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Blackberry's avatar

What are the best books that will allow me to teach myself math?

Asked by Blackberry (31011points) February 20th, 2010 from iPhone

What is a book that will explain very simply how to solve equations and such for college math? When I say ‘simple’, I mean ‘you can do this if you’ve been out of school for 6 years’ simple lol.

Is there a book that will say: To solve this equation, do these steps… because that’s what makes math hard, right? Remembering the steps to solve things? Well at least one of the things. Thank you.

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8 Answers

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nisse's avatar

“Solving equations and such” sounds more like high-school maths to me. You can always revisit your old high-school math books if you still have them. They are usually pretty good (but tend to repeat the same concepts ad absurdum, you can skip some of the excercises once you feel you’ve grasped the concept).

If you are looking for a no-bullshit, as straight forward as possible, intro to college math i can warmly recommend the Schaum’s Outline series. There is even one especially for college maths

They are short and to the point and very effective at quickly teaching you the subject of interest, but you do still have to put in the work.

jrpowell's avatar

Can you go to the bookstore at your new college? Most of them have little practice tests you can buy for a few bucks. These are for when you test to see what class you belong in.

I know that doesn’t help much but you will at least know what you need to learn to get in your desired class.

bobbinhood's avatar

When I was reviewing my math prior to starting college, this site was especially helpful. If you are actually wanting college-level math, you will need to be more specific about what it is you are wanting to learn.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

It doesn’t seem like you need to “learn” math (correct me if I’m wrong), but to “review” it. Any bookstore will have shelves full of various grade-level review books, and you can pick the topics you feel weak in. They have simple text (since they’re not generally trying to teach from scratch) and loads of exercises with answers supplies—and techniques to follow if you get into trouble.

mattbrowne's avatar

Books alone won’t do the job. You need a study group. Another option is online tutoring. Here’s a good company I can recommend:

lilikoi's avatar

What level of math did you leave off at? It is hard to recommend a book without knowing where you are. This James Stewart text is a classic Calculus book. Doesn’t matter what edition you get. They are used all across the country in college calc classes, and it did a good job teaching me the subject. Highly recommend.

If you are not there yet, stash the idea for future use. I’ve come to realize that math is so much more than just solving textbook problems. I had to get to partial differential equations to realize it, though. Math is basically a language humans have developed over millenia to explain how the world works. If you are intimidated by the subject (many people are), I suggest an indirect approach – consider looking back at how mathematics evolved, its history. Learning math through history would have been much more interesting to me. I just read Zero: The Biography of a Dangerous Idea, which kind of takes this approach. It gets a little technical towards the end, and would be a much better read if you understand basic calculus and basic physics, but you may still find it interesting. And here now I am assuming you haven’t studied calc yet…don’t be offended, I’m just not sure at all where you are.

If you understand why an equation is, you can derive it from nothing and don’t need to memorize it. This is what I like about math – there is always an explanation as to why. It is very logical. Unlike physics where everything simply is because it is.

Blackberry's avatar

@lilkoi I seriously don’t remember. It was in high school though, I have been out for about 6 years now and will be starting from scratch, this time doing college algebra and triginometry I guess. I want to do the basic Gen Eds so I can get them out of the way.

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