How can I teach myself mathematics?

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I am an industrial engineering junior who is interested in postgraduate studies. Currently my curriculum is very oriented towards practicality instead of theory, so we only learn math theory at a superficial level (the calculus and linear algebra classes were all about identifying the correct equations to use at the correct time). I hope that my postgraduate work (I do not know which exact field yet) will be a good mix of theory/applied.

I have 1.5 years more to finishing my undergraduate education. How can I spend this time to build a solid mathematical foundation which will prepare me for grad school?

Currently, I am picking up basic discrete math and mathematical statistics while relearning my calculus and probability/statistics material.

Next, linear algebra (although I won't be done with discrete math and mathematical stats anytime soon... learning all these on the side of normal curriculum is tough). What subjects should be next?

If you are an engineer/industrial engineer or work in statistics/operations research, I would especially welcome your advice. Math-types kindly help me too, thanks guys.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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This is a vast topic and really depends on your future professional orientation. The topics you pointed out (calculus, statistics and algebra) are standards for the industry and should be the basis for all engineers.
I would think that statistics and basic calculus are a must. Then if you want to orient yourself more towards production, you would need to deepen your statistical knowledge as well as discrete math and algebra.
If you want to orient yourself more towards application and design, then PDE (partial differential equations) is a must.
A good knowledge of these topics will give you a solid basis for learning applied mathematics in the discipline you will ultimately choose.
Hope this helps.
 
  • #3
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I won't comment on the subjects that you should learn next, because I'm not an engineer or engineering major. However, I do quite a bit of self-study and can offer you some rather basic advice: quality over quantity. When self-studying maths, it's not about how many different subject areas you can introduce yourself to, but how well you master a few.

If you're interested in more applied approaches to mathematical subjects, look for texts that do just that.
 
  • #4
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I won't comment on the subjects that you should learn next, because I'm not an engineer or engineering major. However, I do quite a bit of self-study and can offer you some rather basic advice: quality over quantity. When self-studying maths, it's not about how many different subject areas you can introduce yourself to, but how well you master a few.

If you're interested in more applied approaches to mathematical subjects, look for texts that do just that.
Thanks. I guess you are right. I will try to study more deeply into the "basics" of calculus and linear algebra in the next few months before thinking of anything else.
 
  • #5
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I recently discovered The Khan Academy. It's a set of online video tutorials for late highschool / early tertiary studies in maths, science and science courses. I've found it invaluable for re-learning some basic maths I have forgotten since high school, now that I am a mature age student at university 10 years on. Most lessons are 10min or so, and I have a 1st year eng. maths text handy so I generally watch a tute or two, or three and work through some more problems in my text.
 

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