of her knick knacks. I had her calculate the area she would need to hold a new television she wants.

After she "got it", she really didn't need to memorize the formula for area. She understood why length and width are pertinent to area and how area is derived from the two.

I really think kids should be taught calculus and other concepts in the same way. Give the class a month to try to calculate the speed of an object dropped from a given height. Give them real world examples of why knowing how fast something can fall is important.

It really disgusts me that all we do is put out human EPROMS... as opposed to showing them how these concepts relate to the world around them and why they are important.

Steady Eddy

02-22-2011, 09:23 AM

I almost spit out my coffee when I read this. 9th grade???

I wish I was in a position to interview such students. I'd love to really know if they truly have learned and comprehended the things that they have been forced to memorize. Nothing but rote memorization.

I'm not against rote memorization for some things, but damn... where does it end? Do we want their entire science cirriculum to be learned through rote memory. No comprehension at all?

My daughter just learned the concept of area (length multiplied by width). But rather than just beating it into her head, I spent the extra time to go over real world examples of where calculating area is important. I had her calculate the area she would need to display some of her knick knacks. I had her calculate the area she would need to hold a new television she wants.

After she "got it", she really didn't need to memorize the formula for area. She understood why length and width are pertinent to area and how area is derived from the two.

I really think kids should be taught calculus and other concepts in the same way. Give the class a month to try to calculate the speed of an object dropped from a given height. Give them real world examples of why knowing how fast something can fall is important.

It really disgusts me that all we do is put out human EPROMS... as opposed to showing them how these concepts relate to the world around them and why they are important.Yes sir!! We all stand corrected now, sir! (If only mightyrick ran the world, all would be well. :( )

sureshs

02-22-2011, 09:34 AM

I almost spit out my coffee when I read this. 9th grade???

I wish I was in a position to interview such students. I'd love to really know if they truly have learned and comprehended the things that they have been forced to memorize. Nothing but rote memorization.

I'm not against rote memorization for some things, but damn... where does it end? Do we want their entire science cirriculum to be learned through rote memory. No comprehension at all?

My daughter just learned the concept of area (length multiplied by width). But rather than just beating it into her head, I spent the extra time to go over real world examples of where calculating area is important. I had her calculate the area she would need to display some of her knick knacks. I had her calculate the area she would need to hold a new television she wants.

After she "got it", she really didn't need to memorize the formula for area. She understood why length and width are pertinent to area and how area is derived from the two.

I really think kids should be taught calculus and other concepts in the same way. Give the class a month to try to calculate the speed of an object dropped from a given height. Give them real world examples of why knowing how fast something can fall is important.

It really disgusts me that all we do is put out human EPROMS... as opposed to showing them how these concepts relate to the world around them and why they are important.

Yes, a 11th grade girl told me last week. She is taking calc now, and her mother is worried she will have no math to take in 12th grade! I told her to take AP Stats and she was delighted.

It seems the other student took geometry and algebra in middle school, and then advanced algebra in summer, and the school decided she qualified for Calculus in the 9th grade. And we are talking AP Calculus here. Many students are taking it in the 10th grade - the losers take it in the 11th grade.

I could not believe it. It is one of the most sought after schools here. They follow a 4*4 system - so 8 courses in 1 year compared to 6 elsewhere.

This girl is now taking AP Physics B - which is a non-calculus lab-based course covering everything from mechanics to nuclear physics - in ONE semester. About 4 to 5 months. She says every minute of the lecture is utilized. Can you imagine people taking AP Chem/Phy/Calc/Bio in 1 semester? What is getting absorbed in their heads?

But this is the future. Knew a guy who got into Berkeley with 16 APs, And so on.

