I must say I am terrified of Calculus. I have never taken any advanced math courses before. In high school, the furthest I got was college algebra and geometry (which I loved). Is my fear of Calculus founded? Is it as hard as people say it is? Is there a particular type of Calculus that I should stay away from? Is there a particular type of Calculus that I should go to?

I appreciate the input.

# CALCULUS

Try to do life science calc or the equivalent if your school offers it, don’t do the full-blown engineering-grade calculus if you don’t have to.

That being said, hell no the rumors aren’t founded. Granted, I’ve done a year of algebra in college as well as pre-calc before taking this class, since I’m not exactly your shining math student, but I’m doing just fine in it.

If you’re rusty on your algebra, I would recommend taking some refresher courses first, but calculus so far isn’t that bad. Like with any math class, there’s some stuff I don’t understand which I just learned that I’ll have to ask the teacher about later, but that’s pretty normal, so nothing out of the ordinary.

If anything, it’s more entertaining since the teacher (and the book if its life sci calc) will give you examples of it’s application to biology, medicine, etc. so you don’t feel like what you’re learning is completely useless.

Merlin:

mathphobia is common, but very much unfounded. Yes, you are likely to have to work some in a calculus class, but MATH IS A LEARNABLE SKILL. Brush up on your algebra if it’s been a while because calculus is easy; it’s the algebra that drives it that gets complicated. If you plan to go to med school, you will face more difficult subject matter elsewhere. Don’t let a math class deter you – even if you are not inherently great at it you can still do well.

Good luck!

Merlin,

I couldn’t agree more with crazyman. It is a learnable skill and view it as such. But you need to be pretty crisp on your algebra skills because algebra is the motor that drives it. The theories in calculus are pretty fundamental and pretty easy to grasp. You’ll learn 3 basic concepts in Calculus I- the limit, differentiation and integration. When you begin to see how they work and what they do, it is powerful. Don’t let anything scare you off, especially what other people say.

Most of the people talking about how horrendous calculus is are the same people who don’t do any homework or blow off class and try to cram the night before the exam and wonder why they walk out of there with 30s on their tests. Mathematics is a language, and just as you wouldn’t try to learn French overnight, you cannot learn Calculus, Trig, Algebra, etc. over night. It takes repetition, constant drilling and then more. Make it second nature and you’ll do just fine.

Alright cool. I appreciate the encouragement. The only experience I have with Calculus is when I was in high school some of my classmates took it. The horror stories came from them.

I’ve actually always been really good at Algebra. When I apply myself, I’m pretty good at math in general. I think it’s mostly because there are a strict set of rules that math follows, and I work very well under rigid conditions.