# Preparing for Calculus at USAFA

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by baileydb, May 5, 2015.

1. ### baileydbMember

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I was wondering if some current cadets can give me some advice on preparing for Calc next year. Do you guys think it is necessary to memorize the unit circle, trig identities, and things like that before arriving? In my high school, we were allowed to use notes so we didn't have to memorize these so I was wondering if this would be the case at USAFA. Also, is it of any benefit to save my notes from this year and bring them with to help study for next year? (I am in AP Calc AB currently)

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Bailey - I think you need to relax, spend the remaining time you have with friends and family, and enjoy yourself for the next several weeks. You'll have everything you need for Calculus when you get there & if you need help, that's what Extra Instruction (EI) is for. No more stressing! Go out & have some fun!

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3. ### BlahuKahuna5-Year Member

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To be honest, the unit circle plays pretty much no role in Calc 1 here. Basic trig is always good to know, but I used it a lot more in physics. I would focus on making sure you can do basic derivatives/anti-derivatives without thinking about it. There are a number of quizzes/tests that are basically just taking derivatives, and they design the course so that you'll fail if you fail these tests.

I've never been super strong in math (probably why it took me two tries to get in), so I put in a semester studying calc 4-6 hours a day in my university's math center and with various tutors. It was pretty brutal, but saved my butt when Calc 1 here seemed easy.

So long answer to a short question-yes, memorize a few things, mostly derivatives, but learn how to study. The concepts in Calc 1 are presented pretty logically, so as long as you feel confident with basic algebra and trig coming out of high school and know the basic derivative rules, you should be just fine in calc here.

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4. ### baileydbMember

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Thank you both for your advice! In these past three weeks or so I really had to buckle down and study Calculus like crazy, so it'll be great to get a break from it for the summer!

5. ### fencersmother5-Year MemberFounding Member

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For the summer... likely to be a short-ish summer.

6. ### NavyHoopsSuper Moderator5-Year Member

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Relax, enjoy the last few weeks of freedom is all you need right now. When the academic year starts find the best study pattern (location, note taking, study techniques, etc) that work for you. Get help when needed and put away the phone during study time. You will do fine.

7. ### fencersmother5-Year MemberFounding Member

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My son said his best advice is to find out which floor in the library they don't check for sleeping cadets. That should solve all your problems Bailey.

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8. ### hornetguy10-Year Member

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Enjoy the summer.

1. Take your notes with you, they may come in handy.
2. Be willing to seek assistance (EI) from an instructor the moment you feel you need help, don't wait. Many don't seek help when they need it (pride, laziness, not used to needing it, etc.).
3. Bust your butt and use your time wisely as a doolie.

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9. ### fencersmother5-Year MemberFounding Member

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Hornet is wise. He was in charge of one of my sons when son was a doolie. Hornet, I still remember talking to you that first parents weekend!

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So true...

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11. ### hornetguy10-Year Member

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What a wild ride, eh? Crazy that it has been about 8 years.

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12. ### fencersmother5-Year MemberFounding Member

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That's right, Hornet!!! I had forgotten about The Meet-up at the Olive Garden which you arranged!!!

Long strange ride, totally worth every second.

13. ### InvisibilityMember

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You're going to be fine! If you really WANT to study, then algebra and basic derivatives and integrals are your friend. I recommend enjoying the next six weeks... you're not going to have this much freedom again for 4 long years. Just be prepared to hit the ground running & have good study habits. If you are smart enough to get into USAFA, you are plenty smart enough to succeed here... you just need to work is all.

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