UC Davis Math 21M — Accelerated Calculus
Derivatives and Integrals
Fall 2016

Basic information

Instructor: Brian Osserman
Office: Mathematical Sciences Building (MSB) Room 3218
Office Hours: M 1:30-2:30, W 3:30-4:30


A01 (CRN 53911) A02 (CRN 53912)
Lectures MWF 10:00-10:50AM in Wellman 216 (both sections)
TR 5:10-6:00PM
Wellman 6/Bainer 1132
TR 6:10-7:00PM
Wellman 26/Bainer 1132
John Challenor
Shuang Ming


9/17: Welcome to Math 21M! Since this is a new course, please be sure to give me as much feedback as you can throughout the quarter. There will be an exam on "background" material in the second week of class (see below), so I recommend immediately spending some time reviewing calculations of derivatives and integrals.

Suggested reading: Duane Kouba's Doing Well in Calculus.

About This Course:

Math 21M is not an honors calculus course, and even the name "accelerated" is a bit misleading. In fact, it is a course for students who have taken calculus before, and are already comfortable taking derivatives and integrals of most functions. The course will focus on the material from 21A and 21B that students tend not to learn well in high school calculus courses.

My hope is that this course will be a better fit than 21A or 21B for students who have had calculus previously in high school. I am aiming to have grades come out roughly comparable to what they would have been if you had taken 21A and 21B instead. In order to assist with this, and also in order to make sure that students are adequately prepared, I will be giving an exam in the second week of class which will be very heavily weighted in the total grade; see below for detailed information.

Finally, be sure not to fail this class! It will not be offered again until next fall at the earliest, so if you fail you will have to take 21B instead next quarter, and will not have the opportunity to replace the failing grade in your GPA calculation.


The textbook for the course is standardized for the entire 21 sequence. The textbook is Thomas' Calculus: Early Transcendentals, 13th edition (be careful to buy the "Early Transcendentals" version, and don't get one labeled "Single Variable" or "Multivariable"!). There is now also an option to get an electronic version of the textbook through the bookstore for $90, which you will have access to for four years and which comes with additional digital resources such as MyMathLab. You should have already received an email with details, including an access code, and instructions on how to opt out if you do not wish to use the digital textbook. For more information, go to the Inclusive Access web site.

Important: if you do not want to use the electronic textbook, you must opt out of it through the UCD bookstore's webpage within the first 10 days of the course. Otherwise, you will be automatically billed for it.

If you have chosen the digital textbook, you will be able to access the MyMathLab system. This is an interactive version of the exercises in the book, which you may find more helpful than simply doing the exercises on your own. Again, this is completely optional, and will not count towards your grade, but if you wish to use it, you should enter the course ID "osserman76896".

The course will focus on material from chapters 2-8 of the book.


I will post some supplemental handouts throughout the quarter, on Canvas.


Grades will be weighted as follows: 40% for the preliminary exam, 10% for weekly quizzes, 12.5% for each in-class exam, and 25% for the final exam. Your quiz and exam scores will be visible throughout the quarter on Canvas.

Cheating will be taken extremely seriously. The minimum punishment will be an F on the exam or assignment in question, and all cases will be referred to Student Judicial Affairs.

Exam grading will be on a soft curve, meaning that I do not predetermine either what scores correspond to what grades, or what percentage of students get what grades. Rather, after grading each exam I will assign grade ranges using the following general criterion: those who earn an A should demonstrate a strong mastery of nearly all the material; a B should correspond to a good working knowledge of a strong majority of the material; and C should correspond to an ability to solve routine problems in a majority of the topics covered. Under this system, if you all do well, you will all get good grades.

The letter grade ranges for the preliminary exam are as follows:
85%-100%: A range
70-85%: B range
55-70%: C range
40-55%: D range
0-40%: F

The letter grade ranges for the first in-class exam are as follows:
80%-100%: A range
65-80%: B range
50-65%: C range
35-50%: D range
0-35%: F

The letter grade ranges for the second in-class exam are as follows:
80%-100%: A range
65-80%: B range
45-65%: C range
30-45%: D range
0-30%: F

The letter grade ranges for the final exam are as follows:
80%-100%: A range
65-80%: B range
50-65%: C range
35-50%: D range
0-35%: F

Homework and Quizzes:

Homework problems from the textbook will be assigned after every lecture, posted on Canvas. These problems will not be collected and graded, but there will be short quizzes in each Thursday discussion (starting on 10/6) based on the homework problems from the previous week's lecture (more precisely, the quiz will be based on the Wednesday and Friday lecture from the previous week, and the Monday lecture from the same week; homework numbers are grouped accordingly). You will have a chance to ask questions on the material prior to the quiz. These quizzes will be graded with no partial credit, so be sure to check your answers.


There will be a preliminary exam, two in-class exams and a final exam. These will be closed-book exams, with no calculators or notes allowed, and no formulas provided (except possibly for auxiliary information relating to unit conversion, or volumes of certain solids, or that sort of thing). You will write your answers directly on the exam, so do not need to bring blue books. However, be sure to bring your ID card to the exams.

Makeup exams will not be offered. If you have an unavoidable conflict with an exam date, or an emergency of some sort, you must let us know as early as possible in order to make appropriate arrangements.

The preliminary exam will be given in discussion on Thursday, September 29. It will focus on calculating derivatives (basic rules like product and chain ruls, and all standard functions except hyperbolic trig functions; see the table at the back of the book for a list) and integrals (all techniques, including substitution, integration by parts, partial fractions, and trig-related techniques), and areas between curves. It will also have a very limited number of problems drawn from other basic material such as limit calculations (not including L'Hopital's rule), finding minima and maxima of functions, and calculating volumes of solids of revolution.

The first in-class exam will be given on Friday, October 14. It will cover Chapter 2 and Sections 3.1-3.6 of the book, corresponding to HWs 1-3. It will be graded prior to the drop deadline, which is Tuesday, October 18.

Practice Exam 1
Solutions to Practice Exam 1.

The second in-class exam will be given on Monday, November 7. It will cover Sections 3.7-3.11 and Chapter 4 of the book, corresponding to HWs 4-6.

Practice Exam 2
Solutions to Practice Exam 2

The final exam is scheduled for Monday, December 5, 8:00-10:00AM, and will be held in our usual lecture room. It will cover material for the entire course, but with an emphasis on material from the last third of the course.

Practice Exam 3 (Note: this is a one-hour practice exam, only covering the material since the second exam)
Solutions to Practice Exam 3


Calculators are optional for this class, and are not allowed on any quizzes or exams.

Students with disabilities:

Any student with a documented disability (e.g. physical, learning, psychiatric, vision, hearing, etc.) who needs to arrange reasonable accommodations must contact the Student Disability Center (SDC). Faculty are authorized to provide only the accommodations requested by the SDC. If you have any questions, please contact the SDC at (530)752-3184 or sdc@ucdavis.edu.

Mathematics Placement Requirement:

The placement requirement for Math 21M is set by the department. You will be administratively dropped from this course if you have not met the Mathematics Placement Requirement, which for this course is to obtain a total score of 40 or more together with a Trigonometry sub-score of 3 or more on the placement exam. If you have not met this requirement, there is nothing I can do to prevent you from being dropped.

Tutoring and other resources:

Success isn't just a matter of how much you study, it also depends on how effectively you use the resources available to you. These resources are listed below. However, you should also be sure to get plenty of practice solving problems on your own, since this is what you will have to do on quizzes and exams!

Office hours: I have scheduled my office hours to maximize the chances you will be able to make it to one of them, so please come! They are a great way to get help with anything from understanding concepts to working problems.

Calculus Room: The Calculus Room, located in MSB 1118, is open M-R, 1-7PM, F 1-6PM. It is staffed with TAs to help Math 21 students.

SASC: The SASC has math drop-in hours at which you can receive tutoring for Math 21M.

Each other: You are very much encouraged to study together. This is an easy way to make your study habits more effective. A chat room and discussion forums are enabled on Canvas to facilitate this.


Please send me any any feedback you may have on the course, regarding lecture, discussion section, homework, or any other topic! If you want, you can provide feedback anonymously with the below form.

Subject (optional) :