Math 115 vs Math 116

Submitted by tdcarl on July 10th, 2010 at 1:59 AM

Alright, so I'm faced with a bit of a situation here...(and I'll probably get some comments complaining about freshmen). I'm sure you students/alumni have probably heard this debate a ton, but I just need some feedback.


So my problem is that I'm stuck trying to decide whether I should take Math 115 or Math 116 my first semester this fall. I talked with the math advisor, but at the time I had no idea of my AP status, but I have since found out that I have AP credit for Math 115, so there are basically 4 free credits there. However, I'm also taking Chem 210/211 (organic) this fall as part of my BME requirements.  Switching out of Chem 210/211 isn't an option. I'm currently signed up for Math 116, but I'm hearing a lot of rabble from people that Calc II and Orgo together aren't exactly the best way to start out and I'm just setting myself up for failure. I thought I understood calc I enough, but I'm hearing a lot about a Michigan Difference in math that could give me a lot of trouble.


I hate to throw out free credits and retake a class, but it would be worse to just murder my gpa/soul if calc II is crazy. I'm just wondering if any of you out there have done this and/or know people who have, and how it went for you.


Other things to consider:

  • I'm only signed up for 13 credits
  • If I accept the AP calc credit and start with Math 116 I'll bring with me 13 credits from AP's (4 from calc, 4 from psychology, 5 from biology). If not I throw out 4 free credits and enter with 9
  • I need a 3.2 gpa to declare BME my major





July 10th, 2010 at 2:03 AM ^

I've taken both orgos and let me tell you that they are no picnic. What you can do is sign up for both sections of math, and depending on your ap score, drop one when you know what you need to take. Just a word of advice, it may be worth it to take calc 1 over again while you're taking orgo. It will only help to boost your gpa and let you focus on orgo.


July 10th, 2010 at 2:08 AM ^

My HS didn't offer AP classes, so I was required to take Math 115.  It was an absolute breeze.  I don't believe it covered anything I hadn't already learned in HS Calc.  If you did well in HS calc, I would take the AP credits and skip Math 115.  I did find Math 116 a lot more demanding, so you should be careful wih the number of other demanding classes you sign up for during the same semester.  Of course my opinnion assumes that Math 115/116 have not changed during the past 10 years.


July 10th, 2010 at 2:15 AM ^

I was in a similar situation in 04. I decided to take 115 at UM. It's still much more difficult than it was in AP classes, but it's a good way to get used to math classes at the U. I'll admit that I wasn't prepared for my first year at college. High school wasn't challenging enough, so I wanted to ease myself into it.

If you're strong in math, were challenged in high school, and can kee yourself organized, you should be fine if you take 116. It just requires qutie a bit more work.


July 10th, 2010 at 9:47 AM ^

I too did AP in HS, but didn't feel confident enough in my math skilllllz to jump right into Calc 2 while acclimating to college life at the same time, so I decided to do Calc 1.

It ended up being fairly easy going in 115 and 116, but I think I got a bit too cocky for when I hit 215.

I also had a crappy situation for 215 where my prof had an accident two weeks in so the rest of the semester was taught by two other profs.  Then the original prof came back for the last two weeks.  It was really hard to learn anything like that.

The best advise I got way after the fact was:  If you can't get into the best prof's lecture because it filled up to fast, go ahead and sign up for whatever lecture you can get, but attend the lecture of the best prof.  Guy I know did that and scored considerably higher than the class average for the crappy prof.


July 10th, 2010 at 2:08 AM ^

I took Calc I at Lansing Community College, but the credit didn't transfer because my high school slapped the credits on my transcript and I didn't feel like fighting it.  I thought taking 115 gave me a much better grasp of the material.

That said, I didn't find 116 any more difficult than 115.  Where it started being challenging for me was Calc III.  (And Diff. Eq., where I had a terrible instructor.)

So, I would say it depends entirely on your grasp of the Calc I material.  If you've got it down, 116 should be fine.  If you feel like you could use to go over it again, I'd recommend taking 115.


July 10th, 2010 at 2:52 AM ^

That said, I didn't find 116 any more difficult than 115. Where it started being challenging for me was Calc III.

I took both at UofM yet I agree. Math 115: Single variable derivatives (eg., basic derivatives, chain rule, etc.) Math 116: Integration (mostly memorizing anti-derivatives, but also including the rare, yet tedious, 'integration by parts.') Math 215 & 216 is where it started to get confusing. Changing the integration variable in 215, and anything related to Diff Eq is still a bit fuzzy to me.


edit:  I am an engineer; extrapolate as necessary.


July 10th, 2010 at 2:17 AM ^

I'll be completely honest, no offense to those who went to WMU, but I aced Calc 2 at WMU. I thought taking Calc 1 over at Michigan would be a breeze, nope, turned out to get a B in the class. For some it may be a cake walk, but be careful, it's still a class at U of M, and it'll require some effort. I'd recommend 115 over 116. I believe 116 is the most failed class at U of M btw. 


July 10th, 2010 at 2:50 AM ^

MGoChairman might be right that Math 116 is the most failed -- in my day the AP credit allowed you to skip both 100-level courses; however, I do remember people talking about test averages in 116 somewhere in the mid-30s.  I can't quite conceptualize a passing grade meaning that you know a third of the material.  I think the failure rate is mostly due to the fact that 115/116 are weeder classes (as are the preliminary science classes -- orgo, physics) for any field that requires an aptitude in math.  13 credits is quite low so I expect you'll be fine.  Worst case, abuse office hours. 

On a semi-related note, you should SERIOUSLY consider a different path for your major.  I have a graduate degree from the BME department, so please trust me on this.  If you really want an engineering career in the biomedical field, avoid the undergraduate program (it's probably a nice boost if you're planning on the med school route).  You'll get a lot of breadth but no depth as an undergrad, and it severely limits your qualifications for a relevant job post-graduation.  From the corporate standpoint, why hire a BME "who concentrated on biomechanics" when you could hire a mechanical engineer?


July 10th, 2010 at 3:17 AM ^

Personally I passed out of both, but I had a similar story: got a 5 on Calc BC, placed into 215 with the option to take Calc II Honors. I did DISMALLY in 215. DISMALLY. Was not prepared for the courseload at all, coming from a shitty high school did not help. I had a friend in the same boat who took the Honors track and did swimmingly, being from a better high school and having much better study habits.

I went from being HS valedictorian to being glad to pass classes my freshman year at UM when really those were the easiest classes I'd have to take here. I'm an aero major so most of it's self-inflicted difficult classes.

In the CoE you really shouldn't take more than 13 credits your 1st semester, especially with Orgo in there. Focus your efforts on that, take the easier course, get a nice A to count towards your GPA, which is better in the long run than 4 ungraded credits. 116 is indeed the most failed class because lots of unadjusted freshman take it, it's been taught by some subpar profs in the past and also it's the highest math course most LSA kids take.

Good luck!


July 10th, 2010 at 6:15 AM ^

I have heard from numerous people that BME as an undergrad major is to be avoided. Both of my sons, who are in med school, and who finished school at Michigan over the last few years, took different majors (EE and computer engineering) and then received their MS in BME in one year through the SGUS program while applying to med school. SGUS is a great deal which allows you to receive credit for undergraduate level courses if you have a certain GPA.  This is a bit down the road for you but is a plum offered for those with good GPA's. Since you may change your mind between now and the time you graduate as to what you want to do vocationally, I would consider an engineering discipline other than BME.  If you want BME, grad school can easily fill in the blanks.

They both opted out of 115 due to AP placement and had no problem with 116, Personally, I think that the type of HS you attended will make a difference.  My boys both attended a very competitive HS and found Michigan's level of competition to be similar to what they were used to in their AP classes. 

For what it is worth, engineering is a bitch, pure and simple.  You will have more pressure on you than in most other majors.  Regardless, good luck and Go Blue!


July 10th, 2010 at 1:56 PM ^

I have one semester left in SGUS BME and I did BME undergrad.  If I did it over again, I would definitely have done EE undergrad, BME SGUS instead.  BME undergrad leaves you feeling stretched - you have a grasp of a wide variety of things but not in that much depth.


July 10th, 2010 at 1:02 PM ^

We were that ghetto-ass school in the athletic conference that always has to have police at football and basketball games and the rich parents send their kids to private school to avoid sending them here. I had to twist my school's arm into offering BC my senior year, it was literally me and another kid in that class. Our teacher was way too good for our district and had taught her kids BC before, so we had a fighting chance. Calc BC consisted of an extra period after Calc AB every other day during the last half of the year until the AP exam. My graduating class was about 120, I beat the saludatorian by OVER A POINT, and I was the first person in the 100 year history of my district to apply, get into, and attend UM.

Needless to say, I had a nice wake-up call my first semester freshman year.


July 10th, 2010 at 3:37 AM ^

my choice (not a math guy) was between 105/115 ... i dominated math in high school and chose 115 as a freshman ... horrible choice ... i dropped it and didnt even have the courage to take 105 untill last semester (my soph yr) ... math here sucks, their stated goal is to have you average between 60-65% on the exams ... and if you reall are taking orgo than save urself and take 115 or even wait a semester take no math and do 116 next semester, you have to adjust to college life and there is no way u want to team up calc2 with orgo right off the bat .... and in the grand scheme of college where almost everyone finishes with over 120 credits anyway, those 4 ap credits wont mean a thing


July 10th, 2010 at 3:40 AM ^

If you're only taking 13 credits, definitely take 116. Orgo + lab isn't the easiest class at UM, but there are definitely engin classes that are more difficult. 116 + orgo is definitely doable. Don't underestimate the value of free credits, it will definitely be nice to free up 4 credits in your schedule down the road and could potentially benefit you come registration in getting an earlier time.


July 10th, 2010 at 4:03 AM ^

as the "classic" lazy vs. driven argument....

i admit i am an lsa kid so to me the idea of taking those two together sounds horrible but on the other hand i might kill myself if i graduate with less than a 3.5

also you have to ask yourself what ur goals as a freshman are...

if your planing on being super involved in any student org (which you should be) from service groups (imo you should join at least one of these) to sports groups (shameless plug: the maize rage is always recruiting) to greek life (best choice i ever made) to any of our other fantastic groups like solar car ... the point is you are pry going to want time for these ... personally right now i am a memeber of 5 student orgs (if you count greek life and all of its councils as 1) and i really couldnt be happier ... the point of college to me is learning how to deal with PEOPLE though these orgs (you only retain 10% of what the classroom teaches you anyway) ... plus you need time to watch sports so again i strongly urge you to take the eaiser route freshman yr


July 10th, 2010 at 7:44 AM ^

If you're questioning whether you're ready for 116 in general, take 115. I didn't do my undergrad at Michigan, so I'm just going by the descriptions of each class in this thread and matching them up to the classes I took, but getting a really solid foundation in the basics of Calculus is going to be a HUGE help as you move on. i took AP Calc in high school, but I had to do it online. I didn't master the material and retook Calc I when I got to college. Best decision I ever made. If you take any calc-based physics, etc, later on you'll need to understand the calc concepts on the fly because profs and textbooks will assume you already do.

That said, if you're comfortable with the material from Calc I, by all means jump to II. No sense wasting the credits and the time redoing what you already know well. If you know Calc I and understand the concepts after one AP class, you're fully capable of moving on without killing your GPA. I didn't take Orgo, so I can't speak to what it would be like to take both at one time.

Best of luck!

Michigan Arrogance

July 10th, 2010 at 8:26 AM ^

  1. NEVER place out of 2 courses as a result of AP success. NO ONE is prepared for Soph level courses coming out of HS, Doowie Howser notwithstanding.
  2. For you, i'd say 13 credits is doable with 116 and Orgo. just don't take Accel French in addition like i did.
  3. Generally, the more calc you take, the easier it gets, with the exception being diff eq. I'd anticipate 116 being just as difficult as 115 if you got 1 4-5 on the BC exam. if you can to devivatives, you can do anti deriviatives. if you can get slope, you can get area under a curve.
  4. 116 : 115 !:: orgo : chem 101. orgo is a tough So class, 116 is a 2nd semester sequence FR class.


July 10th, 2010 at 8:41 AM ^

At some point you're going to have to take multiple difficult classes in a semester; that's just the reality of college no matter what your major is.  You can get a jump on the rest of your classmates by doing it your first semester, or you can sit back in the pack.  Hailtothevictors08 mentioned this above, but you really have the classic lazy vs. driven argument.

Calculus and Orgo aren't as difficult as people make them out to be.  I think they get a bad reputation because lots of underclassmen take them who haven't ever had to study in their life since high school was a breeze, or because they'd rather go out to parties or what not.  That's not to say these classes are a breeze at all.  They're tough, but managable if you properly budget the time/effort to get a good grade.

Also, agreed with the posters above who said to skip the undergraduate degree in BME.  If that's what you want to do going forward, get a ME undergrad and a BME masters.


July 10th, 2010 at 11:10 AM ^

And that's certainly an option that a lot of people probably will take.  Nothing wrong with it so to speak, but if you want to get a leg up on some of your peers, then there's no sense in delaying.  My advisor freshman year told me that I shouldn’t take my AP credit for Intro Bio and Intro Chemistry because I might hurt myself later down the line.  I wouldn’t be where I am today if I had followed that advice.  Were there things I probably could’ve learned had I taken those introductory classes?  Of course, but I had plenty enough knowledge to go on to the next level and anything I didn’t know I could fill in by myself or with the help of friends and teachers.

If you are confident in yourself, and have lofty aspirations then I’d recommend taking 116/orgo.  If you’d rather relax your first semester and ease into the transition, that’s a respectable option too.  I’d definitely take the challenge, but that’s strictly a personal opinion.


July 10th, 2010 at 9:16 AM ^

Orgo is the freaking easiest course I took, and all of the other chemistry majors agree with me. 

People overrate the freshman courses because people screw around too much early on, but all of your toughest classes will be later on imo.  

Take 116, because the 115 at this point would be like saying, gee, I really want to take an extra math class.  Not to knock on math, but take a cool math class if that's what you want. 


July 10th, 2010 at 9:28 AM ^

Did you take Calc AB or BC?  If you took BC, you've at least seen integration by parts, infinite series, and more in the way of differential equations, so Math 116 won't be a huge jump.  If you took AB, you missed all that stuff, so you might be better off taking 115 unless you got a 5 on the AP test.

Also, keep in mind that the AP curriculum is quite a bit different from U of M.  AP has a major focus on calculator usage, especially for integration, which will probably help down the road, but Michigan will expect you do do all those problems analytically. 

One other thing to keep in mind.  I don't know if BME requires the introductory physics sequence (140 and 240), but it probably does.  Some of the topics in physics 240, and even 140, are best understood if you are at least taking calc III at the time.  Vector multiplication, Gauss' Law, right-hand rule, etc. If you are planning on taking that sequence, plan your calculus sequence accordingly.


July 10th, 2010 at 9:41 AM ^

Follow this advice.

I had placement credit out of 115 and 116, and decided to take 216 as a first semester freshman instead of 215 because I heard it was easier, so I don't have any experience in 115 or 116.  However, after watching my roommate and other friends do 115 and 116 homework problems, I can tell you that Michigan math is quite different than AP math.  If you haven't seen integration by parts or Taylor series, I would take 115.  


July 10th, 2010 at 9:39 AM ^

Deciding whether to take it comes down to a few things:

  • Work load. This can't be under-estimated. The increased number (and length) of assignments your first year can be a rude surprise. Repeating a course of which you already know most of the material won't mean the work is any less, but it reduces the burden from other things you may encounter, like....
  • A crappy teacher. 100- and 200-level math is a crap shoot. You're more than likely going to get a visiting prof or a TA as the instructor, perhaps teaching for the first time, or English as a second language, (and barely understandable, even without the technical terms). While this may sound like a reason to skip Math 115, you won't be doing yourself a favor if you find yourself in 116 (or higher) during your first semester at U-M and saying, "Holy shit, what the hell is this guy saying???"
  • The other students. The first two years of math is extremely competitive, because these are among the weed-out courses for the pre-med and engineering students. Many will have taken AP courses, and be repeating them to get a head start on their GPAs. Remember, AP only gives you the credit for the course, it doesn't do anything for your grades, and as you get deeper into your chosen curriculum, the road only gets bumpier from here.
  • Your social life. Since this is your first year, I'm going to assume that you're not going to have your nose buried in your books 24/7. Do not under-estimate the impact that the allure of those parties down at Tappa Kegga Dae are going to have on your willingness to head to the UGLi.

Just some food for thought.


July 10th, 2010 at 9:39 AM ^

1.   Man up and take the challenge head on




2.  Understand that it is football season, so why kill yourself in the fall, let alone your first fall on campus.  



July 10th, 2010 at 10:08 AM ^

I assume you have take all 4 calculus correct? Seems if you could skip one all the better. While 115 might not be hard for you, there are easy non-calculus math courses and of course other easy credits you could take. Plus it just seems silly/cynical to take a course you shouldn't be taking.

Personaly, I skipped I and II and had to take III, IV, and then an extra math class (probability). I found III hardest probably just because it's the most different and more geometric based. I also took it my fall of freshman year when school was the last thing on my mind. Probability was a joke however.


July 10th, 2010 at 10:16 AM ^

I skipped into 116 and found the workload to be difficult but not overwhelming.  Expect the curve in the class to shock you the first few times (I aced the first exam, then got something like a 55% on the second and that was considered a high B), but keep your nose on it and you'll survive.  I had a friend who decided to take 115 instead and wound up getting a lower grade because he kind of coasted, believing his past knowledge would help him out.  For reference, I took Calc 116, Inorganic Chem and lab (forget the numbers), Engineering 100, and something else (econ?) for 17 credits, and while that sucked, I still made it to all the football games and generally enjoyed myself.  So it can be done, but if you had problems with integration, Taylor series, etc. in HS (I was never exposed to them), maybe give 115 a shot.  You will have time to make up the missed credits during your time at UM, so killing yourself early isn't necessary.


July 10th, 2010 at 10:17 AM ^

I had a similar situation when I enrolled, I had taken AP calculus but had a teacher that warned me about overloading college classes since they are more difficult than high school classes.  One on hand, I really didn't need 115 since it was all repeating AP calc (and so was the first half of 116), and after issues getting into some upper level computer engineering classes I wasn't able to graduate in four years.  However, 115 was a very easy A for me, and it wasn't the worst thing in the world to have to spread my upper level CE classes out over an extra semester considering all the time spent on projects.  Also, my extra semester was fall 2003, and I wouldn't have seen the football team make the Rose Bowl while I was in college if I had graduated on time.


July 10th, 2010 at 10:23 AM ^

I went to a public HS and got a 3 in AB calc and 3 in chemistry.  The engineering counselor at the time (Dale Briggs -- part of the ChE dept) didn't think 116 was a problem but was more concered with Orgo and said "you're going to have to work your ass off."  I said fine.  I'm not a social guy and didn't care too much about workload.  So my first semester was

  • Calc 116
  • Orgo 1 with lab
  • Econ 101
  • English Practicum --  senior year we had to submit a portfolio of 4 very specific writing samples, and I didn't have any of the types of papers they wanted.  We just never wrote that kind of stuff in high school, even though I was in the advanced track for 4 years.  This class was re-submitting the portfolio. Now you don't even need to take general English if you're an engineer.

So that's 15 credits.  Managed straight B's, and would've done better if I knew how much I needed to study to get an A on a test.  It takes time to figure that stuff out.  I thought Orgo was the hardest out of the bunch -- exam means were typically in the 30s.  The comment about it being a crap-shoot with Math TA's is 100% true though -- I got a Chinese dude and coudln't understand a damn word the guy said.  I didn't have that problem with Orgo. 

Next semester was

  • Calc 215 -- most challenging math class I ever took
  • Orgo 2 with lab -- lab was a bigger deal with this one; 2 credits instead of 1
  • Physics 140 with lab
  • English 101 -- required for engineering at the time.  Absolutely hated the English snobs in this class

Tougher, but it's still way easier than the later semesters in engineering.  It's only going to get harder.

