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Self study help

  1. Jun 23, 2015 #1
    I am applying to University in January 2016 for either maths or computer science. I have taken the Gr. 12 prerequisite courses and did alright in them (calculus 89, physics 96, etc), but I feel I still do not have a solid foundation in maths to really feel comfortable going in to a degree program. I have started learning discrete maths on my own, and would like to know if someone could make a list of the maths every student should have a solid foundation in going in to a STEM degree program. I am also planning on learning to code with python. I have maybe 5 months to learn the maths + python, so I would appreciate a list with this time frame in mind. thank you ~
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 23, 2015 #2
    I'm not so sure that discrete math is the proper thing to be focusing on. Where are you at in calculus?
  4. Jun 23, 2015 #3
    Discrete math is pretty cool if you are interested in it and/or if you are thinking of studying computer science.

    But you should really study functions, trigonometry, limits, derivatives, integrals, Taylor series, vectors, multivariable functions, contours, partial derivatives, directional derivatives, gradients, divergence, curl, differential equations, phasors, Fourier transforms, Laplace transforms, probability, random variables, statistics, and linear algebra (vectors spaces, span, linear independence, basis, orthogonality, eigenvalues / eigenvectors, linear operators, etc.).

    You won't cover all of this in 5 months. But at a minimum, you should learn basic calculus.
  5. Jun 23, 2015 #4
    Ok, I'm thinking more review in calculus and trig. I already went over both subjects in high school, but I think I need to review them again. Would you say that if I have a good understanding of beginner calculus, trig, and discrete maths, and along with some programming experience, then I should be ok for computer science in my first year? and what about first year maths / physics? thanks ~
  6. Jun 23, 2015 #5
    Yes. If you have mastered the concepts of trigonometry (sine, cosine, tangent, SOHCAHTOA, 45/45/90, 30/60/90, Pythagorean's theorem, triangles within a unit circle), functions, limits, derivatives as an instantaneous rate of change of a function - aka slope of the tangent line, Riemann sums to estimate the area under a curve, integrals as exact areas under curves), then you should be in good shape. Of course, you'll still need to work hard. There is a big difference between high school and college level math, science, and engineering courses. In general, I would recommend studying at least 1-2 hours outside of class for every hour you spend in class. If time permits, depending on the class, you may take 3-5 hours outside of class for every hour you spend in class. When I took Circuits I in college, I spent 3-5 hours studying outside of class for every hour I spent in class.
  7. Jun 23, 2015 #6
    Ok thanks, this clears things up a lot more :biggrin:
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