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Math Help - am I ready for calculus?

  1. #1
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    am I ready for calculus?

    I'm not ready for calculus. I'm currently a university student with a double major in English and Psychology, with some/little mathematics experience. But I love it. I love math and have decided I would like to take the time to teach myself/attempt to get some grasp of it on my own in order to ask for help from friends/professors.

    I need to know where to start. I have high school algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and AP statistics experience, as well as university level statistics and basic math experience.

    I am looking to self-teach, and I am skilled in math/have the drive to practice. Where should I start? I'm looking for specific books or a specific direction to go in. Should I collect HS pre-calculus textbooks, start with a calculus textbook, brush up on algebra/trig, or use some non-textbook method?

    I know this is vague/kind of in the wrong place, but I'm interested to see what advice I get.

    Move this if it's in the wrong subforum.

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
    Super Member TheChaz's Avatar
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    Re: am I ready for calculus?

    "Am I ready for Calculus"

    "I'm not ready for Calculus"...

    But seriously, forks.

    Obviously there are many factors to consider. Are you planning on taking more math courses? If so, then they will probably be (a) Calculus, Differential Equations, Linear Algebra, and the like.

    But then there's a much more abstract/pure/theoretical level of math... (b) analysis, topology, and algebra (to name a few). I doubt you have ever done any of this, and this is (so they tell me!) what many mathematicians - especially the non-applied/stats - do.

    If you're going to stick to option (a), then those kind of books you mentioned will suffice.
    For option (b), you need a backgroun in logic, set theory, and proofs.
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  3. #3
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    Re: am I ready for calculus?

    Quote Originally Posted by davem View Post
    I'm not ready for calculus. I'm currently a university student with a double major in English and Psychology, with some/little mathematics experience. But I love it. I love math and have decided I would like to take the time to teach myself/attempt to get some grasp of it on my own in order to ask for help from friends/professors.

    I need to know where to start. I have high school algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, and AP statistics experience, as well as university level statistics and basic math experience.

    I am looking to self-teach, and I am skilled in math/have the drive to practice. Where should I start? I'm looking for specific books or a specific direction to go in. Should I collect HS pre-calculus textbooks, start with a calculus textbook, brush up on algebra/trig, or use some non-textbook method?

    I know this is vague/kind of in the wrong place, but I'm interested to see what advice I get.

    Move this if it's in the wrong subforum.

    Thanks!
    Most students in Calculus struggle with trigonometry. Make sure you know your trig and the major identities. You can derive the other identities if you have the basic ones in your bag.
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  4. #4
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    Re: am I ready for calculus?

    i would try picking up one of the "standard" calculus textbooks, like spivak or stewart, and seeing how "hard" it seems to you. self-study will take longer than attending classes, if you are currently going to a university, you should take advantage of the opportunity you have. if concerned about how it might affect your grades, or your schedule, you might consider auditing a class.

    calculus is all about functions (and then some), so it's good to have some experience with a lot of different kinds of functions. polynomials, trigonometric, exponential and logarithm functions top the list. they will be your friends (and also, at times, your enemies) as you make your way. you'll be drawing a lot of pictures, so (if you're poor) get a lot of paper or (if you're not so poor) a graphing calculator, or even better, a mathematical software package like Maple or Mathematica. there's nothing quite like being able to "see" what you're "doing".

    a quick googling will turn up a lot of online calculus resources-many professors publish texts or class notes online. in particular, there is:

    Pauls Online Notes : Algebra <---what you need to know to be "ready"
    Pauls Online Notes : Calculus I <---a user-friendly introduction

    the Khan Academy series of videos is another good source of help, especially since you can watch them over and over until they "click". He has videos covering various calculus and pre-calcus topics.

    good luck!
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  5. #5
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    Re: am I ready for calculus?

    Great Suggestion in order to learn the basic level for calculus but before that you must have knowledge on algebra and geometry.
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