Statistics courses that don't have calculus as a prerequisite are useless, as far as math is concerned. You will have a very hard time in calculus if you don't have a very solid grasp of algebra and trigonometry. Depending on how advanced the course gets, you should have a good working knowledge of the following before taking the course (listed in order of what you learn in a standard math sequence):
1) Excellent arithmetic/basic algebra skills: working with fractions, exponents, radicals, factoring, etc. You'd be surprised at how many COLLEGE students struggle with calculus because of a lack in these areas
2) Solving and graphing equations: linear, quadratic, sketching graphs for degree higher than 2 polynomials, exponential, logarithmic. A good understanding of slope of a line is also essential.
3) Basic trig: calculating trig functions of given angles, graphing trig functions, using trig identities to manipulate trigonometric expressions, solving trig equations
4) Limits: taking limits and understanding what limits are. This may be covered/reviewed at the beginning of the course but is generally covered in "Pre-calc"
If you feel comfortable with these things then you should be fine, if not then you will definitely struggle. The most common shortcomings I see are unfortunately lack of algebra skills. However, if you can get to the point of feeling prepared, a good understanding of calculus can change how you see the world! It really is a beautiful subject with some amazing stuff in there.
College math teacher
· 6 years ago