What Kind of Math Is College Math? (2023)

If you’re a future college student that’s about to step through those higher education doors or a freshman in college. That probably should have taken the CLEP exam to bypass any entry-level math courses. The idea of taking a college-level Math course could be pretty daunting and discouraging to some.

Common questions like how hard college-level math is or what is calculus? To name a few has been circulating the internet since the very invention of the internet.

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People ask questions because they want to know what they’re getting themselves into before anything else. Another reason is the fear of failure. This short article will briefly discuss the different types of math classes, the level of difficulty, and what exactly is college math?

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What is college-level math?

Entry-level math in college is considered the stepping stone to more advanced math. Algebra 1, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus 1 are the basic math classes. Once you have successfully navigated through these courses, you can trail blazed through more advanced courses.

College-level math can be tricky if you don’t have a working understanding of Algebra and Discrete Mathematics. But if you’ve taken algebra before and the latter course, you’ll be fine.

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So, if you find yourself as a high school student reading this article, prepare now! On the other hand, if you’re a college student, there are options and alternatives you can start with discrete math.

What are the different levels of math classes?

1- Algebra 1

2- Algebra 2

3- Trigonometry

4- Geometry

5- Precalculus


What is the easiest math class?

According to brilliant.org, “Discrete mathematics is the study of mathematical structures that are countable or otherwise distinct and separable….. Thus, discrete mathematics is in contrast to continuous mathematics, which deals with structures which can range in value over the real numbers, or have some non-separable quality.”

For students with a weak background in math, one of the courses you can take is Discrete Math. In some colleges or universities, this type of math might be known as math 100 or finite mathematics. Discrete math consists of logic, set theory, number theory, combinations, permutations, series, sequins, and determinants.

From this map, students will learn how to solve problems more effectively, communicate reason mathematically, and create mathematical representations to solve problems using technology or drawings. Finally, students will also learn the value of mathematics in a way that makes sense.

Which math class is the most difficult?

The most complex math level is math 55 is said to be the most demanding math class at Harvard. Math 55 is the equivalent of having a full-time job with the extra study time being overtime. The course starts by introducing abstract algebra with an emphasis on group theory and linear algebra. Math 55, or honors advanced calculus, is designed to speed up the undergrad process by compiling 4 -semesters into 2-semesters. Students are expected to submit 15- 20 pages of coursework each week. Scoring a 50 on the entry-level exam is considered a passing score.

What is the hardest calculus course to take?

The calculus-3 is one of the most challenging types of math. Calculus-3 covers multivariable expressions and the integration and differentiation of these variables. It takes a great deal of work, critical thinking, and close examination to solve these problems.

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What physics class is the hardest to pass?

The hardest physics class is quantum gravity. Since quantum gravity is a form of theoretical physics, this study attempts to unite quantum mechanics to quantum gravity. Quantum mechanics views particles as waves of infinite uncertainty. Math is represented with the Schrodinger equation that analyzes probability waves through space and time where properties are uncertain.

What is the most complicated topic in calculus?

Calculus 3 is just hard. It’s also called multivariate/multivariable. That name alone makes calculus-3 seem extremely hard.

The actual topic that makes the class such a pain is the focus on integration and differentiation with multiple variables. In a nutshell, this course tackles integration and differentiation with multiple variables included. Calculus also covers limited derivatives and integrals.

However, one would imagine if you’ve made it up to calculus-3, you’re probably on to something.

Is calculus that hard to learn?

Calculus may seem daunting or discouraging to some. But calculus is just a combination of algebra and trigonometry with limits. However, you do have to have a pretty adequate, if not decent, understanding of algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, which is nothing that you can’t brush up on or learn. Once you have a good working understanding of algebra and trigonometry, you will do pretty well in calculus.

Could Trig possibly be harder?

Maybe it’s the name or the shortened version. Trigonometry is not that much harder than calculus. It’s just inputting values to solve the equation. If you already know geometry, then you are halfway there. Problems are different from algebra, so maybe that’s why people feel anxious about the subject. On the other hand, you may not feel confident at first. You have to practice and step out of your comfort zone.

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How can I improve in statistics?

Statistics is one of those subjects that you have to understand everything to apply Then, to solve the problem.

  1. Study the basics of statistics
  1. Block out time every day to practice and more practice!
  1. Stay calm and purchase a study guide!
  1. One of the best things you could do for yourself is to solve the problems by yourself. If you get the problem wrong, try to figure out why you got it wrong or have someone explain it to you. Learning from your mistakes is critical!
  1. Don’t try to memorize every single formula. It will come with time.
  1. If you are still having trouble, there’s no shame in asking for help just get a tutor.

Why do math experts hate statistics?

Many experts hate statistics and machine learning because, often, there is no answer. Statistics works with computers; therefore, they have to solve problems that do not exist in the real world.

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What Kind of Math Is College Math? ›

What is college-level math? Entry-level math in college is considered the stepping stone to more advanced math. Algebra 1, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus 1 are the basic math classes. Once you have successfully navigated through these courses, you can trail blazed through more advanced courses.

What level of math is college math? ›

What is college-level math? Entry-level math in college is considered the stepping stone to more advanced math. Algebra 1, trigonometry, geometry, and calculus 1 are the basic math classes. Once you have successfully navigated through these courses, you can trail blazed through more advanced courses.

What kind of math do you have to take in college? ›

Under the core, any student who plans to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree needs to take at least one semester of calculus. In addition, some Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees majors and minors (such as physics or economics) require calculus.

Is college math similar to high school math? ›

In general, though, college math is more theoretical and abstract than high school math. They are more concerned with ideas in general than with calculation procedures. Many college math classes, particularly those required for math majors, are proof-based, while most high school classes aren't.

What level is college algebra? ›

College algebra is a transfer level algebra course offered at many California community colleges and CSU campuses and generally has a prerequisite of intermediate algebra.

What math class is college algebra? ›

Math 4: College Algebra for STEM Majors

This course is intended for students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics (STEM). Math 4 in combination with Math 3 (Trigonometry with applications) serves as a prerequisite for Math 7 (Calculus 1).

What's the easiest college math class? ›

Statistics courses can be more manageable for some students because the material is less theoretical and more applied than more complicated math courses such as differential equations. Finite Math: Finite math refers to a variety of math courses that do not involve calculus.

Can you pass college without math? ›

As long as you don't specialize in math or science education, you can complete your degree without taking math courses. Education graduates have a lot of career options.

What math do college freshman usually take? ›

Traditionally, freshmen enroll in Algebra, Geometry, Honors Geometry, or Honors Algebra II.

What is the lowest college level math? ›

Short answer: Algebra II. Theses classes are the “lowest” math classes that you can receive credit for at most colleges, and these two classes are required for almost every major.

Why is college math hard? ›

“The sequential nature of math coupled with its own vocabulary, need for persistent studying, and the speed at which math is taught in higher education, with approximately 15 weeks in a semester, creates major problems for college students.” All of this mathematical jargon can be tough to retain, so it's important to ...

Is college math multiple choice? ›

The CLEP College Mathematics Test is a computer-based test that consists of approximately 60 multiple-choice questions that can be answered in 90 minutes.

What is college math called in high school? ›


It examines series and sequences, probability, limits, derivatives, and statistics. Many seniors take this class in preparation for the study of college mathematics.

What is college algebra called now? ›

MATH 1513 Precalculus I

Formerly known as College Algebra, MATH 1513 is the traditional starting point for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) majors. This gives you a solid foundation to help you succeed in future courses like Chemistry, Physics, and Calculus.

Is college algebra harder? ›

Is College Algebra difficult? College Algebra is not difficult if you've taken Pre-Algebra and Algebra in the past and done well. However, if you haven't done well, or it's a been a while since you've taken Pre-Algebra and Algebra, College Algebra will be difficult.

Is algebra 2 equivalent to college algebra? ›

Can College Algebra be used as an equivalent for Advanced Algebra or Algebra II for high school graduation requirements? No. Students should have already completed Algebra II/Advanced Algebra or its equivalent. College Algebra is not an equivalent of Advanced Algebra or Algebra II.

Is math college algebra easy? ›

College algebra is usually a pre-requisite for higher level math courses and science degrees. Although it can be a little bit tricky, mastering these concepts is necessary to moving forward in math. There is no fast and simple way to pass college algebra.

What is the hardest math in college? ›

Advanced Calculus is the hardest math subject, according to college professors. One of the main reasons students struggle to understand the concepts in Advanced Calculus is because they do not have a good mathematical foundation. Calculus builds on the algebraic concepts learned in previous classes.

