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Duke University

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UCLA

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Unweighted GPA:** 3.7**

1.0

4.0

SAT: **720 math**

200

800

| **800 verbal**

200

800

Low accuracy (4 of 18 factors)

I need to choose between discrete mathematics and calculus as my math elective for next year. Could anyone provide some insight into the differences between these two courses, their difficulty, and real-world applications? Thanks!

10 months ago

Discrete mathematics and calculus are both valuable subjects that serve different purposes depending on your interests and goals.

Discrete mathematics, as the name suggests, deals with discrete structures and concepts. It covers topics such as sets, logic, graph theory, combinatorics, and elementary number theory. The subject often involves solving problems through critical thinking and rigorous reasoning. Discrete mathematics has applications in fields like computer science, cryptography, and algorithms. If you're interested in computer science or plan on pursuing a career in technology, discrete mathematics can be highly beneficial.

Calculus, on the other hand, focuses on the study of continuous change and models real-world phenomena through the concepts of limits, derivatives, and integrals. It is used extensively in fields like physics, engineering, and economics to model and analyze systems. Calculus is typically divided into two parts: differential calculus (dealing with rates of change) and integral calculus (dealing with the accumulation of quantities). If you're considering a career in any of the above fields, calculus can be extremely advantageous.

As for difficulty, both subjects can be challenging in their own right. Discrete mathematics has a largely proof-based structure, which may be a new territory for some students. Calculus, meanwhile, focuses on continuous change and requires strong algebra and trigonometry skills. Ultimately, the difficulty will depend on your aptitude and interest in these subject areas.

To make a decision, consider your interests and future academic or career goals. If you're leaning towards computer science, technology, or prefer logical reasoning and proofs, discrete mathematics could be a better fit. If you're interested in physics, engineering, or economics, or have strong algebra and trigonometry skills, calculus may be the more suitable choice.

In any case, both subjects have their own merits and applications, and taking either one will certainly expand your mathematical knowledge and problem-solving abilities. Good luck!

10 months ago

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