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Studying Self Studying Physics/Precalc/Calc help

  1. Jan 27, 2012 #1
    I want to start selfstudying such subjects. I don't know where to start.
    I don't know any calculus or precalculus. I've taken a basic algebra and geometry class that went a tiny bit into trig. I have taken a basic physics class in 10th grade. I'm 16 years old in 11th grade as an exchange student in Sweden from America. I plan to retake the 11th grade when I get back and start taking AP math or physics classes or go to a college course at the college where I live. I want to self study this year, and get to a point where I can read physics books and learn or understand them. I mean ones that are interesting and provide new theories I can understand.

    But fornow I need the basics. Can anyone point me in the right direction? Where to go, what books/textbooks to read and go through. I am lost, there is so much to do but not sure if it's effective or useful.

    Name some textbooks for precalc or anything please
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 27, 2012 #2
    I self taught myself precalc and trig through Stewart's book.


    I went from knowing nothing about trig or precalc but I was able to follow the topics in the book then test into Calc 1 my first semester in college. The reason I like the book is because it uses a lot of visuals during presenting the material. Pictures, graphs, etc. The other reason I enjoyed it was he had a special topic section in between chapters based on a real world applications. So after I thought I knew the chapter pretty well I would go to those sections and get challenged.

    You don't need to get the CD version, I just got the regular book but it was the only link I could find. I have the 2nd edition but there's a 3rd edition out which I know nothing about. I would save the money and buy the $3 used 2nd edition. Good luck.
  4. Feb 1, 2012 #3
    thank you, i believe that covers the precalc part
    should that be where i start?
    do i need to go through self studying precalc to learn physics? because the basic physics class i took in school, we just learned...physics i guess. i mean the math is probably calculus but we didnt really, go into a calculus or precalculus book to learn that. is it nessessary?

    this entire self study journey started by me wanting to read physics books. such as about the universe and physics theories. but in order to do that, i need to know...well...physics and for that i think i need calc and for that i need precalc and a big line of things
  5. Feb 1, 2012 #4
    A very good book is Lang's "basic mathematics".
    It contains everything you need to know before you tackle calculus. It is also quite theoretical, which (imo) is better for the understanding.

    If you done all that, then you can start doing calculus. And after that, you can do calculus-based physics.
  6. Feb 1, 2012 #5
    Definitely, few things are as indispensable as (pre)calc for physics.
  7. Feb 1, 2012 #6
    okidoki ty both of you, i guess ill do serge langs instead, since theoretical sounds more interesting and it seems alot more simple and easier(not to mention cheaper) to do the serge lang route.
  8. Feb 1, 2012 #7
    It's actually much harder. Theoretical books are harder to read. But you'll gain a lot of understanding in the end. You'll have to read theoretical books sooner or lateR.
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