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Learning integrals and derivitaves in pre calculus.

  1. Mar 16, 2014 #1
    Hello I am in pre-calculus which is the next math class after algebra 2 and there are many scientific equations that require a knowledge of calculus to solve. For example I do science olympiad maglev and many of the equations to solve for magnetic flux or magnetic fields etc.. use derivatives and integrals. I was wondering if it would be too hard to learn integrals and derivitaves while still 2 years away from calculus.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
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  3. Mar 16, 2014 #2
    My idea was always that you don't really need precalculus in order to study calculus. You can learn the relevant techniques on the side (and they would make much more sense!). The only thing you really need is a knowledge of trigonometry (meaning: some trigonometric identities), but you can get quite far without this.

    I'd say you can start learning calculus right now. I recommend Lang's "A first course in calculus". It introduces the necessary concepts from precalculus (and perhaps even trig).
  4. Mar 16, 2014 #3


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    I expect the main reason you are "still 2 years away from calculus" is that your country's education system thinks it's too hard for kiddies to learn.

    There's no reason why an bright 14 year old shouldn't be able to learn calculus IMO. If you can deal with algebra and trigonometry, that's all you need to get started.

    But the level of math you need to "solve for magnetic flux or magnetic fields etc" is probably beyond a first calculus course, so getting to that level might take you a while (i.e. more than a year).
  5. Mar 16, 2014 #4
    I totallly agree with you about the fact that the United States has an illogical education system. If it were up to me I would take the most challenging classes but there are to many dumb/lazy people that seem to represent most teenagers that make the school board not allow students to take challenging classes such as ap physics/ap chemistry as a sophmore. but I do try to learn classes over the summer. There are many illogical classes such as art that you have to take to graduate when you can be learning another science class instead.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  6. Mar 16, 2014 #5
    That is fine there are algebra versions of how to solve magnetic flux/fields but I wanted to learn it the proper way and I was told that the algebra versions are not as accurate as the calculus versions.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2014
  7. Mar 16, 2014 #6
    What do you mean by solving for those equations using algebra is less accurate than using calculus? As long as the problem is reasonably simplistic (which they should be at that level), algebra should be just fine.

    That being said, if you really want to go ahead and learn calculus, basic derivatives and integrals are easy to learn.
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