How to prepare for differential equations?

In summary, this person recommends getting a refresher in Calculus first, then studying the differential equations topics to get a headstart on the class, and then using a book to supplement studying.
  • #1
Tagl00king
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I'm pretty rusty at calculus. I did well in them, but my memory is terrible and I have forgotten a lot.

I'm going to take ordinary differential equations (it looks and sounds like an intro DE class with some linear algebra too) next spring. What should I study and what not to prepare for this class? Do you recommend any books?
 
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  • #2
I would suggest making your Calculus less rusty. Take a look at the site:

http://www.mathispower4u.com/

They have a large collection of 10 minute videos on Calculus topics.

I'd start with Calculus I and work through them and get familiar with the derivative laws and also how to integrate as it will come in handy as you work DE topics.

You could also start with the DE topics to get a headstart on your class and then fall back to Calculus topics as needed to fill in the gaps.
 
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  • #3
As Jedishrfu has mentioned, revising the calculus content you covered is a good start. D.E's will come much easier to you if you aren't fiddling around trying to come to terms with calculus.

Unless you have time, i wouldn't worry about trying study ahead for D.E's, at least, no technical studies. Getting an idea of what the topic is all about would be good though.
 
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  • #4
I would get your DE text early to begin reading and working problems, and reference a calculus text when you need it.
 
  • #5
I have not studied differential equations myself, but a cheap book that is good for self study that I have seen recommended often is Ordinary Differential Equations by Morris Tennenbaum. It's a Dover reprint (very affordable!) and may serve as a good introduction and supplement for when you take the course.
 
  • #6
Cumberland said:
I would get your DE text early to begin reading and working problems, and reference a calculus text when you need it.

I wouldn't recommend this unless OP is confident with calculus, and just needs a refresher. If OP lacks understanding of some calc fundamentals, it'll be no good charging into D.E's. Just my opinion.
 
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1. How much background knowledge do I need to prepare for differential equations?

To effectively prepare for differential equations, it is recommended to have a strong foundation in algebra, trigonometry, and calculus. These topics are essential for understanding the concepts and methods used in differential equations.

2. What resources can I use to prepare for differential equations?

There are many resources available for preparing for differential equations, including textbooks, online tutorials, and practice problems. It is also helpful to attend lectures or seek guidance from a tutor or instructor.

3. What are some common strategies for solving differential equations?

Some common strategies for solving differential equations include separation of variables, integrating factors, and using power series or Laplace transforms. It is important to practice and understand these methods in order to successfully solve differential equations.

4. How can I improve my understanding of differential equations?

To improve your understanding of differential equations, it is important to regularly practice solving problems and reviewing key concepts. You can also seek help from a tutor or join a study group to discuss and clarify any difficult concepts.

5. Are there any common mistakes to avoid when preparing for differential equations?

Some common mistakes to avoid when preparing for differential equations include not practicing enough, relying solely on memorization instead of understanding concepts, and not seeking help when needed. It is also important to pay attention to details and carefully read and understand the problem before attempting to solve it.

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