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Calculus I: Is it possible to teach myself over winter break?

  1. Nov 17, 2009 #1
    I have never been particularly fond of math. It's not that I'm bad at it, I just don't enjoy it, and have been procrastinating taking any math classes as a result.

    Unfortunately, my procrastination has finally caught up to me, and I am faced with a calculus-based microeconomics class that I need to take next semester. Getting the prerequisite waived is not an issue, but learning the material I'll need to know is. The university recommends the first semester of calculus as a background.

    I'll have about a month over winter break to work with. I'm willing to devote five or six hours a day to studying on my own, but I'd just like to get a general opinion on whether this is possible or just a waste of time.

    Also, do you have any suggestions for good materials to use for self study of basic calculus or any other general recommendations?

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 17, 2009 #2
    Whether it's possible depends on two things:

    1) how quickly you pick up math
    2) how much you need it for the economics class

    The best way of figuring this out is to look at some calculus books and some homework problems from the economics class. The main thing that you need to worry about is the downward spiral (i.e. you have problem's picking up the material -> you get stressed -> you have even more problems picking up the material and before you know it, you are in really, really bad shape).

    It's really important to have a backup plan so that if things don't work out that you have some alternative path.

    As far as texts, this looks decent https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0470185600
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  4. Nov 17, 2009 #3
    I would definately recommend talking to people that have taken the microeconomics class first and find out what calculus they used. You could even email the professor and ask them for some input. I would then pick up a text book and start teaching yourself. I think it is definately possible for you to do it if you work hard enough. But you should find out what exactly you need before you start learning it. You might find that you don't need to know very much at all. I took a calculus base stat class once and really didn't need to know very much calc at all, just some basic principles for few of the problems. Howver, you might not get that lucky.
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