Going from intermediate algebra to calculus?

Reply Tue 5 Jan, 2010 05:40 pm
Quick question:

I took Math 101 last semester as a review because I hadn't done math in 3 years and got a 98%. I want to transfer schools next semester where Math 112 (Calculus 1) is required to graduate - there both Math 110 and 111 are prerequisites for Math 112 but here there are no prerequisites.

So, should I take the risk of basically skipping 2 levels of math this semester to potentially not have to take 2 classes in the future?
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Reply Tue 5 Jan, 2010 05:46 pm
Sure, if you've got a strong background in algebra and trig. But not if the other school requires more than one math credit for graduation. If you transfer Calc 1 and they require 3 math classes to graduate you're going to find yourself doing another couple semesters of calculus to meet the requirement.
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Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 12:44 am
Trust me you do not want to skip the math classes, you will regret it! They have different levels for a purpose you need the first ones in order to pass the harder ones. A lot of the classes start off where the others end, so you will have missed all the tricks and formulas to use. Besides it's not worth ruining your GPA that will be difficult to get back. I know your pain I'm in collage as well right now and I have to take 5 math classes total to graduate and it's not really fun at all.
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ebrown p
Reply Wed 6 Jan, 2010 07:47 am
Broken, I have worked as both a high school teacher, and as part of a team to develop a program to teach algebra.

I think you can successfully skip to calculus-- if you are "good" at math.

Let me define "good" at math. Math can be learned in two ways... some students learn math as a set of tricks and rules (in my opinion this is unfortunate-- I will write another post on this). If you are this type of student, then you will have problems skipping to calculus.

Students who are good at math learn math not as tricks, but as a way to solve problems.

The first indicator of being good at math is understanding why it is cool. Do you have "aha" moments when you, on your own, come up with new understandings or new ways to solve a problem? Do you talk about math outside of class (i.e. arguing over probabilities)?

Do you feel frustrated that your math classes give you dull repetitive (and useless) exercises on topics you already understand (people good at math hate math homework)? Do you work out math problems at home (people good at math love doing math outside of class).

The dirty truth is that once you hit Pre-algebra-- educators don't really know what to do with you. So we throw a bunch of odds and ends at you... all of them are interesting as concepts... but since you are just kids we teach them as methods. The truth is they don't really build on each other at all, and none of them are very useful to someone in a mathematical career.

After fractions and variables there are really only one or two concepts you need before calculus (the concept of function being the most important).

Most of the stuff you learn before calculus is stuff you will never need to see again. You don't need most of these mathematical odds and ends even in calculus, and if you are good at picking up concepts on your own, you will be able to get anything you need quickly anyway.

My short answer: If you enjoy math, then go for it.

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