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Completely lost but determined (slightly long post)

  1. Feb 28, 2012 #1
    Hello, I am new to this forum. I'm sorry in advance if this is the wrong place to post.

    I am doing a 2nd year math course where I learn about ordinary differential equations and vector calculus. Quick overview of learning objectives for this course can be found here http://studyat.anu.edu.au/courses/MATH2405;details.html)

    My background is that I am a 1st year math/physics undergrad student, last year I took a gap year, so I graduated high school in 2010 but haven't taken a math class since 2009. The math that I have learnt up to is basically a standard high school math education (Full syllabus can be found here for those that want to compare with the MATH2405 http://www.cie.org.uk/qualifications/academic/uppersec/alevel/subject?assdef_id=756)

    What do I need to know in order to do well in MATH2405? My other courses are relatively easy, so I can spend most of my time on this. I was told to look at 18.01 (Single Variable Calculus), 18.02 (Multivariable Calculus) and 18.06 (Linear Algebra) from the MIT OCW lectures, but I was wondering if there were other/better resources that would also be useful.

    Also, I feel like I gain confidence by spamming problems (and confirming that I get them correct). Are there any places where there are a lot of math problems with answers?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 28, 2012 #2
    Single variable calculus is usually a prerequisite for ordinary differential equations and multivariable calculus is usually a prerequisite for vector calculus.

    Is there any way that you can drop the course and take calculus instead?
  4. Feb 28, 2012 #3
    No, but I feel like I can pick it up relatively quickly.

    Do I not need to know linear algebra for O.D.E. and V.C.?
  5. Feb 28, 2012 #4


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    it sounds like you are in the wrong classes. the simple answer is to take those prerequisites instead.
  6. Feb 28, 2012 #5
    I don't know if this is pertinent, but at my university, Vector Calculus and Multivariable Calculus were the same course. Differentiable Calculus was called Calculus I, Integral Calculus was called Calculus II, and the aforementioned course was Calculus III. I learned vectors in my Physics and Engineering courses long before I took Calc III, however, so it really wasn't a big deal. I haven't taken any Tensor Calculus or anything, though, so I don't feign omniscience when it comes to vectors.

    I mentioned this so you know you can learn Vector Calculus and Multivariable Calculus simultaneously.
  7. Feb 28, 2012 #6


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    since as mentioned there are many different names for the same courses, as well as many ways to teach a class thaT AFFECT THE PREREQUIsites needed, this question should be asked of your professor.
  8. Feb 28, 2012 #7
    It's possible that you could pick up the material, but it'd be much easier after you learn single variable calculus. In fact, most schools require single variable calculus as a prerequisite for differential equations and multivariable calculus must be taken concurrently. Linear algebra is usually not a requirement, but a general idea of matrices and determinants would be useful.
  9. Feb 28, 2012 #8
    How the @&#$ did that happen?! As somebody who has done A-Level Maths (under CIE), I think that what you're doing is...insane. A-Level Maths just does not prepare you for that that kind of advanced work, especially if the last time you saw any math was in 2009!

    Have you done the prerequisites? Judging from your initial post, where you're asking about intro courses, I doubt it. If you have, ignore what I just said.
    http://studyat.anu.edu.au/courses/MATH1115;details.html and the course that comes after it.
  10. Feb 28, 2012 #9


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    There is a prereqisite of Math 1116 listed, and following that link shows that course has a prerequisite of Math 1115. If you haven't taken those courses, I don't even know why you were allowed to register for the one you're in.
  11. Feb 29, 2012 #10
    For those wondering how I enrolled in this course without taking the pre-requisites, my program that I am currently in is not a BSc, and the course co-ordinator gives permission codes for people that want to do courses which usually require a pre-req. My other classes are standard 1st year classes, so I think I can focus the majority of my time for this math one.

    Thanks for all the responses. Multivariable calculus is indeed taught at the same time as differential eq / vector calc, so I'll watch those last (probably at the same time as doing through the actual course material). For now, I think I will need to do single variable and linear algebra.
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