How can I be good at college algebra? ›

How to Pass College Algebra
  1. Focus on Class Time. Missing even a single college algebra class can make it hard to stay on track. ...
  2. Know Your Calculator. If you haven't used a graphing calculator before, you should get familiar with it before class starts. ...
  3. Study Hard. ...
  4. Know How to Take the Tests. ...
  5. Get Online Help.

What is the hardest math? ›

5 of the world's toughest unsolved maths problems
  1. Separatrix Separation. A pendulum in motion can either swing from side to side or turn in a continuous circle. ...
  2. Navier–Stokes. ...
  3. Exponents and dimensions. ...
  4. Impossibility theorems. ...
  5. Spin glass.
Feb 7, 2019

What if I fail a math class in college? ›

If you fail a class, you'll get a 0 on your transcript — and that can bring down your GPA. Failed classes count toward your GPA, though some colleges do not count pass/fail classes in your GPA calculation. If you get an F, you still have to pay for the class without receiving any credit toward your degree.

What majors require no math in college? ›

Without further ado, here are 10 degrees or majors that don't require math but still prepare you for a lifetime of high earning potential:
  • Nursing. ...
  • Graphic Design. ...
  • Diagnostic Medical Sonography. ...
  • Business Administration. ...
  • Public Relations. ...
  • Construction Management. ...
  • Paralegal Studies. ...
  • Marketing.
Aug 1, 2022

What to do if you are failing math? ›

4 Ways to Get Grades Up When Failing Math
  1. Get Grades Up-Suggestions. Look at the Numbers.
  2. Let's take this common situation as an example:
  3. Talk to the Teacher.
  4. Make Requests.
  5. Beef Up Basic Skills.
Aug 11, 2020

Do colleges prefer calculus or statistics? ›

But for many other students, calculus isn't the math course that will most help them—the right course often is statistics. But most admissions counselors have favored calculus (in many cases informally), the report says, and that hurts students.

How do you pass math in college? ›

Math Study Tips
  1. Study outside of class regularly. ...
  2. Read your textbooks. ...
  3. Get good at taking notes class. ...
  4. Make summary sheets. ...
  5. Practice all problems until you have mastered the ability to solve and check them.
  6. Be aware of what topics you know well, which topics need more practice and which topics you don't know at all.

How many classes should I take freshman year of college? ›

Some students, though, take 18 credits or more per semester, but sticking to 15 your first semester is a good idea, especially while you adjust. However, it's important, to be honest with yourself, your goals, and your scheduling before overdoing it. Too many classes can easily lead to F's in several of them.

What level of college students have math anxiety? ›

The data analyses used descriptive statistics and confirmatory factor analysis with structural equation modeling of the Lisrel program. The findings show that the levels of all aspects of students' mathematics anxieties in online mathematics learning were at the moderate level.

What is the most basic level of math? ›

Generally, counting, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are called the basic math operation. The other mathematical concept are built on top of the above 4 operations.

Can I take college algebra if I didn't take algebra 2? ›

If passing algebra 2 is not a possibility for a student, many community colleges do not have an algebra 2 requirement for admission or offer different math pathways for students entering the programs, so looking at these schools as a pit stop before entry into a four-year university may be a good path for students in ...

How many students fail college math? ›

50 percent of students don't pass college algebra with a grade of C or above, according to a recent report from the Mathematical Association of America.

What is the failure rate for calculus? ›

I have been amazed to discover that across the country it is typical that 25 or 30% of students who take their first calculus course in college fail.

How do you survive college math? ›

Tips for being successful in math courses
  1. Put in the appropriate amount of work. ...
  2. Put in the appropriate quality of work. ...
  3. Understand the learning process. ...
  4. Read the textbook. ...
  5. Start the homework early. ...
  6. Make use of office hours. ...
  7. Use tutors appropriately. ...
  8. Understand that math isn't about memorization.

Can I test out of college math classes? ›

You can test out of college courses and get credit through a system called credit by exam, which allows students to earn the same credits by taking one proficiency test instead of an entire semester-long course.

Do colleges look at math grades? ›

Math, science, social sciences, foreign language, and English are the pillars of a high school's core curriculum. In the eyes of admissions officers, core courses are what make or break a transcript. These are the high school classes colleges look for on applications.

What college majors use a lot of math? ›

D. to be considered for the lucrative career path that you want to pursue.
  • Physicist. Physicists obviously need to understand math to do their jobs effectively. ...
  • Mathematician. ...
  • Aerospace Engineer. ...
  • Economist. ...
  • Actuary. ...
  • Statistician. ...
  • Cryptographer. ...
  • Financial Analyst.

What math should I take senior year? ›

By 12th grade, most students will have completed Algebra I, Algebra II, and Geometry, so high school seniors may want to focus on a higher level mathematics course such as Precalculus or Trigonometry. Students taking an advanced mathematics course will learn concepts like: Graphing exponential and logarithmic functions.

What grade is calculus taught? ›

Calculus is usually taken by high-school seniors or university freshmen, but can occasionally be taken as early as tenth grade.

What math do 11th graders take? ›

Typically, students in grade 11 take Algebra II (if they followed the traditional course sequence: Algebra I in 9th grade, and Geometry in 10th grade). However, some students may be able to take Algebra I while still in 8th grade. In those cases, both 11th and 12th grade become open for advanced math options.

Is college algebra harder than precalculus? ›

Precalculus is a more advanced course than College Algebra. The prerequisite for Precalculus is a grade of C or better in College Algebra or the equivalent. By the equivalent, we mean a grade of B or better in one of the high school courses listed in (1) above.

Is college algebra just algebra 1 and 2? ›

College Algebra covers the same material as Algebra I & II from high school. There may be heavier emphasis on topics pertinent to follow on math classes (statistics & calculus) but the material is largely the same.

What does college algebra go over? ›

The test includes questions on basic algebraic operations; linear and quadratic equations, inequalities, and graphs; algebraic, exponential, and logarithmic functions; and miscellaneous other topics. It's assumed that test takers are familiar with currently taught algebraic vocabulary, symbols, and notation.

How many people fail college algebra? ›

Research from the National Center for Education Statistics reveals 51% of students in remedial algebra classes at two-year schools and 41% at four-year schools never earn a passing grade.

Do I really need college algebra? ›

It's not really needed. And it's not relevant for their fields.” College algebra, listed as a freshman-level math requirement at most major universities, is designed to prepare students for calculus. But only about 20% of majors require higher-level math.

What grade is passing in college algebra? ›

College Algebra is a required course for your general education classes. Most Colleges will not allow you to move past this course until you achieve a grade of C + or better. Although, technically a passing grade in college is considered a D.

Is college algebra enough for calculus? ›

In some sense, the prerequisite for Calculus is to have an overall comfort with algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. After all, each new topic in math builds on previous topics, which is why mastery at each stage is so important.

Can you test out of college algebra? ›

By taking and passing the CLEP College Algebra exam, you can skip the algebra class at college. This will potentially: Allow you to earn three or more college credits.

Can you skip algebra 1 and go to algebra 2? ›

Yes, depending on the student. Taking algebra 2 directly after algebra 1, and then taking geometry is just fine for some students, but I do not recommend this if the student struggles with math (or is somewhat math resistant). It can be a tougher road to go.

Is math 098 college level? ›

MATH 098 Introduction to Mathematical Thinking

This course prepares students for college-level mathematics.

Is math 99 college level? ›

MATH 99 is an Extended Studies course designed to sharpen the basic mathematical skills needed in college-level mathematics. Successful completion of MATH 99 satisfies the prerequisite for MATH 1040 (College Algebra).

Is math 101 college level? ›

Math 101 is a course for students who need to improve their algebraic skills before taking a higher level course such as Math 130, Math 151, Math 160, or Math 235. It focuses on algebraic topics needed for success in college mathematics, and their applications.

Is math 095 college level? ›

Includes current topics, advanced topics and special topics. This course prepares students for college level mathematics.

What level is math 123 in college? ›

MATH 123 Intermediate Algebra II.

How hard is college algebra? ›

College Algebra is not difficult if you've taken Pre-Algebra and Algebra in the past and done well. However, if you haven't done well, or it's a been a while since you've taken Pre-Algebra and Algebra, College Algebra will be difficult.

What math is math 101 in college? ›

This course is a study of college algebra. Topics in this course include the real number system, exponents and radicals, relations and functions, linear and quadratic functions, inequalities, complex numbers, theory of equations, systems of equations, and the remainder and factor theorems.

Is math 102 easy? ›

Math 102 is a challenging course that demands consistent hard work throughout the semester. Because of this, and because of various misconceptions about mathematics, the pass rate for the Math 102 is usually under 50%.

What level is math 110 in college? ›

Math 110: College Algebra.


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