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Considering college, what to study beforehand?

  1. Aug 12, 2007 #1
    First let me say that I have never considered myself to be particularly strong in mathematics. This is primarily due to the fact that I did not take any of it seriously in high school.

    5 years later, I actually find myself quite interested. I have decided that I would like to try my hand at starting a degree in physics at the local community college.

    It wouldn't be until sometime next year, so I have about 6 months to buy books and really try to get my math skills up to a level that will be appropriate for surviving college material.

    My question to you guys is, what specific area of math should I educate myself in?

    The college courses being with Calculus 1, so obviously I'm going to be studying everything from pre-algebra, to more advanced algebra, and then finally buy some pre-calculus books.

    Am I missing anything?

    Should I brush up on geometry or trigonometry as well?

    Anything suggestions on what I should specifically be studying PRIOR to starting classes would be appreciated.

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2007 #2

    you'll need trigonometry.

    for a brief review of precalc algebra and trig, and a very lucid introduction to the concepts of calculus, i'd recommend "the complete idiot's guide to calculus." i loved it back when i used it before my first calculus class.
  4. Aug 12, 2007 #3
    Thanks. Will definitely look into that.
  5. Aug 12, 2007 #4
    I have found the following website useful when it came to notes that were easy to understand and digest. I used it for Calc III and DEs. There is also a section about algebra and some review on the Calc I section. It's free and you can download the whole set of notes as one pdf file or individual chapters.

    Algebra: http://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/Classes/Alg/Alg.aspx

    Check out the first section of the notes, "Review"

    This is good too: http://library.thinkquest.org/20991/calc/precalc.html

    I would suggest you pay a visit to a library. The bigger ones usually have a decent collection of math books.

    It gives you some good pointers. I found it very helpful.
  6. Aug 12, 2007 #5
    hey! I followed a similar path to yours and it worked out great. Lots of algebra and trig.

    Know your functions!
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