Which Math class next semester?

<p>It's been nearly a decade since I have taken any sort of Math class, and frankly I remember none of it. I have since gone back to school and am pursuing a degree in Electrical Engineering. I took the placment test (blind - no review at all) over the summer and ended up in Algebra II. This class, however, was under-enrolled and subsequently cancelled. I only attended one 4 hour class, but it jogged my memory enough that I went and took the placement test again and tested into Calc I.</p>

<p>We are now entering next semesters registration and I face a difficult choice. I took pre-calc in highschool but it has been 10 years. I can do one of two things:</p>

<p>1) Review Algebra / Trig / Precalc on Kahn Academy over the next 2 months and jump into Calc I next semester</p>

<p>2) Take Algebra III and Trig next semester at the same time to brush up and Calc I in the summer. (I see no point in precalc, if I'm going to review, might as well do it right)</p>

<p>I have always excelled in math, but I fear I may be pushing things a bit as I remember almost nothing about the subject matter and need to get through Calc I, II, III and diff eq, so a solid foundation is important. I also do not want to ruin my GPA (currently 4.0) as I plan to transfer. Is a 2 month review sufficient? What is the best way to proceed?</p>

<p>It depends on your time frame. If you have as much time on your hands as possible, take Algebra III (I'm guessing that is pre-calc) and Trig at the college level.</p>

<p>I did something very similar to you. I hadn't looked at a math problem in a decade and decided to get a degree in Statistics. However, I was under a tight time guideline, needing to take Calc I in the spring and Calc II in the summer so I could qualify for some upper division classes the next year (in order to graduate without dragging it out another year).</p>

<p>I did the self-study (used Khan Academy too) thing, but I still struggled when I got into Calc I. Calc I is a "weeder" class at my school, so they make it extra difficult. The things I struggled the most with were the Trig (almost completely forgotten since High School) and some exponential notation (having to do with function manipulations).</p>

<p>It can be done, but you're treading up hill. Also, don't expect to maintain a 4.0 as an engineering major. Math class before calculus are extremely easy compared to college level calculus (and beyond).</p>

<p>I self-studied for a whole year before starting classes so I could start calculus already knowing the material. That was partly for logistical/money reasons, I could have started after only six-nine months and been fine. And it worked, I passed all of my calc, diffy qs, linear algebra, and discrete math with flying colors.</p>

<p>But you don't have to do what I did to excel. The really important thing is that BEFORE taking calculus one you are very solid on trig. Sines, cosines, special angles (what's sin Pi/2? Cos Pi/2? How do sin Pi/4 and cos Pi/4 relate to eachother?), know your trig identities (at least know how to use them), know how to take apart the tangent function into sin and cos and put it back together again.</p>

<p>ALGEBRA, ALGEBRA, ALGEBRA. (x^2-1)/(x-1) simplifies to.....?</p>

<p>It simplifies to (x+1), and you need to get to where you can see this right away (because (a^2-b^2) factors to (a-b)*(a+b)). Understand rational expressions and how to work with them. The more you know about decomposing a rational expression, division of polynomials, other algebra tricks, the better.</p>

<p>Be able to use logarithms and exponentials, be good on properties of logarithms and exponentials. Be able to turn 2^x into an expression which uses e. Be able to turn ln|a|-ln|b| into ln|a/b| and -ln|a| into ln|1/a|</p>

<p>Be really good at all of this, and you will sail through calculus. Because this is the stuff that trips people up, it isn't the concepts of calculus (the derivative and integral).</p>

<p>So try cramming over the next two months, get some self-study books and DO LOTS OF PROBLEMS and get good. If you feel ready for calculus, jump in. If you feel like you are fighting to keep your head above water, start with Algebra II or Trig.</p>

<p>Where the heck are you going to school that your advisor let you drop an algebra class in an engineering program and not replace it? I'm used to a campus that had every Calc class at pretty much every hour of the day, and they considered Algebra and Trig to be remedial, as in no credit toward graduation classes. There was no Algebra 1, 2 & 3. It was just Algebra. When they dropped your Algebra II class you should have been demanding they replace it with Algebra III or Trig or something. Calc is a prereq for everything. Go talk to a professor who can guide you through your school's structure and requirments.</p>