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"Teach yourself calc" book recommendations?

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by Tunn3lVision, Feb 20, 2007.

  1. Tunn3lVision

    Tunn3lVision Jack's Raging Ambition
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    Me and some of my friends have decided that over this summer we're going to teach ourselves calculus so that we dont have to stress when we take it first semester in college.

    Can anyone recommend me a calculus book for this purpose?

    thanks :thumbup:
     
  2. krachenfels89

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  3. MonkeyNuts!

    MonkeyNuts! Even Kal has bad days...
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    Wow by the time you guys apply, you will have like 38490248023949302 posts
     
  4. thejonqproject

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    find out what textbook ur future undergrad instit is gonna use, maybe try to find a syllabus online and go from there.
     
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  5. johnnydrama

    johnnydrama I'm no Superman
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    Schaum's outlines are great for all quantitative upper level science + math.
     
  6. foofish

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    Wow...I think Calculus was perhaps the very last thing on my mind the summer before college.

    Chill out, relax! This summer could possibly be your very last summer completely free of obligations. (And of all your freshman fall classes, Calc I will be the least of your worries since it's straight-forward and probably going to be the most similar class to your high school classes...)
     
  7. apoptosisisfun

    apoptosisisfun No Reason To Get Excited
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    Wow, I wish I had my goals this prioritized prior to my high school graduation.
     
  8. Cirrus83

    Cirrus83 Too old for this
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    lol, seriously Calc is NOT that hard that you need to do this. I got an A in Calculus II after doing most of my homework with Mathematica, and just brushing up before the exams. To be fair, this was largely because the people who were in the fall Calculus II seemed to largely be people who had to retake it, so the curve was ridiculously forgiving compared to Calc I (which I had taken during the regular fall semester as well).

    It was pretty funny, one day our regular TA was sick so we had another TA come in (who happened to be my friend), but the substitute TA actually tried to teach us and make us take a serious quiz. Pretty funny because everybody bombed it, so our regular TA just tore them up :laugh:

    OK, so normally speaking Calc II wouldn't be such a joke, but I got an A- in Calculus I (where I mostly did the homework without Mathematica), and I don't remember having to work too insanely hard either.

    Just don't rely too much on using Mathematica, and you should be fine so long as you keep up on the homework in your class. I mean, basically once you remember how to do a type of question you'll be set. Derivatives, Limits, whatever.

    Or maybe my memory is just terrible and I've forgotten the hours I put in, lol.

    (Mathematica is really powerful math software for those who haven't used it before, so it'll basically do any derivative or limit for you, etc)
     
  9. NovemberWhiskey

    NovemberWhiskey Junior Member
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    You just forced me to order outlines for my Feedback Control Systems class (final in 2 weeks) and Signals and Systems as a reference :cool:
     
  10. OP
    OP
    Tunn3lVision

    Tunn3lVision Jack's Raging Ambition
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    As tempting as that sounds (using a mathematica :p ) I doubt i'll be taking any short cuts, mainly due to the fact that i'm majoring in chemical engineering. If i dont understand the concepts and material throughly, i'll have a very tough time making med school caliber grades (from what i hear).

    thanks to everyone who replied so far,

    if anyone else has any rec.'s feel free to name the book
     
  11. Cirrus83

    Cirrus83 Too old for this
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    Hahaha, nah I don't recommend using Mathematica since it does cut down on the practice you get. But if you think you have a handle on a concept it does save an awful lot of time not to have to do it by hand, lol.

    Anyways, you might try finding this book called "Forgotten Calculus". It's meant more as a refresher for people who took Calc a long time ago and forgot it, but I think it'd be a decent book to learn from. I actually haven't used the book BUT, I used a different book in the series, and used it to learn algebra for the first time, so the books are definitely good enough to use to learn something for the first time. Plus it'd probably be cheaper than a full text and less hard to get through.

    But if you know which textbook you'll need at college anyways, I'd just buy that and save some money.
     
  12. NY Musicologist

    NY Musicologist Career Changer
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    Better brush up on your grammar and punctuation at the same time! :p

    You might try the LearningExpress Calculus Success in 20 Minutes a Day, especially if you and your friends are all going to different schools with different textbook requirements. It's cheap and will give you an intro while still leaving time for summer fun.
     
  13. future_dr_house

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    honestly guys, calc classes were some of my easiest courses. chill out and have fun this summer.
     
  14. Hindiana_Jones

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    http://www.amazon.com/Calculus-Dumm..._bbs_sr_1/105-2105757-4185259?ie=UTF8&s=books

    Calculus for Dummies. Its a great book, its straightforward, it explain to you what a derivative and an integral are, it shows you how to take a derivative the long way, then the short way, related rates, et. al. If you need to teach yourself calculus and don't want to slag through a dense textbook, this is is the book for you. The book only goes through Calc II. There aren't really too many practice problems in it, so maybe get one of your friends old calc books to practice, but they do have examples that illustrate how to solve problems that students typically find tricky. The book also reviews the trig identities and algebra that you will need. If you're not good at math, there is nothing wrong with making sure you do well in calc. Do try and chill over the summer though.
     
