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For trigonometry, should I take a harder or laid-back professor? I'll go to Calculus 2

CreativiTimothyCreativiTimothy 10 replies16 threads Junior Member
For trigonometry, should I take a professor who is adept at explaining but is tougher on grading, or a very laid-back professor with average teaching skills? I'm taking up to Calculus 2.

I wonder how important trigonometry is for Calculus and above. If it's not too important, then I'd prefer less stress with the laid-back teacher at the cost of not being a pro at trigonometry. What do you guys think?
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Replies to: For trigonometry, should I take a harder or laid-back professor? I'll go to Calculus 2

  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83774 replies743 threads Senior Member
    You will want to know trigonometry for calculus 1 and 2 (the version for math and CS majors).
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  • yucca10yucca10 1415 replies40 threads Senior Member
    You will struggle in calculus if you don't understand trigonometry well.
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  • AccCreateAccCreate 243 replies10 threads Junior Member
    As someone who is in the workforce and had studied substantial amount of mathematics [in the most "rigorous manner possible"] in college (modern algebra, real analysis, cryptography, number theory, complex analysis, stochaistics, so on), my advice is this: take the easiest courses.
    Better grade --> Higher GPA --> More opportunity

    Trigonometry is one of those subjects that really isn't that helpful anywhere else in higher math (at least in college). Understand sin, cos, tan and that's pretty much it. Anything with double angle and what not you won't ever use anyway. And if you do use them on homework for some integration/derivations, you have the internet in front of you anyways. Remembering Trigonometry formulas is like memorizing the the first 100 digits of Pi.
    Not really that useful outside the class.

    I'm sure parents here won't like such advises told to kids but I'm someone who went to a top school (And have peers who majored in math or are currently getting phds). I can assure you trigonometry is half as helpful as Calculus 1 is in your daily life.
    Better to spend that time learning mathematics understanding how to write proper proofs. It will be better for your logic and reasoning in the long run.
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  • ProfessorPlum168ProfessorPlum168 4184 replies92 threads Senior Member
    With the advent of calculators and computers, the art of knowing how to use lookup tables for sine and cosine and tangents is pretty much permanently lost now. Conceptually it’s relatively easier than quite a few algebraic concepts. Is this a half-year class? I’d find it hard to believe that this class would cover more than a few months.

    I know that for Computer Science, the most important math things that are applicable to being successful are 1) having lots of experience with proof-based math classes 2) linear algebra and 3) participating in AIME and AMC 10/12.
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  • EmpireappleEmpireapple 2255 replies28 threads Senior Member
    I agree with AccCreate. As I've guided my own children through the high school and college process there is one thing I've learned. Protect the GPA. Take the class in which you can get the best grade.
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7948 replies160 threads Senior Member
    edited July 2019
    Trig is so much more than knowing that sin30 = 0.5!!! It's about interrelationships. It's about knowing whether you want the Law of Sines or the Law of Cosines. It's about knowing that the cofunction of sine is cosine but the reciprocal of sine is cosecant. I'ts reference angles and knowing which function is positive in which quadrant. And, yes, you'll need a solid background in Trig for Calc I and Calc II-- Calc II in particular is brutal, even with that solid background.
    I say you choose the prof who will best enable you to understand-- and then make sure you work hard enough to protect your GPA.
    edited July 2019
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10388 replies122 threads Senior Member
    Get the strongest foundation in math as possible. You do yourself no favors by taking an easier class. The whole point is to learn.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 9982 replies386 threads Senior Member
    How do you know the laid back teacher has average teaching skills? A relaxed approach doesn't mean they won't expect you to know the material.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7566 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Go with the teacher you think you will get the most out of Then go for extra help with that teacher. You want a firm foundation of math. Plus it's not the teacher also but you. Hate when my kids said they didn't get a certain grade due to a certain teacher. They also never went for extra help but just complained. That changes in college. Harder now might mean easier later.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83774 replies743 threads Senior Member
    A previous post by the OP back in 2015 at https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/high-school-life/1817880-will-not-taking-math-in-12th-lower-my-chances-im-taking-ap-calculus-bc-11th-already.html indicates that the OP was on track to take AP calculus BC in 11th grade. Seems odd that the OP is about to enter college considering taking trigonometry (part of precalculus) now.
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