Wolverine In Exile

July 10th, 2010 at 10:39 AM ^

the moe math you can take, the beter you will be. I was a 4.0 in HS with AP math and skipped 115. Regretted it when I had to take more math classes and a lot of the engineering and quantum chem clases I had to take basically required you to have a mastery of basic calculus (115/116 level) to really understand it. Plus, when you get into the "real world", tobe a success at the technical work part of jobs, it's not that you know how to derive complex multi-dimensional equations, its being able to do the basic calculus type operations and apply them to equations and data sets you havent seen before. So bottom line-- take the 115 and the orgo and just plan on working hard.


July 10th, 2010 at 10:41 AM ^

If you're not going to push yourself now, then when are you going to start? When will there ever be a semester without excuses and distractions and possible other priorities? Keep in mind the several thousand other engineering majors who are at U-M and at each of the other dozen-plus top schools in the country--if you let them outwork you, will you be surprised when you're not as competitive for employment?

I don't mean to be a dick, but that's the way the world works.


July 10th, 2010 at 11:01 AM ^

then calc 2 shouldnt be a big deal. i could be wrong, but ive never heard an engineering student complaing about how insane calc 2 is, it was always my LSA friends (no offense to people here who are LSA). calc 2 is hard in that the average on my 2nd midterm when i took it was a 48% but then you just learn to be a hair smarter than everyone else and bam you have at least B+


July 10th, 2010 at 11:06 AM ^

In my opinion, going from an AP high school credit to the next level in college is really difficult. I AP'd out of Calc 1 or 2 (what does the BC AP test get you again? I forget) and also out of Physics.

Well, I decided to "ease" my way into college by repeating the calc class that I AP'd out of. And quite frankly, the college class was signigicantly tougher than the AP class. I cruised through hih school, but got about 50% on my first calc exam and had to drop the class.

Oddly enough, the next semester I decided I was ready for multi-variable calc (since I had the AP credit, after all) and I dominated that class.

The lesson: figure out which professors are looking to weed students out, and avoid them like the plague.

Now, on the phyisics from, its a different story with a similar result. There, I decided to use my AP credit and jump right into the next physics class. I also got my ass thoroughly kicked in that class, and ended with a C+.

My personal opinion is that many high school students aren't prepared for the academic challenge of college. Like formerlyanonymous said above, I cruised through high school, too, collected tons of AP credits, and expected to roll through college. Didn't happen.


July 10th, 2010 at 11:11 AM ^

How about just skipping your math class the first semester and adding an easier elective? Then you and jump into Math 116 the following semester, at a time where you 1) feel more comfortable with college; and 2) are not taking the chem class?

Mangino Baby

July 10th, 2010 at 11:24 AM ^

OK I was an engineering peer advisor a couple years ago so I was paid to help you damn freshman with this.  Take 116 its not that hard because AP calc covers everything you learn in 116.  You dont even get to integrals in 115.  Take the free credits

Mr. Robot

July 10th, 2010 at 12:56 PM ^

Take 116. I also had AP credit for 115 going in, and having seen some of the homework for 115 at different points in the course, you will not need to take it if you did well enough on the AP test to get credit for it. HOWEVA, I say that as a man who likes getting stuff out of the way and free credits, not as a man who needs a 3.2 GPA. As it has been said, you would have the benefit of experience with UM math classes and likely an easy A if you did take 115.

As far as the content of 116, a lot of it isn't much, if any different, from stuff you did in your AP class. We did content from both 115 and 116 in my AP class, which confuses me because I thought AB and BC were meant to cover Calc 1 and 2 respectively, but I guess not (My high school only offered AB). The problem I ran into is that my professor was really bad (on her first semester, and to sum her incompetence up, she once said during a lecture "Its kind of like a circle, only its a square") and the exams are really, REALLY stupid. The averages are indeed abysmal, but that was usually because they would wrap the question in the stupidest way they possibly could. I answered a question about a Michigan squirrel studying abroad in Brazil that observed a spider web thread. Trouble is, they didn't clarify what the spider web had to do with the function (No equation, no numbers, no labeling of anything, just a curved line that was suppose to be the thread).

