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What areas of math do you need to know in order to understand calculus

  1. Apr 10, 2013 #1
    What areas of math do you need to know in order to understand calculus? Lets assume all I have is up to a 6th grade education. Can you tell me what and how I might learn these things.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 10, 2013 #2
    It all depends on what you mean with "understand". This isn't just a smartass comment though. You can easily pick up "calculus made easy" and work through it. You won't need much prerequisite knowledge. On the other hand, you have understanding at the level of Spivak's calculus, this requires a lot more effort and prerequisite knowledge.

    A good book here is "Basic Mathematics" by Lang. This book contains everything you need in order to start learning calculus. It covers elementary mathematics in a concise and non-spoonfeeding manner. However, if you've never seen these kind of mathematics before, then this book might be difficult.

    If the book is too difficult, then I highly recommend the books by Gelfand. Here is the first volume: https://www.amazon.com/Algebra-Israel-M-Gelfand/dp/0817636773
    He has other books on trigonometry, functions and graphs, method of coordinates. It would be good to work through all of these books before starting calculus. And it would be good to work through Lang too.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  4. Apr 10, 2013 #3


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    algebra, geometry are basic, then trig and logs/exp are useful. have you read euclid's geometry? that is helpful. check out my notes for epsilon camp on my web site:

    http://www.math.uga.edu/~roy/camp2011/10.pdf [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Apr 10, 2013 #4
    Thanks so much! I am going with the latter book followed by Lang's
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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