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B Learning Math from scratch. Need Help

  1. Sep 5, 2015 #1
    Need some kind of outline to learn math from beginner to an advanced level. Where should I start and how should I progress through the different subjects of mathematics? I want to be on a really advanced level in mathematics. Like a mathematics professor level/higher.

    Also, some book recommendations/learning sites/videos would be great too.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2015 #2
  4. Sep 5, 2015 #3
    Thanks for the reply. Yes, it will be self study.

    I checked out the link you gave, and I will look through the various books it mentioned. Do you have any other suggestions?
  5. Sep 5, 2015 #4
    Yes, but first what is your level? Precalc? Basic calc? ..?
  6. Sep 5, 2015 #5
    My level is pretty low tier. I would honestly say decent arithmetic.
  7. Sep 5, 2015 #6
    So you'll need to first work the basics, I would recommend Khan Academy before even attempting to get the very first book.
  8. Sep 9, 2015 #7
    I hope you're ready for a very long, grueling process to get to the level you're looking for. Usually the basis for lifelong mathematical thinking/teaching is set in the formative adolescent years. You can absolutely learn and train your brain, but you have to fight with the main issue: time. As a kid you can focus completely on learning and enveloping yourself in math, but there's a good chance that if you're an adult you are going to have to worry about bills, health, etc. To give you an idea, if you planned to just get to entry level college calculus you can expect 4-6 semesters (depending on your ability) of math classes, which is likely two years, followed by 6-10 years of undergrad, graduate, and doctoral (professoral) level coursework.

    All that being said, if you have the ambition, drive, and resources, then age is merely a number and there's no reason you can't get to the top of the field. As the others in this thread have stated, it's going to be worth your time to take an aptitude test to see where you need to begin. It's always better to start more basic than too advanced. Almost all concepts build off each other and you don't want to be stuck reviewing older material while trying to grasp new concepts.
  9. Sep 19, 2015 #8
    You cannot tell others how their journey will be. If something is difficult for you, that doesn't mean it will be for them or even that they will follow the same route as you. Even as a beginner, it's definitely possible to test into pre-calculus perhaps even calculus at some colleges. However, I cannot comment on obtaining the knowledge of a professor of mathematics by self effort.

    I left UCSD as a political science major, only to have taken stats/algebra as my highest maths, to finish pre-reqs for a physics degree. It took me 2 months to relearn/understand arithmetic-pre-algebra, 1 month for algebra 1, 1 1/2 months for algebra 2, 3 weeks for trig., and I tested into pre-calculus. So, from arithmetic - pre-calculus took me about 5 1/2 months. Mind you, I worked 25-35 hours and once I finished my algebra 2 review, I started to tutors others. Not only was this FUN, but it took not long at all.

    p.s. I got an A in calc 1 and I am tied with 4 other people for the highest grade in calc 2 ( about 2/3 through the course).

    Fishbowl, IMO, I would get at least two books for each math course. Be it physical or ebook. One that focuses heavily on concepts and the other for application. Once you are introduced to a new concept, do enough application so that you can explain to a young child how the concept works. ALWAYS look up words you don't understand and keep a word journal/notebook. If a mathematical definition looks daunting, break it down each symbol/letter at a time and translate it until it makes sense to you. I remember the first time I saw -1<= sin(x) <= 1, I had to graph it, review the definition of the sine function, etc. Mind you, I was self taught until pre-calculus - so no tutors/teachers to easily explain things.

    Here's how I started out:

    pre-algebra: conceptual book: pre-algebra for dummies ebook; application: Pre-algebra by McDougle/Littel 2005 ed. ebook

    geometry: conceptual book: Geometry by Jacobs 2nd ed. textbook, Euclid Elements by Euclid (you don't need this one, I just love math and he's the OG for geometry), Geometry Schaum's Outlines; application: (some random Common Core book from my library).

    I would email a professor at a local college that is teaching the class you're in and ask for a syllabus. You will not need to cover everything in your review. There are the "main components" for each math class and a syllabus can help you find out what those are. Don't be a afraid to review/re-learn a lower level math concept if you forgot/missed it. Some of the students I've tutored are resistant to this, especially the ones that have a lot of pride in their math ability. As a calc 2 student, I had do a solid 1 week review of the double angle and other trig identities, because I simply forgot them!


    edit: I believe questions like this have been asked already on this site. Have you tried doing a search?
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2015
  10. Oct 10, 2015 #9
    Start with the book named “Algebra and Trigonometry: A Functions Approach” (Amazon)
    By Keedy and Bittinger, Published by Addison-Wesley. 3rd edition is good
    It should keep you busy for a few months, then go on from there.
  11. Oct 19, 2015 #10
    Khan Academy is pretty good for those who want a general Idea of many mathematical topics. It is videos and short activities, and is what I've been using to bolster my understanding of mathematics. Excellent if you want to be working from a fairly basic level.

    EDIT: Whoops looks like I missed something another poster said!! Still, I'll just remove the beginning bit there and my point still stands!
  12. Oct 19, 2015 #11
    By far, the best organized and easiest site to use to practice skillsets is (https://www.ixl.com/). Between that and Kahn, you can get pretty far.
  13. Jul 1, 2016 #12
    Try www.ck12.org. The site has free PDF books from arithmetic to calculus. Free signup using your email address. You can only download if you're a member.

    Good luck.
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