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Got my first math book to help me learn, but it's ancient!

  1. Jan 28, 2012 #1
    So my other topic was closed I'm not sure why but anyway I decided I can't really afford £20 for a math for dummies book so I went to my uni library and as you can imagine for a uni most of the math books are quite advanced, but I did manage to find this one, it's called Numbers written by Graham Flegg but it look soooo old lol.

    I looked through it briefly and it has all the basic stuff in it and it also teaches you to patterns etc so I will give this a try and see how I get on!

    Anyway know the best way to improve mental math? Square roots, fractions, multiplication etc?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2012 #2


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    It won't matter how old the book is. The process hasn't changed.

    Usually, children learn arithmetic in a set order, for good reason, so follow the same order as you relearn.

    Start with addition of single digit numbers, then increase the digits as you get better at it. Then subtraction the same way.

    After subtraction, go to multiplication and division, start including decimal places with those, and after that fractions. Fractions really are division problems, but people have a real fear of them that creates a mental block. They aren't difficult at all once you have the other basics down pat.

    From there, move on to exponents and roots (i.e. square roots). Once you have all of the basics and can do each separately, then it's time to move on to combining them all. That's when you start including parentheses and need to think about the order of operations (PEMDAS - parentheses, exponents, multiplication, division, addition, subtraction). If you follow a book while learning addition and multiplication that explains some theory like commutative rules (look it up later), the need for that order will make sense when you get that far.

    Keep in mind that it takes several years if schooling and practice to get little kids to learn all of this, and they have little sponges for brains. So, have patience and don't expect to learn it all in a week...you're going to need to renew borrowing that book quite a few times.
  4. Jan 28, 2012 #3
    uperkurk, the age of the book generally will not matter. I learned some trigonometry from "Plane Trigonometry" by S.L. Loney (my particular copy was published in 1896!) because I had zero funds at the time (it is old enough to be in the public domain).

    For practice I suggest doing what Moonbear mentioned :)

    Have fun!
  5. Jan 28, 2012 #4

    Greate advice I look foward to learning maths :) Thanks for the encouragement
  6. Feb 1, 2012 #5
    tbh I tend to like older books better than newer ones
    newer books have too many flashy pictures jumping out at you..
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