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Calculus Knowledge for ODE's

  1. Aug 6, 2013 #1
    I have studied both single variable and multivariable calculus. I was younger and spent hardly anytime on them but did fairly well at the university level. I regret now that I did not master the subjects as I have an intense passion to learn ODE's. Do you think I should start studying Tenenbaum/Pollard without re-learning calculus? I feel that if I get stuck on some parts that require tricky integration or some other concept I can relearn it then. I understand Calculus. But my technique is rusty and there are holes in my knowledge. What do you suggest? Should I start delving into diff equations?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2013 #2


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    You haven't said how long it has been since your last calculus class. If it has been several years since your last course, it would be advisable to refresh your knowledge of basic calculus, particularly differential calculus, before forging ahead into differential equations.
  4. Aug 6, 2013 #3
    My last calculus course was multivariate and it was 2 years ago.
  5. Aug 6, 2013 #4


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    I am rather surprised that you took a multivariable calculus course and were not required to take at least an ODE course. How did you escape?
  6. Aug 7, 2013 #5
    I am working on a BS in Computer Science. Differential Equations isn't a required course. I only needed to take all of calculus. Linear Algebra I am taking this semester. Then I can choose another math course.
  7. Aug 7, 2013 #6
    As long as you remember the chain rule and integrals and derivatives of trig functions you should be okay.
    I suspect that you will have to go back and review calculus from time to time, but everyone does.

    I might suggest picking a different book though. I love Tenenbaum/Pollard. It's a fantastic reference. It covers a lot. But I wouldn't recommend it to someone trying to learn differential equations. I learned using Boyce and DiPrima. Its a pretty standard text for introductory courses. You can probably find a used old edition online pretty cheep.
  8. Aug 7, 2013 #7
    Hang out in a Calculus forum. See what they're working on and study the problems and solutions. Every time you run into something you're not good at and is at an introductory Calculus level (4 semesters of Calculus I mean), refer to a Calculus textbook on the subject and review that section and do some of the problems. Do that for six months and I think you'll do well in a DE class.
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2013
  9. Aug 7, 2013 #8
    Sounds good thank you for all of the advice. I'll look into some other books and start hanging out in the calc forum.
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