# Canonical way for self studies

• nycmathguy
In summary, the group discusses the importance of focusing on one subject at a time in order to maintain and develop proficiency. They also suggest starting with basic algebraic concepts and taking the time to understand them before moving on to more advanced topics. It is emphasized that a strong foundation in precalculus is necessary for success in calculus. The conversation also touches on the importance of seeking help and practicing on one's own, as well as the idea of starting at a lower level if necessary.

#### nycmathguy

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No More Calculus 1 Questions

I came to the realization that trying to tackle two courses at the same time is simply not working out. I need to polish my algebra skills. I am not going back to Algebra 1 and 2. I am not going back to College Algebra. I have decided to concentrate on Precalculus only.

It is ridiculous to continue struggling with the concept of limits in Calculus 1. There's plenty of time for Calculus 1 after a thorough review of Precalculus. I think this is the best thing to do. I want to read many replies.

You say?

P. S. I don't know where this thread belongs. I hope it is ok to post here.

symbolipoint and Frabjous
If you want to learn mathematics as a hobby or to keep your mind busy, you could as well start with the basic algebraic concepts: the way from natural numbers to complex numbers, sets, and logic. It is in any case necessary to take the time and "play" a bit with the concepts in order to grasp them.

And if you look at https://openstax.org/subjects you can find the books you might need for free.

berkeman and nycmathguy
fresh_42 said:
If you want to learn mathematics as a hobby or to keep your mind busy, you could as well start with the basic algebraic concepts: the way from natural numbers to complex numbers, sets, and logic. It is in any case necessary to take the time and "play" a bit with the concepts in order to grasp them.

And if you look at https://openstax.org/subjects you can find the books you might need for free.
Thanks for the link. I will stick with precalculus for it is a review for me. I took the course decades ago but I feel the course is manageable.

You will not be successful in calculus without a good foundation in precalculus.
You will not be successful in precalculus without a good foundation in Algebra 2 and trig.
You will not be successful in Algebra 2 without a good foundation in Algebra 1.

Astronuc, Hamiltonian, berkeman and 1 other person
You will not be successful in calculus without a good foundation in precalculus.
You will not be successful in precalculus without a good foundation in Algebra 2 and trig.
You will not be successful in Algebra 2 without a good foundation in Algebra 1.
I understand what you're saying but I like precalculus and will stay the course.

I think focusing on one subject for now is a good idea. If your goal is to do this as a hobby for a couple of years you will get more enjoyment when you see the topics reinforcing things you have already learned instead of being confused by having too many new things at once to figure out.

nycmathguy
Office_Shredder said:
I think focusing on one subject for now is a good idea. If your goal is to do this as a hobby for a couple of years you will get more enjoyment when you see the topics reinforcing things you have already learned instead of being confused by having too many new things at once to figure out.
I concur.

It was said already but should be said again:
Proficiency spoils when it is no longer maintained nor pushed to further development.

Allow me for a moment to avoid trying to express the sweaty details and metaphors.

symbolipoint said:
It was said already but should be said again:
Proficiency spoils when it is no longer maintained nor pushed to further development.

Allow me for a moment to avoid trying to express the sweaty details and metaphors.
Back to math. Do you agree?

nycmathguy said:
I understand what you're saying but I like precalculus and will stay the course.

You started Calculus I, struggled too much, and dropped back to precalculus. So the obvious next step is to see how well you do in precalculus. If you ace it, great. If you again struggle too much, then you need to drop back further, going down the sequence given by V50 in Post #4 .

CrysPhys said:

You started Calculus I, struggled too much, and dropped back to precalculus. So the obvious next step is to see how well you do in precalculus. If you ace it, great. If you struggle too much, then you need to drop back further, going down the sequence given by V50 in Post #4 .
I concur. I joined this site to get help along the precalculus path to math success. Encouragement is greatly needed. I can do without "this stuff is too easy" comments made one or two members concerning one or two math problems that may seem easy for them but not so easy for a person like me who took precalculus in Spring 1993 semester at Lehman College.

nycmathguy said:
I joined this site to get help along the precalculus path to math success. Encouragement is greatly needed.
And you are welcome. However, you will need paper and pen, too. We can guide you, but there is no substitute for try and error on your side. If you got help with some exercise, try some similar on your own. The fun in learning math is to become aware of the principles behind a concept!

symbolipoint and nycmathguy
fresh_42 said:
And you are welcome. However, you will need paper and pen, too. We can guide you, but there is no substitute for try and error on your side. If you got help with some exercise, try some similar on your own. The fun in learning math is to become aware of the principles behind a concept!
This is precisely the way I study math. I learn how to solve a particular problem and then search the textbook(s) for similar problems to do on my own.

Here's an alternative approach for deciding on which level you should start your math review. I'm a volunteer tutor for English as a Second Langauge (ESL). The competency levels of students enrolling in the program vary over a wide dynamic range. So before they start the program, they take a proficiency placement exam to determine their appropriate initial level. Check whether a similar math proficiency placement exam exists (online, adult ed, ...). That may be more efficient than starting too high and working down the ladder, or starting too low and working up the ladder.

CrysPhys said:
Here's an alternative approach for deciding on which level you should start your math review. I'm a volunteer tutor for English as a Second Langauge (ESL). The competency levels of students enrolling in the program vary over a wide dynamic range. So before they start the program, they take a proficiency placement exam to determine their appropriate initial level. Check whether a similar math proficiency placement exam exists (online, adult ed, ...). That may be more efficient than starting too high and working down the ladder, or starting too low and working up the ladder.
I took several online math standardized exams and passed all of them. I did not score highly but I passed.