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

What is the best way to learn calculus.

  1. Jul 17, 2004 #1
    What is the best way to learn calculus... I want to learn as much as possible before school starts.

    please private message me if you respond
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 19, 2004 #2
    yeah, same here. I need some advice.
  4. Jul 19, 2004 #3
    ditto, maybe if you can help posting it here would be a good idea instead of sending a bunch of PMs
  5. Jul 19, 2004 #4


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Get the textbook and read it. :smile: You can probably check a copy out from a local library. You might also be able to call your teacher or principal and see if they'd be willing to give you a book a bit earlier than usual.

    There are also loads of sites on the web that have tutorials on calc, but nothing (in my opinion) is really going to beat a well-written textbook. If you have any questions while you're reading the book, ask here!

    - Warren
  6. Jul 19, 2004 #5
    In particular you could find out what text book your class will be using and start on that.

  7. Jul 19, 2004 #6
  8. Jul 19, 2004 #7
    So have you gone on and used this knowledge in other classes then? I just wonder since Keisler, the book you used, based his calculus method on Nonstandard Analysis (NSA) a "version" of analysis using infinitesimals instead of limits. He tried popularizing a calculus version of this in a textbook but it didn't catch on to my knowledge. Just curious to see what you've used your calculus knowledge for.

  9. Jul 19, 2004 #8
    I have not yet taken high school calc. I read the tutorial earlier this summer.
  10. Jul 19, 2004 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Get a decent calc book - I like Joseph Edwards' Diff. Calc. but there are tons of decent books - AND WORK OUT ALL THE FREAKIN' PROBLEMS.

    Did you catch the emphasis at the end ?
  11. Jul 20, 2004 #10
    I recommend the "How to Ace Calculus: The Streetwise Guide" series. They're cheap, entertaining explanations of Calculus topics. They don't replace an actual textbook, but they don't try to. They just provide a palatable summary of the concepts in Calculus.
  12. Jul 20, 2004 #11


    User Avatar

    I recommend Stewarts book for beginners. It's skim on the heavy proofs and such, but strong on the concepts. Find it and buy it!
  13. Jul 21, 2004 #12
    There may be ways where you can contact a former math teacher of yours and ask them. That's what I would do. This is more feasible in college than in high school, however.
  14. Jul 30, 2004 #13
    Practise make perfect ! For me , the way to get good result in calculus is practise more . Maths do not requires memorizing but undertanding and practise.
  15. Aug 5, 2004 #14
    absolutely great advice. when i first started taking calc i was getting help from 3 of my previous teachers. its weird because they enjoy it too, usually they havent seen advanced problems in a few years.
  16. Aug 12, 2004 #15


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    How to learn it depends on how deeply you want to understand it. Whether you just want to be able to solve standard problems, or whether you want to understand the foundations of the material too.

    Probably the easiest beginners book, no theory at all, is Calculus made Easy, by Silvanus P. Thompson, been around almost 100 years. Keywords: "what one fool can do, another can".

    A step up, but still very intuitive and well motivated, is Lectures on freshman calculus, by Cruse and Granberg, unfortunately out of print and hard to find.

    For a more standard text, bigger and heavier, with pretty clear explanations, and lots of problems, choose one of the typical college calc texts, like Cooke and Finney (preferably an older edition like 9th), Stewart (same recommendation, say 2nd ed.), or Edwards and Penney (same again, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd ed.).

    If you really want a text that explains deeply what the ideas behind calculus are, you need something better, and harder, like Courant and John, or Spivak, or Apostol.

    These are no - nonsense, mathematicians version of the material, for the brightest most motivated students, such as top Univ of Chicago freshmen.

    Suggestion: go to a college library and sit in the stacks and read until you find one you like.
  17. Aug 13, 2004 #16
    Anton was a great calc book.

    Vis a vis that infentissimal stuff: It isn't that different from what you'd normally learn. In fact, the difference is trivial. However, for a beginning calc student, do a search for "calc tutorial" and i'm sure you'll find stuff.
  18. Aug 18, 2004 #17
    ty for all the advice
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook