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Math Help - Integration: general evaluation steps

  1. #1
    Newbie petike's Avatar
    Joined
    Oct 2008
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    Question Integration: general evaluation steps

    Hi all,
    I have just visited the final lecture of calculus at school and I have a little problem with integrals. I am now familiar with "elementary integration formulas", "by parts method" and "by u-substitution method". And my question is: is there any general evaluation progress with which I will evaluate all integrals which will be on the final exam (I think those which can be evaluated, and where I only use "by parts" method or "by u-substitution" method)?

    I think something like:
    ============================================
    -1. "First try if you can evaluate integral immediately (if it is elementary)."
    -2. "Then try the "by parts" method."
    -3. "Then try to simplify the formula (e.g. by proper substitution)"
    ...
    ============================================

    Thanks.
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  2. #2
    Member
    Joined
    Dec 2008
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    Here's my steps of figuring out how to solve integrals so far (I'm still learning calculus!)

    (1.) Do whatever the hell feels right and following my hunch for what method will work. Or just guessing.

    (2.) If my mind didn't grasp any particular method, I'll just "dip my toes in the water" and see what works (simplifying expressions, dividing the fraction inside the integral, using the simple integral formula, etc.).

    (3.) If that doesn't work, then look for specific clues for specific formulas (derivatives and integrals for arcsin and arctan, ln (x) in an expression with the denominator having a higher-ordered variable than the numerator or so, memorized integrals or substitutions of trigonometric expressions, etc.)

    (4.) If that still doesn't work, then maybe do U-substitution.

    (5.) Integration by parts, as the last option (because I don't encounter it too often in my calculus course).



    Of course, it's different with everyone but the above steps have worked for me.
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