I got a C+ in 116 not because the content was overly hard, but because I'm not an especially awesome exam taker, and they are 90% of your grade in 116. I'm good enough to do well in classes I have a good handle over, but in this class, getting one question completely right versus completely wrong is worth 10-14 points and could mean the difference between a D and a B+ with the averages so low. I ended up getting a D- on my first exam because of how unprepared I was for their exam format and had to dig myself out from that on the next two (28 was the average on my final, FWIW, which was what I got to give myself a C+ after doing really well on the second exam). Also, you won't get crap for partial credit. If you make one little mistake like forgetting to carry a one someplace and it throws your answer off despite doing the question correctly, you're likely to lose at least 75% credit. You won't get real partial credit for anything until you get to 215/216.


July 10th, 2010 at 11:36 AM ^

116 and while I'm glad I got the credit to free up my schedule later on in my undergrad, I do wish I had started with 115.

The way calc is taught at Michigan is completely different from what I was taught in high school. I felt like I had been taught half of calc one way and then the other half a different way. I ended up struggling to get a B.

Throw in the huge adjustment between high school and college (at Michigan none the less), balancing time, learning to study (my high school was worthless in this respect), and interpreting technical knowledge from someone who is teaching in their second language, and well you have a recipe for disaster. If you are driven, then perhaps you would be fine with it.

BTW I took 210/211, 116, and had 13 credits my first semester and quickly realized I had no fucking clue what the hell I had gotten myself into. If had the study skills I have now, then I would have done much better.


July 10th, 2010 at 11:56 AM ^

Coming from a Math concentrator....

I would take 115.  Reasons in bullet form:

  • First, the 4 free credits really means nothing.  Remember "full-time" is considered 12 credits.  Once you hit 12 credits, you don't pay for any more credits.  So unless you never go above 12 credits, you'll make up those 4 free credits (probably after year one).
  • First semester: you have a six day week to work with (seriously, Saturday = football and you will be lucky/a nerd to even get any reading done on Saturdays).
  • MASTER THE BASICS.  I cannot stress this enough.  Master them.  And I don't mean be able to do the chain rule in your head (actually I do, but that should be a given).  Know every concept of 115 inside out, from extrema to mean value theorem.  Everything.  The more practice you get, the better off you are if you ever have to take any upper level math class full of math nerds you study fields and rings for fun.
  • First semester: find a student org (or several) to get involved with.  It was the best thing I've done in my college career and my life, really.
  • First semester: Get accustomed to college life, ie social scene.  It's really easy to not do homework when your buddy down the hall challenges you to a game of Madden, or friends are heading to X and ask you to come. 
  • First semester: Figure out the work load.  Everyone can tell you it's coming, but until you experience how much work you need to put into classes, you won't be ready for it.

Don't let some of these people talk you into 116 because they say it wasn't that bad (it's easy to think that after becoming accustomed to college - you're not yet!).  Don't let them say "it's a driven vs. lazy" argument.  It's not.  It a time-management argument.  You need to learn how much time you will need to put into difficult classes.  Everyone is different.  You should learn what you need to do while taking one difficult class in your first semester, then you'll have a gauge and can up that to 2 or 3 difficult classes per semester, based on your schedule.

Regardless, become familiar with the Add/Drop deadlines and don't end up dropping a class one week after the deadline and still have to pay for it (like I did!)

Finally as someone said above, your best option might be to find a humanties class to take now, and then go and take 116 in the winter.  Then you won't "waste" those 4 credits and at the same time you won't kill yourself during fall.  I always had easier semesters in the fall than winter - there's literally probably 10x as much stuff going on around campus in fall versus winter.  If you're going to load up on courses, do it in the winter when you won't want to walk to a party anyway.


July 10th, 2010 at 1:14 PM ^

Wasn't aware/didn't remember that.  Makes the free credits a little more valuable.  I feel that taking 15ish and then a 2-4 spring or summer classes in the way to go.  If I could do it all again I would do something like:


Fresh: 12/16/0/0

Soph: 14/16/3/3

Junior: 14/16/3/3

Senior: 12/12/0/0

Which is close to what I did.  A class less than an average course load the first semester, and a class less than an average course load both senior semesters (when you're 21 and ready to get out, you'll love having that light course load!).  Make up the difference with a couple spring/summer classes while enjoying a beautiful summer in Ann Arbor.