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What calculator for calculus?

  1. Jun 5, 2007 #1

    In 5 months I am sitting a university math competency exam to gain entry to university. It covers the entire highschool curriculum like algebra, geometry, trig, and calculus.

    I have never did calculus so i am probably on an impossible mission but i will attempt it anyway.

    My question is for those people who have sat a calculus exam, are there any calculators that greatly improve my chances of learning it quickly by offering shortcuts or are they all the same?

    I will go back and learn the ins and outs of calculus later but i am really looking to just learn the algorithms for answering the canned questions that i have on my sample exam paper. They all ask the same questions year after year, they just change the variables and wording. So i figured if i just learned the process of getting the correct answer that would be my only way of cramming the whole of highschool into 5 months.

    So yeah, any advice about calculators would be gold.

    Thanks :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 5, 2007 #2
    Probably not much help can be gained from them. Although the graphing calcs do help some (if allowed). Some exams with a long time to do them; Graphing calcs, can help check your answers. Anyway a decent scientific calc can do a really great job - my fx82ms, is a simple calculator. But once you know the inner function capabilities, regression, SD and other cool tricks can be uncovered. So knowing your calc is more important. But get the best that is allowed for the exam...

    Anyway Spend 2mths on Calculus - it took me a month to teach myself Differential and Integral Calculus and a month to get confident on them. then spend time on trig equations and graphs - once you get the skill, you are in... Once that is done, Geometry and Algebra will automatically come...
  4. Jun 5, 2007 #3
    Thanks Prasannapakkiam,

    Are you suggesting going straight to calculus? I keep hearing people do badly at calculus because they hadnt mastered algebra and trig.

    Anyway, i am thinking of getting the ti-84
  5. Jun 5, 2007 #4
    Ooh... I can'r even afford that! BUT SPEND A DAY LEARNING ALL THE FUNCTIONS OF THIS CALCULATOR - do not make the same mistake like I have seen many do...

    Also, yes. I found that making mistakes and rectifying them actually helped improve my algebra - as long as you know the basics:
    -Adding/subtracting/multiplying/dividing fractions
    -solving equations
    -completing the square
    -using the quadratic formula (which this calsulator can do for you :D)

    Then you can plunge into Calculus...
  6. Jun 5, 2007 #5
    Thanks again Prasannapakkiam :)
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