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Teaching myself Calc 1

  1. May 22, 2012 #1
    Hello everyone,
    I am currently using khan academy to teach my self trig and refreshing my memory on some algebra things I have forgot since I haven't taken a math course in 3 years. (algebra 2 was the last course). I have almost finished all the practice on khan with trig and am now ready for calc.
    I am still going to use khan for calc but I would really like to have a text book to give more guidance and maybe some practice test. Does anyone know of any great self teach calc 1 books?
    After some looking around iv noticed a lot of people recommend Spivak's book, but I want to make sure that this will be the best before I purchase it.
    I am teaching myself calc before I actually take the course in the fall and I also need it for my Physics class. I am a geology major at a jc and will be transferring in two more semesters.
    Thanks guys
  2. jcsd
  3. May 22, 2012 #2
    If I understand well, you have never done calc before?? In that case, I'm afraid that Spivak will likely be too difficult for you. So I wouldn't recommend it.
    It's important to first get an intuitive idea of calculus before you see it entirely rigorous.

    I would recommend the excellent "A first course in calculus" by Serge Lang for your situation. It's rigorous, but not too difficult.
  4. May 22, 2012 #3
    Yeah I have never taken a calc (or pre calc) class before.
    The spivak book did look a little rough haha.
    But basically I just want to go into my calc course in the fall and be able to under stand it and hopefully know some of the things before hand so I can do well. Honestly I just want to learn it to. I am very motivated right now.
  5. May 22, 2012 #4
    Good afternoon,

    First of all: congratulations for the initiative of teach yourself Calculus! I am doing the same thing with Calculus II and have done with Calculus I too. It's very challenging! :-)

    "Calculus", by Michael Spivak, is a great book - my personal favorite, in fact. It is a middle ground(*) between Calculus and Analysis. But there is also other few really great books. Here is an article that presents 4 - one of them is Spivak's book: http: //math-blog. com/ 2007/05/13/ the-most-enlightening-calculus-books/.


    (*) - I am Brazilian and I don't know exactly if this in the English term I looking for. The Portuguese equivalent is "meio termo".
  6. May 22, 2012 #5
    I realize you asked for a book but you might want to check out the 18.01SC Single Variable Calculus course on MIT Opencourseware. It's organized for self-study and has all the resources you'll need for a solid introduction to calculus.

    I personally find web and video based courses easier to follow, although I guess you will get more out of a book if you actually go through most of the exercises.
  7. May 22, 2012 #6
    Wow! I am looking at the course now and it looks awesome. I may not need a text book now thank you so much.
  8. May 23, 2012 #7
    The lang book is a great book. I love his linear algebra book as well.

    However I have to disagree that this will be the right book for the OP. I disagree because the Lang book is great for an undergraduate. I think what the OP is looking for is something along the lines of a High School Calculus book. Something that has lots of examples, pictures, practice problems and chapter review materials.

    Something like Calculus of a Single Variable by Larson.
  9. May 25, 2012 #8
    Ok after doing some research and attempting the MIT open courseware class I feel that I need to go through a pre calc course (or text book) in order to truly understand the class I am taking in the fall.
    I understood some of the things in the first two sections, but I feel that I really need to teach myself more pre calc in order to truly understand what I am doing.
    Basically what I am trying to do is set myself up for a easier understanding of my Calc 1 class which starts in the fall. I would really like an A in that class and I need to understand it very well for my major.
    Algebra 2 was my last course in math (came before pre calc in my HS) so I need to work from there I think.
    I am going to continue refreshing my math skills in khan until I can find a text book (or online class) that can help me.
    What do you guys think I should do. I'm starting to get worried that I wont be ready for the class in the fall.
  10. May 27, 2012 #9
    I never took precalc, and I was fine with calculus, so I wouldn't worry too much. Algebra II was my last high school math class, and I tried teaching myself Calc I and failed. But when I took the class, it was fine. Unfortunately, I don't know of any good textbooks to suggest.
  11. May 27, 2012 #10
    I like stewart's book for calculus 1 tbh. The examples are a lot better than the book I use in class (which sucks..) and the problems are excellent.
  12. May 31, 2012 #11
    I taught myself Calc 1 and 2 so far. I highly recommend using Math Tutor DVD for any math, physics, chemistry. It really helps a lot. You can buy it off the site or obtain it by other means. lol I am not a sales person for the record.
  13. May 31, 2012 #12
    Math Tutor DVD is good, but his calc 1 program is a bit incomplete. Admittedly, I'm only half-way through it, but he barely even mentions limits. I'd still recommend it as a resource though.
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