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Should I Purchase the Answer Key

  1. Feb 3, 2013 #1

    Jow

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    I am currently working through Linear Algebra: A Modern Introduction (by David Poole). It's going okay, but there are only half of the answers to the exercises in the book. For the most part I can get through the questions and be fairly confident in my answer without the need for an answer key. However, there are certain questions that I find extremely difficult and at times cannot solve. Would it be beneficial to purchase an answer key, so I can find out how to approach the problems I am stuck on? I am hesitant to purchase it as I don't want to waste money on something that isn't necessary. However, if it would help me better understand the material by having it I would buy it.
    Another thing is, I tend to skip or get help for questions I am stuck on for more than a day. Would it be better to keep working on these problems until I get them, even if it takes me a long time, or should I just move on.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 3, 2013 #2
    Why not go to office hours and discuss the problems you're having with the Professor, or the TA if your class has one? Or perhaps you could work with other people? Don't be shy and ask someone in your class if they would like to meet up for doing the problem sets. This can be extremely helpful.

    The problem with having open access to the solutions manual is that you'll get lazy and will just start looking up everything from there, barely having thought about the problem.
     
  4. Feb 3, 2013 #3
    I suggest buying the answer book. If you are like me you will want to finish problems you start. And spending very large amounts of time on a given problem is often not practical. If you are trying to learn the material at a reasonable pace and can't do a problem after 3-4 days I would strongly suggest just looking it up unless you find it very engaging to keep working on it.

    However the answer key is probably only useful if you intend to do problems your professor does not assign. IF the problem is assigned talkign to other students/the professor are better resources.
     
  5. Feb 3, 2013 #4
    Answer book! They are great because they show you how to solve the problem step by step, something the back of the book wont tell you. I (try) to complete the entire assignment, and refer to the answer key as little as possible. Then, I go back and correct my own work against the books, and see if Im on the right track. This method works very good for me.
     
  6. Feb 5, 2013 #5

    Jow

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    Perhaps I should have clarified. I am a high school student.
     
  7. Feb 8, 2013 #6
    Answer book is a really good investment, providing they show a bit of work rather than just the answer. Redoing problems is a great way to cement understanding.
     
  8. Feb 8, 2013 #7

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    Thread closed temporarily for Moderation...
     
  9. Feb 9, 2013 #8

    berkeman

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    Staff: Mentor

    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  10. Feb 9, 2013 #9
    If you are working on your own, using a student solutions manual can be very helpful. However, there are a couple things to think about:

    - Different manuals are of different quality. This can be hard to judge before you get it, but some of them are excellent teachers in their own right, with detailed solutions including clarifying comments about why things were done a certain way. Others are useless. If you have a chance, look at one in a bookstore or library to see if you can get a feel of the style.

    - Don't cheat yourself. Do your best to solve the questions on your own before looking them up. Don't feel you have to spend forever trying to solve something before earning the right to look at the solution, but make an honest effort. If you are unfamiliar with the subject, you should go past the point where you start wanting to look at the solution. Learning to push past the frustration of hard questions is part of getting good at math.
     
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