<p>198 / 199 are not necessary, and are a serious waste of time if you end up majoring (think about it: if you can handle the intermediate level courses straight out of the gate, what value added are the introductory ones?). </p>

<p>As noted above, no one will prohibit your enrollment in the 2000's, nor will you be at any disadvantage versus classmates who took these courses. In fact, if you cannot handle the theory as opposed to math of the 2000's series without prior conceptual exposure, you really are a poor fit for the major overall. Consider: a person taking intermediate game theory or financial economics - both common UG electives - will have no benefit of introductory courses in these domains. </p>

<p>Additionally, they are a poor way to gauge one's interest in the field / major. Modern economics is a branch of the applied sciences at the graduate level, and Chicago makes a concerted effort to ensure that this philosophy trickles down to the UG curriculum. I would go so far to say that a stock, calculus based freshmen physics course is a better litmus test of economic aptitude than drawing supply and demand graphs to no end. </p>

<p>However, if you are not a Calculus BC with a grade of 5 type, I would encourage you to a least finish the one quarter multivariate calculus class before commencing the 2000's. Alternatively, you can get a book like "Schaum's Outline of Mathematical Methods for Business and Economics" by Edward Dowling, and read the all the calculus / optimization chapters the summer prior (a very manageable task). Its content (see the index via Amazon) aligns perfectly with the array of skills that an 'A' student in the 2000's needs to employ in problem sets.</p>