  15. LIDO

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    Calc is simple.....actually it is very enjoyable. Newton did it in one night....so can you. Enjoy your summer and stop worrying....
     
  16. Tired Pigeon

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    :thumbup: I second this recommendation. This will be more than enough to have you well-prepared by the start of the semester.
     
  17. move2west

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    Calc is really easy and an excellent GPA booster. I would recommend enjoying yourselves this summer as others have said.

    In regards to your question, I taught myself CalcII out of Stewart. The book really sucks, but I was still able to do it if thats any help.

    Are you planning to test out of it? If not, I again recommend taking the class. I decided to take more math a few years after I learned Calc II, and it could have hurt me. My school is pretty good at letting you skip pre-recs, if they know you (the only way I got around this and did not have to get calc II credit). Then it has become a problem for applying to med school since some schools require it. You never know what you will decide to do in a year or two, so I would suggest you take it safe and take the class at school (take a break this summer!).
     
  18. jsnuka

    jsnuka Senior Member
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    DEFINITELY get this book and get the accompanying workbook that is available for problems practice. It is pretty straightforward and a good read.

    If you have a pretty good handle on algebra and trigonometry, you should be pretty good for Calculus. A good graphing calculator (TI-89 Titanium) helps too.

    Good Luck!!!!:luck:
     
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  19. nubbey24

    nubbey24 WOW!
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    Posting this question is like posting to everyone on this forum, that you are socially inept, a virgin, and have no friends. My advice:

    1. Buy the book.

    2. Go camping with friends.

    3. Bring beer.

    4. Drink the Beer.

    5. Burn the book and laugh.

    6. Repeat a minimum of 6 times prior to matriculation.

    Seriously...you need to relax, and get some life experience rather then trying to teach yourself calculus. All i have to say to this thread is WOW...as is WOW i did not know that such people exist.

    Good luck with life.

    Foofish is the only other person that is even the least bit sane on this thread...you guys are all crazy.
     
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  20. boulux

    boulux Member
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    As a calculus II tutor, I think I could give my input. Nothing's better than going to the class and practice a little bit every other day... Do your exercices but don't waste too much time on it, take it easy and relax during the exams. That way, you should get an A.

    If you want to prepare during the summer, spend your time on something else. That would be a wiser choice. BTW, if you don't get something at first in calc, don't worry and keep telling yourself it's not that hard. I've seen lots of people panicing with easy stuff that they didn't understood at first and they lost confidence in their abilities. Afterwards, they kind of given up because they thought they were bad in math. When I started vectors in algebra, I thought I was too stupid for this stuff, but I managed to finish the course with 97%. Keeping my focus was the key...

    While I am speaking about math, well maybe I can add more to the story. When I didn't my first basic math course and calculus I, I barely passed. I thought at this time that math was way too hard for me. I still think I'm not that good in maths. Afterwards, I decided that I want to pursue a career in medicine (really? this is a pre-med board, no?) and I told myself that I had to do a lot better if ever I wanted to be a doctor. Well, not only I think better in advanced algebra and calculus II, I had an A+ for both course, I'm also a tutor for those courses, lol.
     
  21. OP
    OP
    Tunn3lVision

    Tunn3lVision Jack's Raging Ambition
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    It doesn't bother me that you took the time out to give me a BS answer when I was asking a serious question.

    It does kind of bother me that you think that a person can't get "life experience" and teach themselves calculus at the same time.

    oh look, i'm getting life experience right now: how to deal w/ a douche

    again, thanks to everyone who posted a serious reply.
     
  22. Falco2525

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    I honestly think this is a waste of time...enjoy your last summer...focus on school once you get here....calculus is no sweat...I would worry more about you intro science courses...make sure to get a good hold on gen chem and you will be well prepared to begin college off with a bang
     
  23. Hindiana_Jones

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    Wow, many of us got zinged by nubbey24. Yeah, I think its good to have a balanced summer, but I was never very good at math, so I think its a good idea to study if you know you're not coming in with a strong background. I took a trig course at my cc before I entered my freshman year, just b/c I needed it. I did well, and I had fun, so... Maybe everyone else in this thread is really good at math and and therefore found Calc I easy. I am assuming you are not in calc A/B or B/C? Its just my opinion, but look over the stuff, b/c you may have kids in your class who have already taken calc in high school. I agree with Falco, gen chem is where its at Freshman year. Pay close attention when you do molecular oribtals, VESPR, et al. Its the foundation of orgo.I'm just prolonging this thread, go get the Calc for dummies books.
     
  24. idavidcrockett

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    The best way to learn calculus is by working calculus problems. Lot's and lot's of problems.

    Who are these people you call your friends? How can they let you do this to yourself?

    Are you an engineering student going into MIT next year? Are you going into engineering? If so than take a course at a community college. If not, then do not bother. Calculus is the easiest math class of all math classes. I have crazy dyslexia, and I got's A's in 1-3 plus diff eq. I have never gotten higher then a C on an algebra exam.
     
