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Algebra Are Schaums outlines not good enough?

  1. Mar 9, 2016 #1

    I am using these books:

    Schaums outlines of college algebra
    Schaums introduction to calculus
    Schaums basic maths with applications to math and science..

    I want to learn algebra 1 and 2, and calculus.. but are these books not good enough? what would be a better alternative? everyone says schaums outlines only covers the basics and is good for practice.

    I have seen many of the threads so apologies if you have answered before, but I feel like there might be better books out there? If so is it possible to know good books for algebra 1, 2 and calculus 1. For someon who wants to go to uni to study electronics or computer science..

    My personal opinioin is the books are excellent to learn the fundamental but my math is extremely poor so I dont know whether I can judge(got a B in GCSE (pre algebra and basic trig) got a B in AS mathematics (algebra, binomial theorem, quadratic equations, basic differentiation and integration w.o trig, volume of revolution (finding 3d shapes voluem through integration) and some other basic stuff) and A C in A2 (basic 3d vectors, complex numbers, polynomial theory, differential equations of one and two variables, integration of trig functions partial fractions, circle theory, the A2 marks are 50 percent composed of our AS marks, so one can see that I completely flunked A2 -_-)
    we had basic mechanics (1 and 2d motion, force, ke and stuff, integration and differenritation with motion problems) and probablility and statistics.

    I did my as and A2 kind of rushed in one year and never felt like I learned anything! I did not attend most classes but somehow managed to learn some of it. What do I do? I have so many gaps in my knowledge..I know some advanced stuff, but much of the basics I dont..there are holes. I really loved some of the topics so I know I should be able to do better. We only learned through doing past papers in my school, so I am essentially a parrot who deploys algorithms (based on past experience) when solving questions..I did hundreds of past year papers but still feel like I learned nothing.

    So I am really looking forward to any suggestions to my problem, I already decided that Ive not learned anything and will start from scratch again. Which books are thourough and rigourous for Algebra 1, 2 and calculus 1 AND trigonometry if possible?

    Thank you.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2016 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    Try looking at Khan's Academy or MathIsPower4u and really sit down and listen to the 10 minute lectures. Be selective and listen to the topics you don't understand and backup to earlier ones if there's something in a given topic that you still don't get. Basically, you need to develop a detailed inventory of the small topics you don't know.

    I don't think books are necessarily the answer. Schaum's are good but they are dated too. Check the publishing date and you'll the company has riding the same horse for many years without updates to these books. Also they are written from the perspective of the author and may not cover the areas your profs deems are now important. I ran into that wall decades ago when I tried to use them for physics beyond the introductory level.
  4. Mar 9, 2016 #3


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    Science Advisor

    I like Schaum's books. They are great and cheap. I've used their calculus and linear algebra books to help myself learn the subjects.
  5. Mar 9, 2016 #4


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Homework Helper

    The OP seems to be interested in learning college algebra and basic calculus. I don't think the theory of integral or differential calculus has received that many updates in recent years. You can learn calculus or algebra just as well from a 30-year old text as a 3-month old text.

    The one thing which Schaum's has in abundance is a number of worked problems and a batch of practice problems which are hard to come by just watching videos online.
  6. Mar 9, 2016 #5
    Hello everyone thank you for the answers, but would there be any other books to use? I want to make notes for each topic, is that the right thing to do hwo did you learn? I will be back later thank you
  7. Mar 9, 2016 #6
    I tried Schaum's and liked them.
  8. Mar 9, 2016 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    I liked Schaum's too, I just wanted to point out that on some of their more advanced subjects in physics for example, may be dated and won't help as much. You should check the Table of Contents with your book to see how they match up before buying it.

    My favorite Schaum's is the Mathematical Handbook of Formulas and Tables. It has a lot of good info on formulas and such that crop up when trying to solve a problem.


    i would recommend you have this by your side as you begin your studies as a first stop reference for things mathematical.
  9. Mar 9, 2016 #8
    how do you learn maths best? should we create notes? or what..the reason I ask is because I have 3 notebooks for the three books I use..I read the chapter and re write it in my book then do the questions..also how do we create a motivation and/or study plan? I feel like my pace could be faster.

    thank you for your help.
  10. Mar 9, 2016 #9


    Staff: Mentor

    I'd use one book for your study plan and when you don't understand something research it in the other books and via online videos related to the topic.

    Also keep one notebook with your problems and notes together so you have a single chronological sequence to read and reread. I'd follow a kind of diary format where you date each page write down notes, questions with some space for the answers, your problems and where you left off. After awhile, it'll look like a math version of a lab notebook.

