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Should I take calculus?

I'm in high school right now wanting to pursue an education in business/economics, and I'm wondering if I should take calculus in my senior year. Any advice? #math #business #career #econ #economics #highschool #school #professional #university


In fact, calculus is good to know in almost every situation. It is considered as the most "active" field of math, while others are considered more "passive", since calculus is capable of dealing with "changes" and "time" more easily. For example, geometry deals with shapes, but the shapes really don't move a lot. Even if there is a moving point in a problem, it can still be transferred to a calculus problem anyways. This is the key of the importance of calculus: it can interpret change. Therefore, I recommend learning calculus as deeply as possible. I swear it will help with finding and interpreting how things change. Junhyuck J.

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George’s Answer

Hello Danieh - many business majors, especially those with an emphasis on finance, will require a business calculas class in college. Even though the business calculus class would probably use more computer software applications than the high school calculus class, it would be good to have the calculus foundation going into college. Most high schools will offer AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC. AB is one semester of college calculus spread over the entire year, while BC will cover two semesters of college calculus. Not only will these classes provide a good foundation for college, they will also provide you the opportunity to earn college credit. In addition to AP courses, some high schools also offer the opportunity for dual credit classes to earn college credit. Even though computer software is used when you are in the business world, it is important to understand the formulas and calculations. AP Statistics (and/or dual credit) is also a good option for business majors. Marketing and Marketing Research majors will usually require at least an introduction to statistics class. It is important to analyze data whether looking at decisions to introduce new products, cost analysis and product design. Data driven decisions are made in every aspect of every business. Hope this helps...good luck to you!

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Richard’s Answer

My son studied economics and has received job offers in consulting/investment banking so I will answer from the perspective of his advice.

Very few business programs will require more than a nominal amount of calculus (general education requirements may require more calc than the program). For serious economics programs, however, calculus is paramount and central to the theory. A PhD in economics generally requires Real Analysis, which is a very serious and mathematically rigorous look at calculus.

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Giovanni’s Answer

Hello Danieh,

If you plan on majoring in business yes. It is a requirement for most business degrees. Depending on your school, whether community college or university, and undergraduate needs Calculus in order to obtain the credit towards degree completion. Calculus will help you learn many formulas that will later be needed in the business world depending on role. Calculus is interesting when it comes to learning math because it's challenging yet rewarding if learned and practiced with eager and patience. I hope this helps you decide on whether Calculus is something you want to do when it comes to classes in college/university. Thank you.

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Heidy’s Answer

I agree taking calculus in high school with fewer students and a dedicated teacher is much better than taking calculus in a room with 100 students and a professor that is lecturing for 1 hour and not really helping students individually. In college the Teacher assistants host another class to help provide additional assistance to students in a smaller setting around 30 students (this helps). The best is to take the classes in high school when you have more time to focus on understanding the concepts because the concepts get more difficult to understand as you move into higher math. For students that do not have exposure to calculus, the economic classes can be more challenging, but students can still learn the require math behind economics if they truly love learning about economics.

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Charles’s Answer

I took Calculus my senior year in high school and I found it very beneficial. One, it will help down the road with college math. I was so glad when I got to my economics and higher level business classes in college, that I took Calculus in High School. It really does help you prepare for some of the formulas you will see when you get into your junior and senior years of college. Calculus even helped me in grad school when studying for my MBA and MS in Finance. Even if you do not specifically use Calculus in your other classes the rules of the formulas you study will help you in other classes.

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Brittany’s Answer

Hi Danieh - I would also recommend taking the calculus class if you have the time. Here are some reasons why:

1) MORE PERSONALIZED ATTENTION - Taking the class in high school, means that your class size is more limited and the teacher is giving you more personalized attention through the course (especially compared to college where depending on your major it may be required). And, you likely know the others taking the course in high school to help you through any problem areas.

2) GREAT FOR HIGH SCHOOL TRANSCRIPT - Taking a challenging course like calculus would look great on your high school transcript, especially if you are going for a major in economics/finance. And transcripts are one of the key documents that colleges look at in reviewing your application. It will demonstrates to colleges your level of commitment, your critical thinking skills, and other great attributes. BUT, make sure that you have the time to put in the work for a good grade!

3) HELPS PREPARE YOU FOR COLLEGE CLASSES - Like some other answers have noted, calculus is often one of the harder courses required with many majors that can be used to weed people out (and depending on the college, may have hundreds of people in them). Taking it in high school will make taking the course (or any course that uses the knowledge/skill) in college much easier.

4) POTENTIAL COLLEGE CREDIT - If you decide to take the AP/IB test for college credit, you may not even need to take the course in college. I took Calculus AB in high school, passed the AP test, and the only math I needed to take in college (as a Finance/Marketing major) was one business statistics course.

I think you'll do great regardless of what you decide to do! The only other advice/warning I have is to maintain (or increase) the level of difficulty in your senior year. I was taking all challenging courses my junior year and then took two "easier" courses my senior year of high school (one being a standard level business course). But, I ended up getting waitlisted at a university because they said it looked like I wasn't challenging myself anymore. Hopefully this helps! Good luck!

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Enma Ninoska’s Answer

Hi Danieh,

I actually majored in Economics and for me that required having to take Calculus I and II, which are essentially weeder classes, so they make them much harder. I'd strive to not have to take either in college, but I took Calculus II as I only came in with credit for Calculus I. It was a hard course, and I'd recommend seeing the TA and Professor for help as much as possible, and taking advantage of tutoring sessions. I would recommend you taking Calculus in High School, especially if you can get college credit from it like an AP or IB. Even if you can't get the credit necessary not to have to take it, at least you'll have some foundational knowledge on the subject matter so the classes will be less challenging. If math isn't your strong suit, definitely take advantage of asking your teachers for help and Khan Academy was also a best friend of mine when it came to Math both in High School and for some College Calculus and Statistics.

Best of luck, you'll do great no matter what you end up deciding.

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Giovanni’s Answer

Hello Danieh,

If you plan on majoring in business yes. It is a requirement for most business degrees. Depending on your school, whether community college or university, and undergraduate needs Calculus in order to obtain the credit towards degree completion. Calculus will help you learn many formulas that will later be needed in the business world depending on role. Calculus is interesting when it comes to learning math because it's challenging yet rewarding if learned and practiced with eager and patience. I hope this helps you decide on whether Calculus is something you want to do when it comes to classes in college/university. Thank you.

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Gabriela’s Answer

Hi Danieh,

Taking Calculus in high school has multiple advantages:
- You would be taking it over the course of a year in a high school setting with a teacher who is willing to provide extra help, instead of taking it in a large college class over 4 months with a professor who might have less time to assist.
- After passing the AP exam, you would receive college credit and will not have to take the course in college.
- It will serve as a big bonus point in your college application as you would show the admissions officer that you are serious about pursuing a Business / Economics degree and possess the necessary skills.
- It will increase your knowledge and critical thinking skills, and it will make the college transition easier as you will be better equipped than many of your peers.

I hold a Business degree and took Calculus in high school, and believe that it was the right decision. At the same time, I would recommend to make a list of all your classes and activities to ensure that there are no time commitment constraints, and that you would have enough time to study for your Calculus class.

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Jim’s Answer

If you want to pursue a degree in business/economics in college, then I would recommend taking calculus in your senior year. Calculus is typically a prerequisite for more advanced courses in business/economics, so it is definitely beneficial to get exposed to it early and to potentially get credit for introductory calculus courses (and skip them) in college. If you eventually decide to take calculus, I would also recommend that you aim to gain a firm understanding rather than just aim to pass the exam to get credit. From my experience, certain advanced courses in business/economics may have relatively higher expectations on your knowledge level in calculus. It benefited me a lot to learn beyond the passing level.

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Cole’s Answer

Definitely yes! I majored in Economics and that is one of the prerequisites for the major, so if you are able to take it during high school you may be able to skip the college course or if not, at least have an easier time already having learned much of the information. Economics classes are heavily formula based, and often use derivations and other skills learned in calculus.

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Eamon’s Answer

I am a student currently studying economics at Georgetown University, and I took calculus in high school. It has been a huge help! I very much recommend taking a calculus class in high school if you can because the quantitative skills that you acquire in a calculus class help a lot with understanding upper level economics concepts. Hope this helps!

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Elizabeth’s Answer

I would recommend taking calculus in high school if you can. It will most likely be required for a business/economics major and taking it in high school will better prepare you. I did not take it in high school and regretted it.

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Sam’s Answer

Absolutely! The stronger your math skills, the better you will be in the business world. Numbers and formulas are everywhere, so sharpen those skills and set yourself up with a solid foundation to succeed.

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Allison’s Answer

Hi Danieh,

Great question!

