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# Calculus 3 vs Differential Equations.

- Posts: 85 Junior Member
edited March 2009
I have to take one of these over the summer, which one is the easiest? The easiest to understand with the least amount of work.
Post edited by Boroleum on
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## Replies to: Calculus 3 vs Differential Equations.

• Registered User Posts: 882 Member
So far, I am finding Differential Equations to be simple compared to Calc 3. In Calc 3, you will need to get used to memorizing the equations and theorems in the latter part of the course. Setting up the integrals is probably the hardest part of Calc 3.
• Registered User Posts: 660 Member
In my opinion Calc 3 is way easier than Diff Eq.

Diff Eq is one the toughest (perhaps THE toughest) required math course in engineering curriculums.
• Registered User Posts: 660 Member
So far, I am finding Differential Equations to be simple compared to Calc 3. In Calc 3, you will need to get used to memorizing the equations and theorems in the latter part of the course. Setting up the integrals is probably the hardest part of Calc 3.

Diff Eq involves way more memorization than Calc 3. In Diff Eq you need to know how to recognize what problem you are dealing wtih and how to solve it.

Setting up integrals in Calc 3 is not that difficult. Perhaps its just me but I find integrals in 3-space and coverting to cylindrical/spherical coordinates to be pretty simple.
• Registered User Posts: 882 Member
Diff Eq involves way more memorization than Calc 3. In Diff Eq you need to know how to recognize what problem you are dealing wtih and how to solve it.
Oh that's interesting; thanks for the heads up.
Setting up integrals in Calc 3 is not that difficult. Perhaps its just me but I find integrals in 3-space and coverting to cylindrical/spherical coordinates to be pretty simple.
It's not too difficult; I guess the thing is that it's quite a bit of material to get your head wrapped around.
• Registered User Posts: 1,579 Senior Member
In my opinion Calc 3 is way easier than Diff Eq.

I think Calc 3 is harder, because you have to look at integrals and figure out which method to use, or look at sums and figure out which test will tell you if the sum converges. DiffEq is more straightforward. It's usually pretty easy to tell what differential equations can be solved with what techniques, and many of the techniques are pretty fun.

But also note that I took DiffEq at a community college and did Calc 3 on the AP test, so that might skew my opinion somewhat.
Diff Eq is one the toughest (perhaps THE toughest) required math course in engineering curriculums.

Really? Not tensor calculus? (Which isn't required for all engineering majors)

I personally didn't think that DiffEq was that bad. It's a little bit tricky, but once you get over the basic hurdle of understanding what a differential equation really is, it gets a lot easier.
• Registered User Posts: 660 Member
Really? Not tensor calculus? (Which isn't required for all engineering majors)

I personally didn't think that DiffEq was that bad. It's a little bit tricky, but once you get over the basic hurdle of understanding what a differential equation really is, it gets a lot easier.

That's why I said I felt Diff Eq is probably the toughest math required by all engineering majors. What majors actually require tensor calc?

I don't think any math class was that bad. But I felt Diff Eq was tougher than Calc 3 is all. Maybe I've got a mind for 3-space? To me Diff Eq was mostly memorization different equation set-ups and how to sovle them. In Calc 3 I found it pretty easy to visualize equations and how to intregrate them.
• Registered User Posts: 327 Member
Both classes seem to depend a lot on the individual professor, since both could be made a lot more painful than needed.

I think I found the concepts in diff equ harder to understand, however, my Calc III professor gave us harder tests. But as I said, that was just specific to that instructor and not the course in general.
• Registered User Posts: 264 Junior Member
i think DE was much easier than calc3. In calc3 we covered sooo much stuff. But in think these 2 classes more than any other, depend on the person. I heard awful things about DE before i went into the class and heard that calc3 was super easy but then i found it was the opposite.

In my calc3 class we also spent a month on fourier series which i'm not sure is part of other calc3 curriculums. Maybe thats why the rest of the class seemed to rushed.
• Registered User Posts: 201 Junior Member
Tensor calc is not really that hard.

And as said above it depends a lot on the professor. A good professor can make most things seem easy while a bad one can make every detail complicated, and it also depends on how hard tests they do.
• Registered User Posts: 1,826 Senior Member
I thought Calculus III was harder than differential equations. The differential equations class I took was just about memorizing a bunch of methods. It was not too difficult, but it was kind of dull.

Even though Calculus III was more difficult, it was a much better class--in that class you learn about functions from R^m --> R^n and what the derivative means for such a function. You learn how to talk about integrating a single real valued-function over more complicated domains than just the real line. You also learn some cool generalizations of the fundamental theorem of calculus.
• Registered User Posts: 6,673 Senior Member
I remember thinking that Calc III was no harder than Calc II. I think that if you did not have trouble with Calc II, you will not have trouble with Calc III.
• Registered User Posts: 660 Member
The differential equations class I took was just about memorizing a bunch of methods. It was not too difficult, but it was kind of dull.

Maybe that is why I found Diff Eq tougher was that I was completely uninterested in it. Calc 3 I actually find interesting because everything really makes sense to me.
• Registered User Posts: 69 Junior Member
interesting thread...im taking both at the same time this semester. though i am retaking calc 3 after dropping it last sem. i think setting up the integrals was a challenge at first until you begin to do them A LOT. lol. i hear calc 3 was harder than DE from my friend. anyone have trouble in linear algebra? i heard that is some abstract math for engineer majors.
• Registered User Posts: 660 Member
I think most find linear algebra fairly easy.
• Registered User Posts: 229 Junior Member
"I think Calc 3 is harder, because you have to look at integrals and figure out which method to use, or look at sums and figure out which test will tell you if the sum converges. DiffEq is more straightforward. It's usually pretty easy to tell what differential equations can be solved with what techniques, and many of the techniques are pretty fun.

But also note that I took DiffEq at a community college and did Calc 3 on the AP test, so that might skew my opinion somewhat. "

Umm do you mean you took calc 3 after you took the AP test for calc BC because the standard topics in multivariable calculus aren't covered in BC (otherwise known as single variable calculus)

The type of integrals I had to set up and solve in Calc 3 were much harder than the stuff I did in elementary ordinary differential equations.

"Diff Eq is one the toughest (perhaps THE toughest) required math course in engineering curriculums. "

What do you mean by the toughest required? I know engineers use PDEs and I know electrical engineers might do a course in Complex Analysis
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