Mathematics: What You Need to Learn Calculus

Pre-requisites For Calculus

Sir Isaac Newton
Sir Isaac Newton. http://www.newton.cam.ac.uk/art/portrait.html) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Calculus is the study of rates of change. Calculus is the foundation for math, science and technology fields; it paves the way.

Are you one of those students who's wondering how to become successful in Calculus? Calculus is a subject in math that requires success in previous topics. This listing which draws heavily upon the skills needed in Algebra and Algebra II will help you identify your areas of weakness or strengths and can be used to assist you to prepare for Calculus.

What You Need

  • Real Numbers (Commutative Properties, Associative Properties, Distributive Properties, Density Properties, Identity Properties), Exponents, and Radicals.
  • Factoring.
  • Distance Formula (know and apply) and Midpoint Formula (know and apply).
  • Quadratic Equations
  • Use and apply Trigonometric Formulas.
  • A good grounding in Conics.
  • The slope of a Line, Rise Over Run.
  • Complex Numbers
  • You Will Need a Comfort Level with Matrices and Graph Theory.
  • You Will Need to Know Components of a Vector and Polar Conversion Equations.
  • You Will Need An Understanding of Sequences, Series and Probability.

Concepts in Calculus must be fully understood in order for you to become successful. You must go beyond learning the procedures and move toward having a conceptual understanding. In order to do this, you need to practice and work on a variety of problems. As a rule of thumb, for each hour you spend in an instructional setting, you need 3 hours of practice! Sound like lots? It is time well spent! Another way of knowing that you fully understand is to explain how you arrived at your solutions. My favorite line in a math class is to ask my students to answer the question "How do you know?" or 'Prove to me that you're right". Become an active learner, you cannot become successful in Calculus if you are not active! If you're the type who likes to memorize formulas, you're in trouble! Most Calculus problems cannot be solved with the application of a simple formula. Once again, work toward understanding.​

Keep on track! If you find yourself falling behind, get help immediately or work with a group of friends. Do not fall behind.