Most business programs require some form of calculus (general or business). In addition, economics can be a very math-heavy major depending on which University you attend. I had one economics course specifically that ONLY did calculus for an entire semester. I would highly recommend taking calculus to build your skills before college and give yourself a headstart!

Good luck!

Alli Raddant

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JAYAKRISHNAN’s Answer

Yes ! having an option to learn calculus is great, There are many fields of finance as well as other disciplines where you can actually use the practical application of calculus

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JAYAKRISHNAN’s Answer

Yes ! having an option to learn calculus is great, There are many fields of finance as well as other disciplines where you can actually use the practical application of calculus

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Daren’s Answer

I would absolutely recommend taking calculus in high school, especially if you are interested in pursuing economics. Most economics programs will require Calculus I, and many will require Calculus II. Even if you decide to go another route academically, calculus is a core subject in many other disciplines, such as engineering and computer science. I wasn't super excited about taking calculus in high school, but I ended up loving it and I chose to continue taking calculus and other math classes in college. If I hadn't taken calculus in high school, I probably never would've explored that path in college and wouldn't be where I am today!

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qiuhua’s Answer

My major is economics. I agree that calculus is required for economics and it certainly will be beneficial for future economic class. However business and economics are very different. I don't think calculus is required for business. Besides, calculus involves lot of calculation and math, so it will take a lot of time. If you plan to major in business, it may not be needed.

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Theodore’s Answer

Yes, for an undergrad in business, calculus 1 is a requirement and calculus 2 is sometimes optional but in my opinion crucial. Most masters programs will recommend calculus 3. I would take it now in high school where the stakes are low so that when you have to take it in college it will be old information and you can excel in the course. Good luck!

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Analise’s Answer

Hi Danieh - Great question! For background, I am currently a 3rd year university student studying business. I would definitely suggest taking calculus as you will most likely need the knowledge or have to take the class for your business degree. If you have IB or AP calculus courses at your school, I would suggest taking those as you can get college credit for them and you may not have to take calculus in college. But even if those options are not available to you, I would still suggest taking calculus as it can help make your college math and business classes a little easier with the background knowledge you will have.

Hope this helps!

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Siddharth’s Answer

If you are going into business or economics majors, you most certainly need to have a background in mathematics, statistics and calculus. Hence, it is definitely in your best interest to take up calculus early on in your academic career. It is undoubtedly going to help you in the long run.

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Joel’s Answer

It would be better to get an understanding of Calc in high school and apply that understanding when you get to college. I started out in the Advanced Placement calculus course in high school which was equivalent to the college level Calc I class - I struggled mightily - maybe I'm just not that smart. I then finished the remainder of the year taking basic calculus. It saved my high school GPA. I can attest that the college level AP course was significantly harder than the basic program... the slower pace of the basic program allowed me to get a good understanding of the basics of calculus, so when I did take Calc I in college, it wasn't such a struggle.

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Syed’s Answer

Hi Danieh,

I highly recommend taking calculus in high school, especially the Advanced Placement course or IB version if available. Calculus is a foundational math for economics and is usually a requirement for top business schools. If you place out of calculus through college credits in high school, you can avoid the competitive “weeder” Calculus 1 and Calculus 2 courses at the college level. In college, these classes typically have 100s of students and a difficult grading curve.

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Matt’s Answer

If you plan to major in business then I would take calculus senior year. As calculus is a prerequisite for business majors at most universities or colleges, having an extensive understanding of it will help you get ahead in your college course and help you receive a better grade. Especially because your high school course will most likely be more hands on and your teacher will be able to work with you more. Having that knowledge going in will be an advantage.

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Meenoch’s Answer

Yes- Most colleges will require Calculus I and II (sometimes with Pre-Calc incorporated) as a requirement for Economic or Business related majors. It would be a good idea to get AP credit for those while in high school, which will free up more time to take other courses that may be of more direct interest to you. I would strongly recommend completing them in high school.

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Kalin’s Answer

Hi, I took both Calculus 1 and 2 and thought it was very beneficial for future classes, especially in college! It is a more rigorous class that most, but with enough practice and good study habits, it is very attainable! I have only taken a few business and economics classes, but I'm sure it would be somewhat relevant material for those classes and several others (such as if you ever take physics which uses Calculus).

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Kendall’s Answer

I have always regretted not choosing Statistics over Calculus. Calculus is more difficult and has less impact on actually life needs.

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