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Best way to brush up on math?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Bardolph, Apr 8, 2006.

  1. Bardolph


    Jul 28, 2002
    Grand Rapids, MI
    I've been a year away from math now, one year out of high school deciding what I want to do, and since I've decided on engineering, I know I'm going to have to be doing some serious math. I took math through calc 1 in high school, and engineering programs generally start at calc 1 (or however farther you are), so I'm all set there. Thing is, I know that the math will be getting very advanced in upcoming classes so I'm gonna have to change my method from "learn it so you can do the quizzes and tests" to "learn it so you can remember it and use it in life." Now don't get me wrong, I did very well in math and still consider myself to have good math skills, it's just that I've forgotten a fair amount of the terminology and the procedures. I think I'd be able to catch up just fine if I could have a nice elaborate review, but I don't want to go buy $80 textbooks. What's a good way to catch up on my trig and calculus?
  2. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    Are you already in an engineering program? If it came to you naturally in high school, then you shouldn't have too much to worry about now. If not, then you'll have to woodshed it seriously when you get to class. I was kind of in between. I understood calc, algebra, etc, but I had a problem with execution (read: I couldn't take tests worth a crap). So, I took calc I twice and after my second try at calc II, I switched to geography.
  3. Geoff St. Germaine

    Geoff St. Germaine Commercial User

    I took a year off between high school and university and I had no problems dropping into first year calc or linear algebra. If you did well at it in high school then it shouldn't be a problem to do well at it in university. The biggest problem I see, especially with students that I tutor in first year physics/math isn't that they can't grasp the material, but rather that they don't spend the time to grasp the material (be it in class or outside of class).
  4. Ericman197


    Feb 23, 2004
    I think this is the case with most students. Students at my college complain about some of my favorite professors because apparently "they don't help, they just tell you to read the book." Well duh, don't go to the professor's office hours to ask for help if you haven't even bothered looking over the notes or, dare I say, read the chapter. I have yet to encounter a problem that I couldn't figure out by reading the chapter or doing a google search.

    Bardolph: You might want to try doing some google searches. I'm sure you can find online calc/trig exams and guides. I'm a firm believer in the omnipotency of google.
  5. i would just start studying your old stuff now(assuming you kept it) as if you were studying for a final examination...

    As far as remembering the way I have found it easy is if you kind of have a good knowledge of the stuff going into the class. Then when the teacher gives you the lecture it is really easy to absorb and remember...

    Therefor, when class starts..study a section ahead of your professor. Start studying calculus concepts now...
  6. Brad Barker

    Brad Barker

    Apr 13, 2001
    berkeley, ca
    if you feel rusty on your calc and even your precalc, and want to learn from a (great!) book, i'd recommend picking up "the complete idiot's guide to calculus." i used that a few years ago to teach myself calculus, and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

    i'd be surprised to see it go over $20. it even covers techniques i learned in calc 2.

    spending a month or so with it really helped me out; i was able to think up creative problems and then solve'em after i finished most of the book.
  7. Figjam


    Aug 5, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Buy a Calc review book or something, i suggest Princeton Review brand
  8. canopener


    Sep 15, 2003
    Isle of Lucy
    I thought about picking that up before I switched from stat to geog. Hmmm, I only need a handful of credits for stat, maybe I should go back for a second BS?
  9. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    You take that kind of attitude into first year Engineering and I'll put money on you doing just fine. As a recent Eng grad I can firmly say (and with some small measure of authority) that the drastic failure rates in first year have almost nothing to do with curriculum. My theory is this: You take a whole pile of kids who were marginalized in high school (nerds, geeks, and whatnot) and put them into a situation where they're suddenly on an even social playing ground (if everyone's a nerd, geek, or whatnot then everybody's cool (or cool enough)), then you sit back and watch the mayhem. Most of the kids I went to school with had never really been invited to a party before when suddenly they're in on free beer nights, keggers, etc. It's only logical that a pile of them would then drink themselves right out of school since most never had to balance a social life with academics before.

    Anyway, if you're concerned why not buy the text early and read a few chapters. That little jump will put you miles ahead of most of the students in your class, and a email to your prof explaining your situation before the year starts will probably put you in a fine situation (though too much effort and I'll have to call you a keener).


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