    You could use a loose leaf notebook which would allow you rewrite some sloppy notes and to reorder as necessary but its better to use a bound notebook where it definitely stays in chronological order. Anyway, you get the idea keep it simple and organized chronologically so you can review and see where you went wrong... Change as needed to suit what you're doing.
  11. Mar 9, 2016 #10


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    Gold Member

    In my opinion, Schaum's Outlines books are really great and have helped me a lot through the years, in many areas of my study, including Mathematics (Calculus, Linear Algebra, Probability), Physics (Electromagnetics, QM, Lagrangian Dynamics) and Programming (Pascal, C, C++), to name a few. It is best to use them in conjuction with a textbook (in a course or even in self study), especially if you don't know many things about the subject in advance, as they include an overview of theory but their real power is in the lots of examples, solved and unsolved exercises and problems they contain.
  12. Mar 9, 2016 #11


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    I am a big fan of Shaum's Outlines on math subjects. I used them to do practice drills for PhD preliminary acceptance tests in several pure math subjects. I am not sure how good they are for the first introduction to a subject, but if you can understand how to do the problems, they should work well for you.
  13. Mar 9, 2016 #12
    hello, and thank you everyone, your replies have really helped..

    from the replies it seems schaums outlines does an adequate enough job to prepare one for the content. I would like to know if anyone has found any particular texts excellent for algebra 1,2 and calculus one..if possible.

    thank you
  14. Mar 9, 2016 #13


    Staff: Mentor

  15. Mar 9, 2016 #14
    thank you Mr Jedi sir, too kind..but like the idiot I am, I am afraid I meant books other than the shcaums series..I forgot to clarify it there..thank you. I just would like to know..im sorry if it seems strange as most people keep mentioning to use itn with a supplement..just woul dlike to know
  16. Mar 9, 2016 #15


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    There are many good texts for Linear Algebra. I would recommend Jim Hefferon's Linear Algebra which is a standard text for a US undergraduate course. It is free and you can download it from its official site http://joshua.smcvt.edu/linearalgebra/. There you can download the answers to exercises too. It is useful for independent study, if that's the case for you. Alternatively, I would recommend Kolman and Hill's Elementary Linear Algebra with Applications https://www.amazon.com/Elementary-Linear-Algebra-Applications-Edition/dp/0132296543 or Gilbert Strang's Introduction to Linear Algebra https://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Linear-Algebra-Fourth-Edition/dp/0980232716. As a second course book: Axler's Linear Algebra Done Right https://www.amazon.com/Linear-Algebra-Right-Undergraduate-Mathematics/dp/0387982582.
    For Calculus there are also many good choices. I would recommend the classic Stewart Calculus https://www.amazon.com/Calculus-7th-Edition-James-Stewart/dp/0538497815.
  17. Mar 9, 2016 #16
    thank you so much
  18. Mar 13, 2016 #17
    For math I don't prefer Schaum's outlines; but I bought book on Strength of Materials, the last edition: excellent!
  19. Mar 13, 2016 #18


    Staff: Mentor

    And certainly not as the primary source. They aren't too bad as a source for practice problems, but the primary source really should be a proper textbook.
  20. Mar 14, 2016 #19
    Try David Cohen: Precalculus a Problem Solving Approach.
    Serge Lang: Basic Mathematics/ Axler: Precalculus

    The above books are for Pre-Calculus. (Trig is included)

    For Calculus try an older edition of Stewart Calculus
    My favorite is an older edition of Thomas Calculus with Analytical Geometry 3rd ed.

    The 9th edition of Thomas is quite nice, but the 3rd edition is superior. Please get the 9th edition as it is a good first exposure to Multivariable Calculus and the problems are really good. But use the 3rd edition as main text.

    Some people recommend Serge Lang's Calculus book. It is a good book, but I prefer the 3rd edition of Thomas. (personal reasons).
  21. Mar 15, 2016 #20
    Behold my amateur point of view. "Primary sources" for introductory 3-credit courses in Algebra, Linear Algebra, and Calculus, should be any correctly printed or photocopied documentation required by the Authorities of your public high-school or post-secondary college. The textbooks has evolved and been replaced by newer ones. Before circa 1972, the Schaum collection have been, in North America mostly, the clever and economical choice done by teachers & directors; thus, in all the sciences; while the books from other academic publishers, like John Wiley, were at higher cost hardcovered, printed in black & white, without interesting presentation, with much less pictures, and generally with poorer didactic skills. I salute Schaum essential accomplishment, up to 1972. _____________ When a textbook sticks extremely close to the curriculum, it may be called a "proper textbook" and sadly needs be revised about 3 to 5 years later because of the reforms. Thence the need for a textbook that covers a bit more of what has to be taught in a quadrimester. A third style of textbook serves perfectly the first-year college science student, the technology/ technical trade student, also the architecture, engineering, actuary, geodesy, geology, chemistry, biology and commerce undergraduate students, allowing to enhanced the profits$; serving a wider audience and hardcovered, this more exhaustive manual will help some students to revised their academic & professionnal orientations/ carreer, and stay longer on the shelf at home. A fourth style of textbook is for the Honours courses, intended for those who have in mind to become a engineer in physics/ electronics or a physicist, or to accomplish a major in math;""the royal way", since of all the mathematics that exist, the majority is ephemere or rather useless _any math that supports physics isn't ephemere_.
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