  25. nubbey24

    nubbey24 WOW!
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    Okay I admit my post was a bit crash, but seriously...get a hold of yourself. Someone who self admittedly wants to study calculus on their own over the summer before their life is going to be consumed by studying should reevaluate who they call douche...i.e. look into the mirror bud.

    My serious advice since you decided not to laugh at my last post:

    Get a job during the summer and then spend all other time hanging out with friends that will be going to colleges separate from you. If you are really looking to do something nerdy but cool, then start volunteering at a hospital, but do not start studying calculus. You will regret it and hate yourself!

    Good luck...
     
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  26. rox1co

    rox1co ro.co
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    grow up

    anyways, i think it's good you're getting ahead, just don't study too hard. read over the chapter once or twice, but don't go in-depth by doing all the exercises. just do the examples, my .02
     
  27. coralfangs

    coralfangs Senior Member
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    coles notes worked for me
    its just 100 pages
    and it tells u everything u need to know for calculus 101
     
  28. PalmettoGuy

    PalmettoGuy Junior Member
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    This just reminded me of a situation the other day:

    I'm in Barnes and Noble studying for the MCAT and see this younger guy reading an MCAT book. I thought he looked a little young, but hey, by now all freshman are. I start talking to him and he is in 7TH GRADE! This guy even looked like a pretty normal dude...

    Anyways, my advice:

    1) Unless you have taken AP Calc, don't listen to everyone who said it is a piece of cake.

    2) Best thing you can do is to work practice problems DAILY once your class starts. Even work the application problems, they will help to conceptualize what the numbers mean. It will also help with the math in other classes.

    3) Get a good teacher WHO SPEAKS ENGLISH...

    4) Work some more problems, after you have gone through the text/lecture once, concentrate on working problems, that is the best way to learn.

    Good Luck... Chemical Engineering sucked...
     
  29. JRockdown

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    My advice:

    If you are a very good book based learner, then think of proceeding with your plan. Pick any book as long at has lots of problems with solutions. Have a great final summer ?!?!

    If you aren't so book oriented in your learning, just skip it, you will be mostly spinning your wheels.

    Good luck!
     
  30. dendro

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    I would like to disagree with Nubbey24's comment about studying calc over the summer. I think it's a great idea, especially if you've never taken AP Calc or a calc class. If you can get ahead you should try. Calculus isn't an easy subject. I took AP Calc in high school and got a 5 on the AP test and got the entire free-response portion correct (we got to keep the free-response questions so I wrote down my answers and we went over them in my calc class the next day). I'm going to be a senior this next year in college and have taken 124 credits and the only class I didn't get an A in was Calculus II (I got a B). I'm not complaining about the grade. But calc is a hard class, especially if the teacher makes the class difficult for you. I suggest you guys get an overview of calc because if you go too in-depth, you won't remember everything. But try to get some good concepts down that you'll remember. It's good to use a different book than the one you'll be using in your college course so you can get a different perspective. And to Nubbey24: Other people like us do exist, and we're not crazy. It's actually a great idea if you'll be taking calc with other upper level science and non-science courses as many people do with the availability of AP and CLEP options. I do suggest that you guys don't go into studying too intensely. I would also do some volunteer work (I wish I would have started the summer after high-school), and it would also really help if you did some medical shadowing or worked in a research lab. This isn't too important, but at least do a few hours of volunteer work a week, like around 3 hrs. just to start out. It will be beneficial to applying to medical school. Good luck with calc next semester!
     
  31. rox1co

    rox1co ro.co
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    UPDATE: So I'm 3-weeks into my Calculus class, it's not so bad. I would recommend just slightly reading over the concepts, don't stress out too much.

    We're using Calculus by James Stewart. It has mixed reviews on Amazon, but overall, I really like how he explains the concepts, but I hate how he introduces "next-chapter" material in the exercises the chapter before.
     
  32. Mister Pie

    Mister Pie Senior Member
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    http://www.amazon.com/How-Ace-Calculus-Streetwise-Guide/dp/0716731606
    http://www.amazon.com/How-Ace-Rest-Calculus-Multi-Variable/dp/0716741741

    How to Ace Calculus: the Streetwise Guide
    How to Ace the Rest of Calculus: the Streetwise Guide

    I'm an engineer and I still found these books useful early on in my undergrad career. Don't let the covers fool you, the book is funny (though sometimes painfully corny) and everything is clearly explained. Maybe I'm a nerd, but they were a fun read as well. I cannot recommend this series highly enough.

    Don't use it as a substitute for your textbook, but rather a companion. I
     
  33. prmdbeach17

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    If only I was this motivated my summer before college...I had online precalc last summer and it was a nightmare trying to teach it to myself. I never even met the professor but somehow got an A. Calc 1 in the classroom was so much easier, I would just wait until you have it at school to learn it. If you want to learn a subject now so it'll be easier when you take it, learn organic chem.
     

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