Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Learning calculus over the summer

  1. May 23, 2010 #1
    Hello! This is my first post, so forgive me if the same topic has already been posted before.

    I am going to teach myself calculus over the summer. Last year (my freshman year in college) I took calculus I. The class was a challenge, and I know that I could have done better. We used the Stewart Calculus book (and Whitman's online one).

    Right now I am looking for any other good resources to learn from. I have been hearing good things about Spivak's book. What do all of you suggest? Do you think stewart is good, how about spivak?

    Also, I don't know if this matters, but I plan in majoring in electrical engineering. So if this makes a difference, please consider it.


  2. jcsd
  3. May 23, 2010 #2
    Stewart drives me nuts sometimes with the lack of explanation on a lot of the examples. If you dont remember everything you've ever learned in math ever, then it gets very confusing to see how he goes from one step to another without any explanation.
    Two things really helped me, one was the solutions manual, so you can see many of the problems done as examples from the homework and review sections.


    Check out the book calculus lifesaver by Adrian Banner.
    Helped me out a whole bunch when I was going through calc.
    He talks out every example as if he were lecturing and explains each step, even if it's something simple from back in geometry or even the previous chapter. It helps tie everything together to make connections from previously learned stuff.

    The book is cheap and he has 2hr videos for each chapter.


    here's the vids


    http://www.karlscalculus.org/ [Broken]

    is pretty good to get general concepts.

    calculators with step by step instruction if you get stumped:

    integrals: pword:none

    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  4. May 23, 2010 #3
    I'm doing almost the same thing as you are. I even posted a thread like this, and a few people suggested the calculus life saver so i bought it. It only cost me $20 including shipping. So far I'm really enjoying it. His writing style is very informal and easy to follow, but his examples are thorough and each important step is explained.
  5. May 23, 2010 #4
    Alright, The Calculus Lifesaver seems like just what I need.

    Thank you both!
  6. May 23, 2010 #5
    Jamestephen, welcome to PF. Please visit daily and stay focused on your studies.
  7. May 23, 2010 #6
    Depending on if you are going to continue your studies in mathematics you should consider Calculus by Salas Hille and Etgen because, not only does it provide detailed solutions to problems, but it also helps you to become accustomed to proving things.
  8. May 24, 2010 #7
    Why spend $20 on an okay book when you can spend 41 cents (plus shipping) on a brilliant book?


    I've used some of the calculus lifesaver stuff & it's good some of the time & confusing others, plus the lack of questions is it's main drawback. The video lectures on Riemann Intergration left me more confused than anything but some of the early chapters in the book clarified concepts better thn anywhere else I'd previously read.

    All that said, the above book is brilliant, it's shorter than Stewart, has less questions but the few it does have are the instructive kind.
    It's old so it doesn't treat you like an idiot either :tongue2:

    This book used in conjunction with any of the following;


    should be more than enough to cope.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  9. Apr 14, 2011 #8
    well last summer before going into high school I just taught myself calculus and stuff, this year during school I'm not teaching myself the sort of stuff that I'm being taught, I'm teaching myself geometry stuff (my geometry class in middle school was boring... triangles are boring... I'd rather do strange things like non-euclidean geometry!)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook