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How to consolidate one's knowledge of pre-calculus

  1. Nov 9, 2011 #1
    Over the holidays (very long ones), I intend on going through the two Calculus volumes of Apostol. However, I feel my pre-calc knowledge of math is very shaky. There's lots of little tricks I just can't see. I'm not saying I can't do harder problems, just that they're not very obvious to me.

    Take this problem for instance: http://www.khanacademy.org/video/iit-jee-hairy-trig-and-algebra--part-1?playlist=IIT+JEE+Questions [Broken]
    At first look, I have no clue what's going. After poking around for a few minutes, I could have gotten a little further but I would have taken a longer route to square that polynomial. With a little push, I would have gotten somewhere. That's just *one* example of an exercise that I have trouble with.

    Like a recent poster in the "who wants to be a mathematician?" thread, I feel like I am very, very late and I want to sort this out asap. I don't know where to begin though. I also don't have *that* much time, so my learning will have to be somewhat structured. Initially, I thought a fun way to go about this would be going through every Math Olympiad problem I come across, then moving on to the JEE questions but that seems a tad haphazard and I'm not certain if that is the most appropriate way to proceed.

    Any suggestions?
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2011 #2

    I like Serena

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    Hi Mépris! :smile:

    My recommendation (it's a little "out there"):
    Visit college, pick up a couple of books that they're using, get a couple of exams with explanations (you can get those from any senior student, who's usually willing to help), and get to it!
  4. Nov 9, 2011 #3
    I'm wondering the same thing. I'm about to enter calculus and I want to have a very strong background in the topics before calculus (I was very lazy in high school). Someone recommended Lang's Basic Mathematics book so I'm hoping that covers all the bases, but other recommendations would be great.

    Edit: I just found this post in the books subforum that may be useful...

    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
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