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Spivak's calculus problems

  1. Jun 24, 2013 #1
    I'm having major problems with spivak's claculus , i find the exercises very difficult , sometimes i think my answer is correct and the answer provided in the solution book is completly different , it's really putting me off
    should i switch to another book?the problems are really hard you don't even know what you have to prove sometimes..
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 24, 2013 #2
    Is this your first calculus book that you've read?? If it is, then you should absolutely try an easier book first.

    Spivak is a very hard book. Almost everybody has problems with the exerices. You should absolutely try to post solutions here on PF, so we can help you with it.
  4. Jun 24, 2013 #3
    No this is not my first calculus books , i used to be very good at calculus but the exercises can't even be compared to those on stivak's , i don't like to be "defeated" by exercises so i stick with em for like 30 minutes + until i completly lose hope then i look @solutions ,anyways i thinki i'm going to switch books
  5. Jun 24, 2013 #4


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    30 minutes is no where near long enough to give up on a problem. When I took a course on Spivak (given i'm not the brightest light bulb in the package) some problems I could easily chew on for a couple of days before it finally clicked in my head. It is the process of struggling, rereading, relearning, and connecting dots that Spivak forces you to do that makes his Calculus book a good book.
  6. Jun 24, 2013 #5
    That's not a good attitude, but it is understandable. I think most people in university are surprised how more difficult it is than high school. This may cause you to be frustrated and to lose hope.

    However, you should know that, although Spivak is quite difficult, there are more difficult books out there. Things will not remain as easy as you found calculus. The difficulty level will increase significantly throughout the years. And eventually, it will be so difficult that you will be solving unsolved problems. It's a steep road, and this might be frustrating.

    But giving up and reading the solutions will truly get you nowhere. You really don't learn anything that way. So you should absolutely stop reading the solutions. Of course, if you are really stuck, then you can always ask for help here or ask for hints. This is way better than just reading the solution.

    And 30 minutes really is not very long. Later on in your education, you will meet problems that will take you days. This is not uncommon. So don't feel "stupid" if you can't solve anything in 30 minutes.
  7. Jun 24, 2013 #6


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    i second the consensus. try to enjoy the work, and then hang in there much longer than 30 minutes. the longest i ever spent on a problem was maybe 5 years.
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