I'm horrible at math. Could some explain Calculus to me?

TechHead87

Senior member
Sep 18, 2004
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I've got a Pre-Calc Algebra class this semester, and I don't know dick about Calculus at all.

My curriculum also calls for me to take Calculus 1 next semester.

Also...for those who DON'T know, I've been out of college for 6 years...and wasn't much good at math during my school days. I did well enough to pass, but ehhh, this scares me.
 

Crono

Lifer
Aug 8, 2001
23,720
1,501
136
Buy The Complete Idiots Guide to Calculus

I have it :D Really, though, it's a good companion book for textbooks. It will explain the basic stuff well enough to get you through Calc I.
 

TheVrolok

Lifer
Dec 11, 2000
24,254
4,076
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Add an extra lol there for good measure. :rolleyes:

Math doesn't come easy for everyone, and some professors are just terrible at explaining things.

Arguing with TFP? Surely, your time must be more valuable than that.
 

Whisper

Diamond Member
Feb 25, 2000
5,394
2
81
Add an extra lol there for good measure. :rolleyes:

Math doesn't come easy for everyone, and some professors are just terrible at explaining things.

Don't feel particularly put off by the difficulty--my roommate is a doctoral student in math (graph theory), and even he says calculus can be tricky.
 

Hacp

Lifer
Jun 8, 2005
13,923
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Pre-Calculus is basic algebra. Calculus is calculus. Two different things but ultimately they are connected.
 

TechHead87

Senior member
Sep 18, 2004
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So what is the "goal" of calculus? What does it do? What could it be compared to?

I've heard some say its more "graphical" than algebra...what does that mean?

Someone sum it up for me in layman's terms.

For what its worth, I understand a LOT about football. Could elements of calculus be compared to elements of football?

Also...my professor is foreign. Which is not gonna help.

Thanks for all help/guidance!
 

Crono

Lifer
Aug 8, 2001
23,720
1,501
136
So what is the "goal" of calculus? What does it do? What could it be compared to?

I've heard some say its more "graphical" than algebra...what does that mean?

Calculus is more like a toolbox than a specific tool.

Essentially, there a couple of types of problems (all can be demonstrated in the "real world") that Calculus attempts to solve.

A good start is understanding limits, and then understand differentiation. This site can explain it fairly easily, better than I can (great flash tutorials):
http://www.calculus-help.com/

A foreign professor might not be a bad thing, if you can get past the accent. My Calc I professor was from Bangladesh, and he was the best math professor I ever had.
 
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schneiderguy

Lifer
Jun 26, 2006
10,769
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91
Differentiation: Take the exponent and put it in front of the variable, then subtract 1 from the exponent.

Example: f(x) = x^2
f'(x)= 2x

Integration: Do the opposite and add C at the end.

There, that's everything you need to know about calculus. I charge $200/character. PM me for payment information.
 

IronWing

No Lifer
Jul 20, 2001
69,014
26,891
136
If you want to understand something really big then break it up into tiny little pieces that you can understand then duct tape them all back together to figure out the whole. That's calculus.
 

Crono

Lifer
Aug 8, 2001
23,720
1,501
136
If you want to understand something really big then break it up into tiny little pieces that you can understand then duct tape them all back together to figure out the whole. That's calculus.

Agreed, it's pretty much the concept of approximation.

Extremely useful and necessary for modern engineering priciples.