Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

What do I need to know to start Calculus?

  1. Sep 19, 2010 #1

    Femme_physics

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    I know a whole bunch of math, but I don't know if it's enough to start Calculus. Can you give me the run-down of what I need to know?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2010 #2

    HallsofIvy

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    If you are very good at algebra, that is all you need to start. Some parts of Calculus use the "transcendental" functions, [math]e^x[/math], ln(x), sin(x), cos(x), etc. but the basic concepts do not require them. It would help if you had some knowledge of infinite sequences and series and limits of sequences and functions but any good Calculus text will at least review those in the first chapters.
     
  4. Sep 19, 2010 #3

    Femme_physics

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Seems like my calc textbook does review it. So far so good, got through finding rate of change over an interval and the basics of limits.... doesn't seem complicated...
     
  5. Sep 20, 2010 #4
    I teach Calculus I and II.
    You need to be very good with Algebra to begin with.
    Then you will need .....
    Polynomial Long Division
    Trigonometric Identities [the basic Pythagoreans]
    Familiarity with Exponentials and their manipulation
    Complete the Perfect Square Method
    Adding rational polynomials [the reverse of Partial Fraction Decomposition]

    Cheers
     
  6. Sep 20, 2010 #5

    Femme_physics

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Seems pretty basic, paulfr. :) NP here.

    Thanks!
     
  7. Sep 20, 2010 #6
    Im an undergrad in my junior year studying mathematics and comp sci. I have finished all calc I-III and I can say that you should know you algebra well and trig. Trig identities become pretty important and when and if you proceed to applied calculus you will find that trig is quite handy. Sidenote - Calc II is going to be the toughest. Not because it is necessarily more difficult, but because it pretty much entails EVERYTHING you will learn in beginning calculus.
     
  8. Sep 21, 2010 #7

    Femme_physics

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Toughest is all relative, I find math and studying in general easy once you see the use of it and grow to like it.
     
  9. Sep 21, 2010 #8
    True, I'm just stating what most professors will tell you, and probably most anyone who has taken all the calcs.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook