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Precursor to Spivak Calculus

  1. Dec 16, 2013 #1
    Hello, I am a high school student in the UK who is looking to start studying Calculus from Spivak. My question is as follows: What topics might I need to cover in greater detail before doing so? In terms of work done thus far, I have completed my Mathematics IGCSE (1 year early) and am now working through a Further Maths IGCSE, the syllabus of which can be found here: Further Maths Syllabus.
    I have also covered logarithms, absolute values, binomial theorem and induction as part of contests and accelerated work schemes. What else might I need before tackling this text?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 19, 2013 #2


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    You might want to get another/supplemental calculus book or use free online sources like strangs or keisler while going through Spivak. Spivaks book is really an introduction to analysis, which isn't a bad thing but I can't judge from the information provided if you're at that level. Looking at the further math syllabuses you have the prerequisites to start studying calculus at the level I did, whether or not you'd struggle with the epsilon/delta formal nature of Spivak, it's hard to say. You UK kids get a better foundation in math then I did.
  4. Dec 21, 2013 #3


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    It's not so much a question of what mathematical topics you should cover, but rather what you do to understand mathematics. Spivak, like Apostol, is all about rigor and proofs. If this works for you, go for it. Do pretty much all the problems, be persistent, and you'll be fine. However, if this is aspirational, if you want to think rigorously and prove everything but you aren't really there yet, then possibly it would serve you better to do something else to get a handle on that first.

    There are quite a few threads on Spivak here and on stackexchange. Read them! Good for you for being ambitious.
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