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Better to start learning calculus from precalculus

  1. Jan 8, 2010 #1
    Hi Everyone,

    I have a question regarding CALCULUS.
    Is it better to start learning calculus from precalculus or calculus, say in general? When I mentioned calculus, I meant Calculus written by Spivak or Courant, which I think starts off with basic concepts leading to advanced ones.

    Any comments will be highly appreciated.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 8, 2010 #2
    Re: Calculus

    Just to clarify: are you asking if you could read Spivak or Courant without a prior calculus background?

    They are marvelous books but a bit too challenging for most pre-calc students. Most students would need at least one of the following three items to benefit from Spivak or Courant:
    - a calculus background
    - experience with formal mathematics and proofs
    - a good teacher
  4. Jan 8, 2010 #3
    Re: Calculus

    Yes both of these texts are challenging and will prepare you for just about any real analysis text written at the freshman or sophomore undergraduate level (Rudin, Apostol, Kolmogorov & Fomin, etc.). My advice is definitely to try to find these books in a library or on google books and decide for yourself. See if you can follow the author's arguments. If you decide that it's too hard for you, there are other goods texts out there that are less challenging. I recommend Lang's First Course in Calculus.
  5. Jan 8, 2010 #4
    Re: Calculus

    Although I have studied pre-calculus a year and half ago in a different language, now I am about to start learning calculus and this question came to my mind, what should I do? learn pre-calculus or start calculus first.

    And thanks for your reply, I really enjoy being advised.
  6. Jan 8, 2010 #5
    Re: Calculus

    Thanks, I would definitely start looking at these texts, and then see where it goes.
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