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Step-by-step guide to mastering calculus from little/no maths knowledge

  1. Oct 15, 2009 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I am starting to apply for grad schools and its become painfully apparent to me that I will require a strong knowledge of calculus. I did well at undergraduate without having to understand maths, only having to apply it in computer programs and in calculations. What I have found I now need is a strong maths knowledge where I will be prepared for higher level study and where I can derive equations etc. I also need to learn physics!

    I have:

    Spivak Calculus
    University Calculus (Hass, Weir, Thomas)
    University Physics (Sears and Zemanskys)

    I started the first chapter of Spivak and realise my algebra is not good enough ( I cant really remember much maths from high school)

    So before I can even use these books ill need to know the basics- what do I need?! ( i am going to self teach myself using books/internet etc).

    Do I need precalculus, and is elementary algebra part of this? Could someone please give me the progression of subjects I should start at and go through to get to Calculus?

    Thank you!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 15, 2009 #2

    Vanadium 50

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    2017 Award

    You should have a solid knowledge of advanced algebra and trig (a text that I like, although it's been out of print for years is Spitzbart and Bardell - the problems are excellent) and it will help to have some facility with analytic geometry.

    What are you trying to go to graduate school in? If it's physics, you'll still be very far behind even with all that.
  4. Oct 15, 2009 #3
    A masters in Physical Oceanography; my undergraduate degree was in Ocean science, but focussed more on observational oceanography and I learnt more about computer programming etc, whilst a masters will be much more in depth on theoretical physical oceanography and statistics etc...
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