To Math Camp or Not to Math Camp?

Ask Us Anything: Leading up to fall orientation TMP will respond to your questions. First years, what do you want to know? Submit your questions here! We’ll post your questions and our answers throughout the summer.

How is Math Camp/Math Tutorial for people with strong math skills?

I took Calc II, Advanced Stats, and Econ-with-Calc during my BS. I'm considering testing out of some of the quant-heavy core courses actually, and I'm much more nervous about other coursework that I don't have a background in than my math skills. Will we be divided into groups based on math ability? Or what does SIPA normally do with students like me?

So math camp is 100% optional, and therefore totally dependent on you. It’s essentially a crash course in calc crammed into four or five mornings – so if you feel good about your calc skills, you can skip, and just pick up the take-home exam on the last day. The test is straightforward, but even if you fail, you’re just placed in a short-term “Math Lab” course that is essentially group calculus tutoring. Overall, math camp is designed to be a refresher for those who haven’t used calculus recently, and in that sense, it can be useful. 

That’s putting it diplomatically. Others might say (and have said) that it’s an utter waste of time; it squeezes too much into an already jam-packed orientation schedule that overwhelms those students unfamiliar with calc, OR doesn’t dive deep enough for those who want a more thorough refresher (this mainly applies to just those who plan to take advanced quantitative analysis or statistics courses…). Either way, however you approach math camp, chances are you’ll struggle through econ and quant anyway, but come out with a solid B+. And you’ll quickly learn to accept that, because these core classes are just a small piece of your SIPA experience.