Interestingly, this girl who is taking AP Calculus in the 11th grade took the SAT subject test 2 in Math after 10th grade (it is supposed to be taken after precalculus which she "skipped") - now she it taking it again because of poor scores! She also took AP Chemistry in 10th grade without a prior Chem course - and then took the SAT subject test in it - she is taking it again due to poor scores! LOL. AP is supposed to be way above the Subject test level - she completes the AP course - and then cannot do well in the SAT subject test??? Shows me her fundamentals are very questionable.

mightyrick

02-22-2011, 10:07 AM

Yes sir!! We all stand corrected now, sir! (If only mightyrick ran the world, all would be well. :( )

Nice. The use of the "I" pronoun repeatedly leads to a presumption that if the poster ran the world that everything would be great. Now, I am basically a dictator. Sheesh.

Or... perhaps it just means that I want to be clear that I am only representing my own opinions and beliefs and that I want there to be no question that I am not generalizing or projecting my beliefs onto others.

sureshs

02-22-2011, 10:58 AM

General-level physics is sufficient for most common engineering degrees that I know of.

Non-calculus physics is a pain to teach. That is why intro college texts all use calculus now.

Steady Eddy

02-22-2011, 11:01 AM

Nice. The use of the "I" pronoun repeatedly leads to a presumption that if the poster ran the world that everything would be great. Now, I am basically a dictator. Sheesh.

Or... perhaps it just means that I want to be clear that I am only representing my own opinions and beliefs and that I want there to be no question that I am not generalizing or projecting my beliefs onto others.No problem. As the saying goes, "Everyone is entitled to their own opinion."

sureshs

02-22-2011, 12:09 PM

For good or for bad, there is competition out there. If someone is learning calc and someone else isn't, the first one has the edge.

mightyrick

02-22-2011, 03:10 PM

For good or for bad, there is competition out there. If someone is learning calc and someone else isn't, the first one has the edge.

Yep, I agree. Not much can be done except to join the crowd try to keep up. I guess the same holds true for sports and steroids. That is the way of things.

Manus Domini

02-22-2011, 04:14 PM

And then you were born

:lol: that was good lol

fruitytennis1

02-22-2011, 04:25 PM

We should go back to the old way of learning information, when America was smart.

When was america smart?

Without the humor please.

Manus Domini

02-22-2011, 04:26 PM

When was america smart?

Without the humor please.

I dunno, 30s and 40s? After the 90s America became idiotic

Legend of Borg

02-22-2011, 04:27 PM

For good or for bad, there is competition out there. If someone is learning calc and someone else isn't, the first one has the edge.

Isn't that completely dependent to the field one is studying?

I can understand a computer programmer making use of calculus, but a sport psychologist not so much.

It can only "give you an edge" if it applies to your profession.

angharad

02-22-2011, 05:14 PM

It can only "give you an edge" if it applies to your profession.

It can only "give you an edge" if you actually retain it. If a class is taught in a way that helps students pass without actually having them learn, the class is pointless. I unfortunately have seen that too often with some of the advanced high school classes. Students in them don't retain any of the information they're given.

Talker

02-22-2011, 07:12 PM

One good thing about calculus is that it ties together algebra, geometry and trigonometry among other areas.

With more relations between these areas of mathematics it is easier to remember and work out problems that don't even need calculus.

Then to learn calculus very well take advanced calculus, if your taking other courses that use calculus it becomes even more ingrained also.

There's nothing special about calculus, it's just another math course.

If it's taught in high school then it gives exposure to how it works, you won't have to start from the beginning in college, but if you do some of the concepts you'll already have seen, it helps.

sureshs

02-23-2011, 09:17 AM

Isn't that completely dependent to the field one is studying?

I can understand a computer programmer making use of calculus, but a sport psychologist not so much.

It can only "give you an edge" if it applies to your profession.

Yes that is true. I was refering to the people who will work in fields which will use calculus, like science, engineering, statistics, economics, quantitative finance, quantitative biology, etc.

sureshs

02-23-2011, 09:18 AM

One good thing about calculus is that it ties together algebra, geometry and trigonometry among other areas.

With more relations between these areas of mathematics it is easier to remember and work out problems that don't even need calculus.

I don't know of areas in algebra, geometry and trigonometry which need calculus. Other way around is true.

Talker

02-23-2011, 10:22 AM

I don't know of areas in algebra, geometry and trigonometry which need calculus. Other way around is true.

Those courses are taught before calculus, so they're not prerequisites. :)

KBlade

03-12-2011, 10:05 AM

Almost half-way through the semester, its brutal. Not that the material is that difficult, but I have an awful professor who talks BS for most of class, does 2 easy example problems, and we're on our own. I have to teach myself the material. Of course after many days of 5+ hours of studying I "get it", but its not an efficient way to work, especially when we cover new material days. I'm getting solid C's on the tests which is really frustrating. I can do the easy/moderate difficulty problems because they're similar to the homework, but its those last few challenging problems that prevent me from getting a B or an A. I'm requesting a tutor in my area to speed up the learning process.

I'm down to two people. One guy recently graduated in Chemical Engineering. I think he'd be a good tutor since the material is still probably fresh in his head and he's only a few years older than me, so it should be easy to relate.

The other tutor is a research scientist in theoretical physics who did his postdoc training at UC Berkeley. He's probably in his 30's-40's. It would be great to have someone so elite teach me, but maybe it would be hard for a young community college student to relate to such an older, much more accomplished scientist.

What do you guys think?

Steady Eddy

03-12-2011, 01:40 PM

Almost half-way through the semester, its brutal. Not that the material is that difficult, but I have an awful professor who talks BS for most of class, does 2 easy example problems, and we're on our own. I have to teach myself the material. Of course after many days of 5+ hours of studying I "get it", but its not an efficient way to work, especially when we cover new material days. I'm getting solid C's on the tests which is really frustrating. I can do the easy/moderate difficulty problems because they're similar to the homework, but its those last few challenging problems that prevent me from getting a B or an A. I'm requesting a tutor in my area to speed up the learning process.

I'm down to two people. One guy recently graduated in Chemical Engineering. I think he'd be a good tutor since the material is still probably fresh in his head and he's only a few years older than me, so it should be easy to relate.

The other tutor is a research scientist in theoretical physics who did his postdoc training at UC Berkeley. He's probably in his 30's-40's. It would be great to have someone so elite teach me, but maybe it would be hard for a young community college student to relate to such an older, much more accomplished scientist.

What do you guys think?

There's more to being a good tutor than "knowing your stuff", he's got to be able to communicate it. A tutor has to try to figure out how it looks from your point of view, not his. It does no good for him to say, "That's how you do it, and I'm right."

Have either of these guys done tutoring? Here's why they might know calc, but not know your homework. In calc one they ask you to prove things by the definition. Somebody using calculus hasn't done that in years. They won't know how to do it. They think they'll be great, but again and again, they'll look at your book and go "huh?"

[Digression. When asked to figure the derivative of the square root of x using the definition. An engineer will say, "Just use the power rule." He won't know how to do it by the definition. Doesn't mean he's not good at calculus, it's just that calculus is very different from calc one. For your class, you'll have to solve the problems the way they say. Your guy might be a Nobel Prize winner, but if he's not up on THIS math, that won't help you. Has he tutored calc one before? That's what you need to find out.]

Also, drop the age bigotry thing. Don't assume a guy your age will be 'cool' and an older guy 'stuffy'. Sometimes younger people are less mature and get impatient when explaining things. It's the tutor's job to click with you, if the guy doesn't, switch to the other one right away. He should be smart, but also not in anyway an A-hole, you know what I mean.

Good luck! I think getting a tutor is a good decision on your part.

The Wreck

03-12-2011, 06:35 PM

I know it seems hard now, but the more you see it, one day it'll just "click" and the concepts and reasons and all behind it make sense.

sureshs

03-13-2011, 06:36 AM

Almost half-way through the semester, its brutal. Not that the material is that difficult, but I have an awful professor who talks BS for most of class, does 2 easy example problems, and we're on our own. I have to teach myself the material. Of course after many days of 5+ hours of studying I "get it", but its not an efficient way to work, especially when we cover new material days. I'm getting solid C's on the tests which is really frustrating. I can do the easy/moderate difficulty problems because they're similar to the homework, but its those last few challenging problems that prevent me from getting a B or an A. I'm requesting a tutor in my area to speed up the learning process.

