“The mere thought of having to take a required calculus course is enough to make legions of students break out in a cold sweat. Others who have no intention of ever studying the subject have this notion that calculus is impossibly difficult unless you happen to be a direct descendant of Einstein.” – From the Introduction to Calculus for Dummies by Mark Ryan (For Dummies Books, 2003; $19.99).
Boy, did Mark Ryan get it right when he wrote those words in his preface to Calculus for Dummies. And then there’s the fact that his book was written personally for me, because I proved myself to be a dummy every time I took a math course during my school years.
If you’re a math dummy like me (and I hope that the Gods of mathematics spared you that embarrassment), I really recommend Ryan’s book, which spells calculus out clearly in small bite-sized explanations of topics like limits, derivatives, curve shapes, integration, integrals, and tons more. The way Ryan explains stuff it makes sense, even to me.
And Now, More Help for Calculus Wannabees
But here’s another suggestion. If you are studying calculus, or about to, you could also make use of the following tools, which simply did not exist back in 2003 when Calculus for Dummies was first published . . .
- Check out StraighterLine’s terrific free calculus videos on YouTube. You’ll find tons of help in courses like Calculus Unit 1: Functions and Graphs (four video lectures), Calculus Unit 2: Limits and Continuity (seven video lectures), Calculus Unit 3: Derivatives (18 video lectures), and Calculus Unit 4: Application of the Derivative (eight video lectures). And did I mention, those video courses are free?
- Take one of StraighterLine’s terrific calculus courses. They’re General Calculus I and General Calculus II. These courses are super-affordable; with StraighterLine’s innovative subscription plans, you could pay as little as $59 to take one. For that price, you can earn three college credits and even get free calculus tutoring as part of the package.
And Now for a Little Calculating . . .
Calculus for Dummies by Mark Ryan lists for $19.99, but you can buy a discounted copy for about $13 online, or a used copy for even less. Or, you could watch those free StraighterLine videos, which cost $0.00. Or you could take a StraighterLine course for $59 or so (plus your monthly subscription fee).
So when you add it all up, you see that shedding the shame of being a calculus dummy is cheaper than you expected. If you add it all up. See, you are calculating stuff already!
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