Math 131, Fall 2012

 Calculus I

Instructor          John E. McCarthy
Class                  MWF 10.00-11.00 in January 110; or 12.00-1.00 in Brown 118.
Office                105 Cupples I
Office Hours     McCarthy: M 11-12, W 9.15 - 10.00, Th 3-4.
Phone                 935-6753

TA's:                 Cheng Chu 

                          Joey Palmer

                          Ben Passer

Text                Calculus: Single Variable by B. Blank and S.G. Krantz, Chapters 1.4-5.4

                       This book is currently on the Second edition. However, there are no big differences

between the different editions, except for the numbering of the homework problems. If you can save a few

dollars and get an earlier edition, do so. (In fact, any book on  calculus covers pretty much the

same material).


Do not get the Solutions Manual. This is not just a waste of money, it is Kryptonite - every

time you open a Solutions Manual, it sucks intelligence right out of your brain.


Exams    There will be four exams in the course:

                        Exam 1       7.00 p.m.- 9.00 p.m. September 19     Covers Sections 1.1- 2.3.  Solution: Exam1Soln

                        Exam 2       7.00 p.m.- 9.00 p.m.  October 17        Covers Sections 2.4 - 3.6. Solution: Exam2Soln

                        Exam 3       7.00 p.m.- 9.00 p.m.   November 14    Covers Sections 3.7 - 4.5  Solution: Exam3Soln

                        Exam 4 :    Final Exam        3.30-5.30 p.m. December 13th      Solution: FinalSoln

To find your room and seat assignment for an exam, go to the Math Dept home page on exam day,

Remember to bring your Washington University student ID with you.

No notes are allowed for exams. You will need a scientific calculator for exams, but graphing calculators and those that can perform symbolic differentiation/integration are not allowed. (By a scientific calculator, I mean one that can evaluate trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms).



There are weekly homework sets during the semester, to be done on WebWork:    

These are due every Monday; the first assignment is due Sep 10th.  For tips on entering expressions in
webwork, go to

Other homework (which will not be graded) is here:

If you can do these HW problems with the book shut, you are on top of the material.            

Note: Doing a homework problem by looking for a similar example and following that does not give much insight. Instead, try to do the problem without looking anything up. If you can't, reread the entire section, and then try again to do the homework problems without following worked examples.

 If you have really tried to do a homework or webwork problem and need a hint,  email  your TA. Note: If you wait till Monday afternoon, you won't get a response in time for the submission.


You should be familiar with trigonometry, polynomials, and their graphs.
In particualr, be very comfortable with lines and slopes!



Limits. Differentiation. Finding maxima and minima. Graphing functions. Integrals.


Basis for Grading

Each midterm and the webwork will be 18% of your grade, the final will be 26%. Attendance at Sections is worth 2%. 
If you do well on the final, the final grade can be substituted for one of your midterms.

Final Grades : 

A: 88% - 100%                       A-: 85% - 87.9%

B+: 82% - 84.9%                 B:  73% - 81.9%                     B-: 69% - 72.9%

C+: 66% - 68.9%                 C: 60% - 65.9%                      C-: 57% - 59.9%

D: 52% - 56.9%


Missed Exams:  If you are unable to take one of the midterms for legitimate reasons (such as verified illness or serious family emergency)  you  will be given an excused absence for that exam.              

                                 NO IN-TERM MAKEUP EXAMS ARE GIVEN.

Your grade for the missed midterm exam will be calculated by a statistical procedure which uses your scores on the other taken exams, including the Final.
Not coming because you overslept or forgot the time of the exam is not a legitimate reason  .


Homework is an extremely important part of the course. Make sure you stay current with it, or you will find it extremely difficult to catch up.


I do expect you to come to class every day, and to participate in class discussions. I also expect you to stay abreast of the material we are covering, and may call on you at any time to answer a question.


Help is Available!

There are a number of ways to get help with hard problems or for understanding some material a little better.

The most useful is the Calculus Help Room, in Lopata 323, which has math graduate students available

to help 10.00-5.00 on M,W,F, and 11.00-5.00 on TuTh. See

Your TA has office hours there, but you are welcome to go at any time.

There is also the Calculus Help Desk run by Cornerstone in the South 40 - see  or

My office hours are listed at the top of this page. You should feel free to come in and talk about any material.

Peer-led Team Learning: Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) is a voluntary study group program that is
offered for Calculus 131/132/233. You can sign-up to be considered for a
spot using the online application, which will open on August 29  and close on September 2.
An attempt will be made to accommodate all students who apply, but there are
a limited number of spots available. If necessary, students will be
selected via a lottery. Placement e-mails will be sent out by *,
and the first group meetings will be the weekend of *.
To learn more about the program, visit or
contact Lisa Kuehne,

Calculus Study Group: Study groups are organized as needed by The Center for Advanced Learning located in Cornerstone (in Gregg Hall on the south 40). They are conducted by graduate and undergraduate math students. If you want to belong to such a study group you must make a commitment to attend the group regularly (not just "come when you feel like it"). For more information you can look on the website or call them at 935-5970 .

Old Exams: Old Exams and solutions are posted on the web as a study guide (go to ). Copies of some of these exams should also be available to view or copy at the Reserve Desk of Olin Library.



Fibonnaci ratio: