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Calculator question

  1. Jan 19, 2008 #1
    At what point in my study of mathematics will I need to "step up", from the basic 10-digit, 1 line, TI-30XA???

    Keep in mind I'm only starting to get into intermediate algebra.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 19, 2008 #2

    nicksauce

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    Probably never. Most mathematics is not without a calculator, and my Sharp EL510 has served me fine for a long time. However, you may want to learn to use familiarize yourself with mathematics software such as Maple or Mathematica at some point.
     
  4. Jan 19, 2008 #3
    Thanks, but what is the purpose of the "graphing" calculators.

    Won't one of those eventually be required for college math courses?
     
  5. Jan 19, 2008 #4

    nicksauce

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    It's never been required for me, and they're essentially forbidden on all exams. They can occasionally be useful for sketching curves, but one of the main parts of Calculus I is to learn how to sketch these curves without a graphing calculator.
     
  6. Jan 19, 2008 #5

    daniel_i_l

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    Since HS I've almost never used a calculator. The reason is that as the math gets more advanced you're more interested in proofs and general results than in a specific calculation. Whenever I do need some complicated calculation I can always use a computer.
     
  7. Jan 19, 2008 #6
    Thanks for the replies.

    Forbidden on exams?

    That has to suck when you need to multiply or divide large numbers, find roots, etc...
     
  8. Jan 19, 2008 #7

    nicksauce

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    Sorry, regular calculators are usually allowed, graphing calculators are forbidden.
     
  9. Jan 19, 2008 #8

    symbolipoint

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    Graphing Calculators become helpful for Trigonometry and for College Algebra, and also for courses on Statistics. They are helpful as flexible custom answer keys for graphs and information which occurs in graphs. What you learn in Intermediate Algebra, although much tougher than Introductory Algebra, is far too simple for the power of a graphing calculator.

    There is more to consider: in case you need to see an answer in the back of the book to check your work, and if that answer is not there, you may be able to use the graphing calculator for this. Also, the intermediate level gives you some skills for curve fitting for which a graphing calculator can be very efficient for you as a tool.
     
  10. Jan 19, 2008 #9
    You usually find, the exam board lets you have everything you need, as in they aren't going to give you some complex equation with 5 decimal places, and ask you to cube it. Everything they ask for is achievable especially at college, with obviously alot of work.
     
  11. Jan 19, 2008 #10
    What do you mean by intermediate algebra? Like algebra II? I think the only thing you'd really need a graphing calculator for would be to find intervals of increase and decrease of functions, which you'll learn how to do by hand in calculus.
     
  12. Jan 19, 2008 #11
    Yep, pretty much Algebra 2. Thanks.
     
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