I'm down to two people. One guy recently graduated in Chemical Engineering. I think he'd be a good tutor since the material is still probably fresh in his head and he's only a few years older than me, so it should be easy to relate.

The other tutor is a research scientist in theoretical physics who did his postdoc training at UC Berkeley. He's probably in his 30's-40's. It would be great to have someone so elite teach me, but maybe it would be hard for a young community college student to relate to such an older, much more accomplished scientist.

What do you guys think?

If you have already got your fundamentals down, what can a tutor do for you? The tougher kinds of problems are usually twisted ones, and non-math PhDs (even Physics) may not have seen them. You may be better off working thru Schwaum's series or something.

KBlade

03-15-2011, 09:52 PM

If you have already got your fundamentals down, what can a tutor do for you? The tougher kinds of problems are usually twisted ones, and non-math PhDs (even Physics) may not have seen them. You may be better off working thru Schwaum's series or something.

Well, I have other classes to study for. I don't have a problem with studying 5+ hours, but if that's for ONE class, DAILY, that's just ridiculous. Plus like I said, I put in a lot of work and still manage to only get C's. I need to transfer to a good university, so C's aren't gonna cut it. I need B's at the minimum, and clearly what I'm doing isn't getting me there. Time to seek professional help.

Viper

03-16-2011, 12:03 AM

When was america smart?

Without the humor please.

Before all those other countries came along and took its place as world super power.

Wait.

Well, I have other classes to study for. I don't have a problem with studying 5+ hours, but if that's for ONE class, DAILY, that's just ridiculous. Plus like I said, I put in a lot of work and still manage to only get C's. I need to transfer to a good university, so C's aren't gonna cut it. I need B's at the minimum, and clearly what I'm doing isn't getting me there. Time to seek professional help.

This is why, for myself at least, I'm only taking two classes at a time. With work and other responsibilities, as well as the desire to get A's, two classes is enough for me. I have seen plenty of other students register for 4 or 5 classes and just end up dropping half of them. Before people jump on me, yea, the right person can do 4 and 5 classes I guess. In my situation I just don't see it happening without losing all of my hair. Two classes though at this point is 8 or 9 credits depending.

Back on the Calc discussion, Calc 2 is going well so far for me. It's also way more work than Calc 1 was. The average grade for the first test was a 69 and a 61 for the second(eek!). So the class will be thinning out by the end of the week(add/drop deadline).

Talker

03-17-2011, 06:11 AM

Almost half-way through the semester, its brutal. Not that the material is that difficult, but I have an awful professor who talks BS for most of class, does 2 easy example problems, and we're on our own. I have to teach myself the material. Of course after many days of 5+ hours of studying I "get it", but its not an efficient way to work, especially when we cover new material days. I'm getting solid C's on the tests which is really frustrating. I can do the easy/moderate difficulty problems because they're similar to the homework, but its those last few challenging problems that prevent me from getting a B or an A. I'm requesting a tutor in my area to speed up the learning process.

I'm down to two people. One guy recently graduated in Chemical Engineering. I think he'd be a good tutor since the material is still probably fresh in his head and he's only a few years older than me, so it should be easy to relate.

The other tutor is a research scientist in theoretical physics who did his postdoc training at UC Berkeley. He's probably in his 30's-40's. It would be great to have someone so elite teach me, but maybe it would be hard for a young community college student to relate to such an older, much more accomplished scientist.

What do you guys think?

Drop the class and take it again. Getting a 'C' now will hurt you in the future. Get an outline like Schaums and go thru it. If you have classes that need calculus as a prerequisite you don't want to be trying to figure out the new material and have any trouble with the math too.

It's a pain but it has to be done.

KBlade

03-17-2011, 07:29 PM

Drop the class and take it again. Getting a 'C' now will hurt you in the future. Get an outline like Schaums and go thru it. If you have classes that need calculus as a prerequisite you don't want to be trying to figure out the new material and have any trouble with the math too.

It's a pain but it has to be done.

I get what you're getting at, but dropping the class is not an option for me. I've already been at a community college for 2 years. I switched my major to Computer Science which will add an extra 2 years to my stay here. I can't spend the rest of my life in community college dropping classes and taking them the following semester. I still have 3 quizzes, 3 tests, and a final to turn things around.

mightyrick

03-17-2011, 09:11 PM

I get what you're getting at, but dropping the class is not an option for me. I've already been at a community college for 2 years. I switched my major to Computer Science which will add an extra 2 years to my stay here. I can't spend the rest of my life in community college dropping classes and taking them the following semester. I still have 3 quizzes, 3 tests, and a final to turn things around.

Just do what you can to pass the class. If you are a CS major, you don't need to really retain calculus, anyways. Focus on your core classes in your junior and senior years.

I have been in software development for a long time now. The best software developers I have seen barely know how to even SPELL the world calculus. So just forget about it.

Trust me... whether or not you suck at software development will have nothing to do with your ability to do integrals and find areas underneath the curve.

ogruskie

03-17-2011, 09:55 PM

deleted post

Sentinel

03-23-2011, 10:08 PM

Just came across this.

http://calnewport.com/blog/2008/11/14/how-to-ace-calculus-the-art-of-doing-well-in-technical-courses/

I'll be taking the first semester of Calculus next semester and I'm not really sure what to expect. I just ordered the textbook online (author is Stewart, I hear its popular) so I won't be able to preview the material for a few days. But I think its stuff like functions, limits, integrals, etc. My professor has pretty decent reviews so I'm not too worried about her teaching skills.

The problem is I'm not very good at math. I typically get C's when I put in the minimum amount of work (doing just assigned hw), and I get B's when I really work my *** off. For some reason its impossible for me to get A's. If its any indicator of future success/failure, I took PreCalc last semester and got a C. But again, with minimum amount of work because I was swamped with other classes and work. However I'm quitting my job and taking fairly easy classes so I'll devote myself 110% to calculus.

Stewart's textbook is meant for the non-mathematician/physicist, viz. economics or biology students who need to learn calculus, but who are not interested in the math, per se. In other words, Stewart's book is great to learn how to solve calculus problems but you aren't going to become good at proof, nor are you going to do well in analysis using Stewart.

Calculus really isn't that difficult: Pick up the book now and start learning from it. If you're a visual learner, go to http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/mathematics/18-01-single-variable-calculus-fall-2006/ They probably use Apostol or Spivak's book. It will be more rigorous than the course you are taking, but it will prepare you well.

I just realized when this post was created... look, if you sit down for 3-4 days, 10-12 hours a day, you should be able to learn single variable calculus well. It really isn't hard. You'll be comfortable with the topics presented in the course and you'll be ready for the exams.

For what its worth, when I was a preteen, I sat down with Apostol's two volume work, _Calculus_, and within 5 weeks, finished the two books (and completed all the questions in the books). All it requires is hard work and dedication. I know this is not typical, but that's not because most do not have the aptitude (I do not know whether you do or not: Grades are not indicative of intelligence), but rather because people aren't willing to devote the time.

Just work at it. Calculus has a reputation to be this grueling, ball breaking course. It isn't. Don't psychologically defeat yourself before you have even tried.

I get what you're getting at, but dropping the class is not an option for me. I've already been at a community college for 2 years. I switched my major to Computer Science which will add an extra 2 years to my stay here. I can't spend the rest of my life in community college dropping classes and taking them the following semester. I still have 3 quizzes, 3 tests, and a final to turn things around.

Depending on what you want to do with a CS degree, you may or may not need to know calculus.

You'll need to understand logic, though.

I don't know if it was you or someone else on this forum, but if you're only interested in programming, you don't need a CS degree. Just go to google.com and search "learn XYZ language".

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