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I would like to buy some software but not sure which one! Please help ;)

  1. Jul 22, 2004 #1
    I would like to buy some MATH software but not sure which one! Please help ;)

    I dropped out of Grade 13 (aka OAC) in Ontario a few years ago--leaving school with a grade 12 diploma and no math credits. I am now doing the math credits (Algebra&Geometry and Calculus) via correspondence through an adult learning center which is run by the ontario education ministry.

    I am doing them one at a time (right now Calculus is my focus). I'm finding it pretty enjoyable (I liked math but had external circumstances during senior year which caused me to leave). The material gives me the answers for the practice exercises which I have correct almost every time. On the questions I must submit for credit I do not get to see the answers of course.

    I don't want to sound like a cheater (really! I am doing it all myself step by step self-taught ;) but I'd like to verify my answers somehow.

    I have heard of various math software: Mathematica, Maple, Matlab etc. I have read up on Mathematica and it mentioned that "Calculus Wiz" (another product by the same company) is better for having the step-by-step results for calculus questions.

    "Calculus Wiz" will obviously not cover my Algebra&Geometry course I am taking next.

    So I come to you wise men to ask if there is any software that you can recommend for my Algebra&Geometry and Calculus courses? These are rated Ontario Grade 13 which might be somewhere between most grade 12 and first year university classes I'd expect with overlap of both probably.

    I'm not even sure I'll need the same guidance with Algebra&Geometry...
    Do you think Calculus Wiz would be sufficient for my calculus needs? Any feedback on it would be great.

    Thanks a lot, I have no where else to turn for this guidance as I don't have a teacher :(
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2004
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2004 #2
    Hi singleton. I've used both Maple and Mathematica (althoug not Calculus Wiz) and I would say that at the calculus level there isn't much difference.

    Say, you need to check the derivative of something, and the integral of some other function? Both will do the trick.

    In Mathematica (the program that I'm currently using) you can do partial fractions expansion, find roots, sum series and the like. I would wagger that Maple can do that as well but I ain't a Maple user.

    For algebra both will do the trick if you want to check: inverse matrix, orthogonalization, vector/matrix operations.

    Perhaps you might want to consider buying a Book with solved problems? REA has fine books, Schaum too.
  4. Jul 23, 2004 #3
    Agreed. At your math level there are no significant differences between Maple and Mathematica. Buy whichever is cheaper, I guess. (I think Maple goes for about $80 for the student version.)
  5. Jul 23, 2004 #4
    Considier also MathCAD.

    I don't think Matlab is what you are seeking.
  6. Jul 23, 2004 #5
    Consider Wolfram Calculation Center - it's like a light version of Mathematica - you might wanna check it out.
  7. Jul 23, 2004 #6
    Great, thanks for the recommendations so far! Not sure if I'm more confused (heh) or not. I'll have to research Mathematica vs Maple a little more.

    Another thing is: If I get accepted for Fall 2005 undergrad physics studies then I may keep using the program at school.

    eJavier: as far as buying a Q&A book I don't think I really need that. The practice questions in the books have the answers in the back and I have them right step-by-step most of the time. I just want absolute confirmation for the answers I am submitting (which the book does not give answers for).
  8. Jul 23, 2004 #7
    I should mention that cost isn't that important. I'm focused on doing well and making sure my answers are correct more than anything. I'm a student at community college so I could probably get student discount for Mathematica or Maple either way...
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