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Math Help - going to start learning algebra, but where to start?

  1. #1
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    going to start learning algebra, but where to start?

    Hello all, I've googled things like learn algebra and sure there are a lot of results but I kind of need a structure to work from. I want to go from the very basic algebra problem and slowly work my way up towards more complicated stuff.

    There is a great website called khanacademy and purplemath which have tones of great stuff but they do not structure it so I do not know which to learn first, I don't want to try learning something that is going to be really difficult for me because I never learnt the key stuff prior to that.

    The algebra page on this site has 15 sub categories with lots of videos in each, but once I finish the introduction to algebra, which should I go onto next? etc...

    Algebra | Khan Academy
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  2. #2
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    Re: going to start learning algebra, but where to start?

    Hey uperkurk.

    What is your end goal? What do you ultimately want to do in terms of the end means and what is the purpose of this?
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    Re: going to start learning algebra, but where to start?

    I've always been terrible at maths, I'm 23 now and want to teach myself upto and including calculus. Then depending on how I progress I will go onto physics of some kind but that is a VERY long way down the road. My biggest problem is remembering the rules behind algebra.
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    Re: going to start learning algebra, but where to start?

    I just came back to this topic after my friend told me about a GCSE CD he used during school called Maths Watch. I've just downloaded it and I'm working through the higher paper algebra section and my god the CD is incredible! I've never understood algebra so much in such a short period of time! lol I don't know if it's her voice or what but she explains is perfectly!

    I've learnt only the very very basics but I can now do these types of questions, and what's better is I actually understand what I'm doing and why I'm doing what I'm doing. I actually have a smile on my face when I can see the answer to the problem is just 1 or 2 steps away

    It may be very very basic to you guys but for the first time in my life I can actually solve these types of questions!!
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  5. #5
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    Re: going to start learning algebra, but where to start?

    Personally I think to get to calculus level you should be very comfortable with equations and manipulating them in all kinds of ways, comfortable with basic 2D geometry, comfortable with functions and inverse functions, with trigonometry (including the normal ratios, the trig identities of which there are a lot), exponentials and logarithms, and solution finding for various kinds of equations. You should also be aware of all those substitution tricks for solving various problems that are a big part of math and come with experience, time, and insight.

    The ideas in calculus itself are actually very straight-forward if the subject is taught right with the right intuition, but unfortunately math has a bad rap for doing this in a lot of cases.

    What will happen if you learn math is that the stuff in calculus will hopefully at some point, make all the un-connected results for areas, volumes, and all of those other things make sense since areas and volumes can be calculated in one integral as opposed to having to remember all the formulas and calculus explains why you get pi*r^2 for the area of a circle as well as why the area of a triangle is 1/2*a*h.

    The most important skill IMO before calculus and beyond is the algebra and by algebra I mean being able to manipulate pretty much any equation (i.e. blah1 = blah2), inequality (i.e. blah1 < blah2, blah1 > blah2, and so on) or expression (i.e. no equality or inequality just an expression like x^2 - 1) for most situations and once you can do this and simply look up results from a table or a book (which is actually what happens), then you'll be OK for calculus.

    You will have to remember quite a lot of stuff no doubt and you won't be able to look everything up (and shouldn't) but as you progress further, there is no point in memorizing all the formulas you will encounter: you will either want a) derive them yourself using your understanding of mathematics and/or b) look them up and remember what they mean and how to use them based on your understanding in math.
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