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Can someone be an engineer if they aren't good in math?

Pink94Pink94 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
edited August 2012 in Engineering Majors
I love science and I love engineering concepts. Math not so much. Should I still go for engineering?
Post edited by Pink94 on

Replies to: Can someone be an engineer if they aren't good in math?

  • photonxyzphotonxyz Registered User Posts: 51 Junior Member
    You most likely wont see much high end math in most jobs....
  • Pink94Pink94 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    Yes but in terms of getting through college. Can I make it through all those calc classes and other advanced math classes if I'm not naturally great at math? Engineering is what I really want to do and I'm willing to study. I'm just unsure whether I will be able to succeed with that setback
  • Charlie87starCharlie87star Registered User Posts: 172 Junior Member
    I'm not naturally good at math either and I'm doing engineering too. I just know that I need to work harder to do well in math classes and practice more for tests than a lot of my friends who are naturally good at it. As long as you understand how hard you need to work and you're willing to do that extra work, you'll be fine. I ended up getting a 5 on the calc ab test so I'm sure you'll be able to pass college math if you really want engineering. Good luck!
  • NeoDymiumNeoDymium Registered User Posts: 2,304 Senior Member
    It'll hurt, but if you try hard you'll manage.
  • Pink94Pink94 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    Thanks may I ask what engineering field you are in?
  • boneh3adboneh3ad Registered User Posts: 7,006 Senior Member
    The good news is that calculus and linear algebra and differential equations aren't really any harder than cooking. You just need to have some diligence and perseverance and you can almost certainly figure out how to solve most problems. The biggest problem people who are "bad at math" have is that they've convince themselves they are bad at math.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 30,150 Super Moderator
    Find a group to study with and ask the prof or teaching assistant lots of questions! And get a tutor if you need one. That's how I survived my circuits class.
  • Charlie87starCharlie87star Registered User Posts: 172 Junior Member
    I'm not sure if you were asking me but I'm doing BIomedical engineering, I start this fall and have 4 calc classes, linear algebra, differential equations and a stats class. I'm hoping retaking calc 1 will help me get a good foundation and be ready for the other classes. What type of engineering do you want to go into?
  • MengineerMengineer Registered User Posts: 5 New Member
    Its always a plus if youre good at math, but if youre like me, you arent (or at least werent). I went to college 10 years after graduating HS, and was a little embarrassed at the level the placement test put me at (lowest level math at the community college). I was told that I could study, and retake that test to score higher, which would place me at a higher level math class. I decided that if I was going to be an engineer, a solid foundation in math was needed. I took 4 math classes BEFORE getting into the calculus series. Its not about being "good" at math, but more being determined. If you want it, go for it!
  • Pink94Pink94 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    I'm not 100% sure yet what type of engineering I'm going to go into. I'm only going to be a freshman in the fall so I wanted to feel out a few different fields before I make a final decision. I'm really looking into petroleum engineering though.
  • Pink94Pink94 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    Wow but were you still able to graduate within 4 years? I figured since in engineering you have to get to a high level in math, if you start with anything less than calc 1 you wouldn't be able to graduate in time.
  • naturaldistasternaturaldistaster Registered User Posts: 638 Member
    I did well in math easily in high school until I hit calc ab. I struggled for my A and a 4 on the AP test. I retook Calc 1 in college and aced that. Calc 2 was a struggle, but I passed with a B-. My friend started off in precalc in the fall, never having taken calculus before. She took calc 1 in the spring and got an A. It's just about being willing to work for it and know your strengths and weaknesses.
  • NeoDymiumNeoDymium Registered User Posts: 2,304 Senior Member
    Though you don't actually have to be naturally good at math, you'd better learn it well enough to be comfortable using it quickly. Though I've never had problems myself, if you can't do simple integration quickly, you may start to fall behind in later lectures when derivations and the like are explained. Not so much with more complex calculus, but you should be able to do simple derivatives and integrals quickly. That and statistics will make up the bulk of applied mathematical use in your non-math classes.
    Use Khan Academy to brush up if you need to. It may seem painfully slow at times, but it's very good at explaining things.
  • KamelAkbarKamelAkbar Registered User Posts: 500 Member
    A lot of people like science, but math is essential to being able to understand it to a high degree. Some scientific and engineering ideas can't really be described in any intuitive way because they aren't part of our everyday big picture experience. Math is everywhere in engineering. You won't necessarily be using calculus in your daily work, but it's the kind of intelligence you need to be a good engineer. Some will disagree, but I think being good at math goes hand-in-hand with being a good engineering problem solver and analytical thinker. Science is fun for most people, that's why National Geographic and the Discovery Channel are so popular, but enjoying the interesting result of scientific problem solving and discovery is not the same as deeply understanding and applying them. Even if you could be a great engineer and terrible at math, you still have to get through school. Every class you take will use quite a bit of math, and advanced math will come up in class even if it might not in the field.

    In history, there have been scientific geniuses and engineers who were not good at math (most famously: Faraday), but the modern engineering has come so far since then I don't think it is possible anymore.
  • Pink94Pink94 Registered User Posts: 16 New Member
    Thanks for the advice guys. I'm starting off my first semester with analytic geometry & calculus 1. I'll see how I can handle that. If its too much of a struggle I might consider changing my major.
This discussion has been closed.