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Do I use the modern precalc text and learn the fundamentals of technique? Or do I use the 1960s text and understand the concepts more thoroughly? I cannot make up my mind! Someone help me!

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- Thread starter MJC684
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- #1

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Do I use the modern precalc text and learn the fundamentals of technique? Or do I use the 1960s text and understand the concepts more thoroughly? I cannot make up my mind! Someone help me!

- #2

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I'm not quite sure how you would make precalculus any more rigorous than it is in modern classrooms, except by making it more theoretical and less based on problem-solving. The thing is, with many modern treatments, a theoretical derivation is often included, although not used by the teacher. I remember looking back at my calculus textbook a while ago and seeing proofs of all of the theorems, and thinking to myself, "Where did all these proofs come from? We never did these in class!"

- #3

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What 60s book are you refering to?

- #4

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University Algebra and Trigonometry - Howard Taylor and Thomas Wade

Principles of Mathematics - Carl Allendoefer

Modern Algebra & Trigonometry - Elbridge Vance

Fields and Functions - Crayton Bedford

An Elementary Approach to Functions - Korn Liberi

A couple may actually be from the early 70s. Anyways how important is it that I be able to right proofs at the precalculus level? Should I be spending my self-study time learning how to right proofs and learn the precalc later in class this fall? Ort should I do just the opposite? I'm just not sure what the right move is. Im torn between the two options. Help!

- #5

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Go with the rigorous ones. You can easily learn precalc in class. Most students dont even use textbooks when learning precalc, it is that shallow. You will get hit hard in college if you don't know how to write proofs, and as it is a difficult skill to develop, you would do wonders starting out now. University will ASSUME you can write basic proofs at the level of geometry or basic number theory (see Niven).

I am not familiar with any of your books except Alendeofer. Your free time should be spent on developing proof skills if you intend to pursue a math major. School will prepare you in terms of calculation and technique. Other titles I recommend at your level are as follows:

How to Prove It - Velleman

Numbers: Rational and Irrational - Niven

Trigonometry - Gelfand

Geometry Revisited - Coexeter

I am not familiar with any of your books except Alendeofer. Your free time should be spent on developing proof skills if you intend to pursue a math major. School will prepare you in terms of calculation and technique. Other titles I recommend at your level are as follows:

How to Prove It - Velleman

Numbers: Rational and Irrational - Niven

Trigonometry - Gelfand

Geometry Revisited - Coexeter

Yes, but he can save that for class. Modern texts tend to be a shallow coverage of a lot of topics, more suited towards engineers than mathies. I think I'd rather see him understand what a logarithm is for instance than to have extra practice in performing calculations in it. And you can make precalc quite theoretical, studying various properties of functions such as odd/even and periodicity. The nature of the questions in books like Gelfand for example is more akin to what you'd see in a book like Spivak. Modern precalc books assume you will be learning calculus out of stewart or something.

I'm not quite sure how you would make precalculus any more rigorous than it is in modern classrooms, except by making it more theoretical and less based on problem-solving. The thing is, with many modern treatments, a theoretical derivation is often included, although not used by the teacher. I remember looking back at my calculus textbook a while ago and seeing proofs of all of the theorems, and thinking to myself, "Where did all these proofs come from? We never did these in class!"

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Does anyone have opinions about Sullivan's Precalculus 8th edition? I found the book to be nicely organized. It had it's own syllabus, and before each section it would tell you the prerequisites before starting the new section (and the prerequisites are contained in the book).

But this is coming from a newbie high school drop out, so I can't recommend it with confidence.

But this is coming from a newbie high school drop out, so I can't recommend it with confidence.

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Sullivan is good. I used it. Another one is "Algebra and Trigonometry" By Young.

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