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Time to complete every problem in a Calculus textbook

  1. May 21, 2015 #1
    If I worked at intervals of 10 hours every day, how long would it take for me to complete every problem in a Calculus textbook (Calculus I, II, and III)? I've taken Trigonometry and Pre-Calculus and received A's there. I am above average in skill in math.
    - Blue
  2. jcsd
  3. May 21, 2015 #2


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    IDK. How many problems are there in a Calculus textbook? Do you promise to work 10 hours a day, every day, no matter how long it takes to get done, no backsies?

    What you are asking is incredibly vague.
  4. May 21, 2015 #3
    There are 15 chapters. About 7 sections each, and of each section there are at least 70 to 80 problems. I'm asking people who have done it before or are familiar with the task. I have the time, and dedicated persistence to do it. So, yes, I suppose I promise.
  5. May 21, 2015 #4
    Why is that necessary though? Practice is good, but you really don't need to do 70+ problems for every single lesson in the book.
  6. May 21, 2015 #5
    Is this a book like Stewart? In that case, doing all problems is absolutely useless and repetitive. Doing some problems is good sure, but after you demonstrated the ability to solve problems, you don't really need to do problems of the same type again.
    If this is a book like Apostol or Spivak, then the problems are varied enough that all are worth it. (Although you can definitely get a good grasp on the books without doing all problems).
  7. May 21, 2015 #6
    Alright, so let's answer your actual question. Assume that you solve each problem in 5 minutes (the earlier problems will be solved much earlier, but the later problems become much more time intensive, so I guess it's a good lower bound). You are looking towards 7000 problems, so if you do 10 hours a day, then you are working for at least 60 days (and most likely double that).
  8. May 21, 2015 #7


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    It's really not necessary or even beneficial to do this. Exercises in calculus books are typically broken apart into groups. These groups often have several very simple examples, some intermediate examples, and some more complicated examples. I often skip over the easier ones, or perhaps just mentally run through the process of solving them. It's important to distinguish between conceptual understanding and repetition from memorization. If one has a solid conceptual understanding of a topic and has the ability to carry out more complicated tasks within that topic, there's really no need to go back and practice the basics.
  9. May 21, 2015 #8


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    Do something healthier: Study 3 hours per day, six or seven days a week, and do as many problems in each section until you either know the section to your satisfaction or have had enough to move onward to the next section. You should find that your mind is still on Calculus while you are resting, doing something else.
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