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I currently have Calculus and am half way through the semester. My problem is i really didnt pay attention. We are now upto Implicit Differentiation. And i am totally lost. Do i still have time to catch up? Where can i go online with videos and help that explain everything in good detail. We covered Limits derivates and now Implicit differentation and soon are entering Applying differention. Do you think i still have time to catch up? And where is the best sites preferrebly with videos to help me out here? I dont want to fail calc again :(


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closed as off-topic by Ben Crowell, Andrew D. Hwang, user127096, mookid, voldemort Apr 12 '14 at 3:11

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It happens moderately often that someone fails calculus, takes it again. Everything looks kind of familiar, so of course there is no need to work. And history repeats itself. – André Nicolas Oct 18 '11 at 23:38
I'm not sure if you can get a real answer to a vague and subjective question like "can I catch up?" here. But you might look into Khan Academy online. – anon Oct 18 '11 at 23:38
Is Khan Academy online helpful with descriptive videos? I will check it out. I just want to know if its possible to catch up. – soniccool Oct 18 '11 at 23:39
Whether you can or not depends on you - your aptitude, perseverance, concentration, resources etc. - and so we can't really tell you. I haven't actually used KA myself but have heard good about it. – anon Oct 18 '11 at 23:44
Okay my adventure begins tonight. Time to start Derivatives. Here we go! – soniccool Oct 18 '11 at 23:53
up vote 3 down vote accepted

These videos are pretty helpful: The Calculus Lifesaver. You may want to get the book as well, and support the creator; it's very reasonably priced (and no, I'm not Adrian Banner).

Also check out MIT's Open CourseWare for Single Variable Calculus. I found the professor to be much drier than Banner's videos, but that is more personal preference than anything. Their course system has it's own study group to ask questions, but of course you can also just post well-crafted questions here. A lot of their materials are available online, so you may be able to just use your own book to supplement it. If you do need their book, however, it's much pricer than Banner's.

With regard to your more general question, "can I catch up", the answer is most assuredly "yes", but in the sense that you will have to be willing to put in the time and effort. Math, perhaps more than most other subjects, builds on itself; each step you take in Calculus is secure and firm because you've carefully laid the foundation before it. You are now in a position where most of what you will come across in your book will require previous results, and if you are not familiar or comfortable with those results then it will be on you to go back and solidify your knowledge.

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Wow that was helpful, okay well i got limits down so i just need to start at derivatives. I found the MIT site, but i just hope its the same material i guess it looks like they did it in a different order though. As for Khan someone directed me there it looks very good. – soniccool Oct 19 '11 at 0:00
MIT's honors course does integration before differentiation, but their standard course does not. In their standard course, implicit differentiation is covered in Lecture 5, in a fairly standard order. I haven't used Khan, but I have heard of other people having success with them. – process91 Oct 19 '11 at 0:03
Which one is their standard? I found three different single variable calculus class which is from what i have. The latest one 2010 looks out of order from what i have – soniccool Oct 19 '11 at 0:05
Are you sure? I changed the link above to point to the 2006 video list, which shows a fairly standard progression. Still, my personal preference would be to use Banner's videos. Don't waste too much time trying out different options, pick one and go with it until you get a better idea of if it will help you or not. If you've started with Khan, continue on that path unless you get stuck. – process91 Oct 19 '11 at 0:09
Actually ive been watching Khan Academy and i learned in 1 day what took 3 weeks for my teacher hahaah! – soniccool Oct 22 '11 at 21:24

Find the first section in your text that you do not understand. Read this section, work through examples in the text until you understand them. Then try to work some of the problems for that section. Once you feel that you understand that section estimate how long it took you to do this work. Repeat this for the next section you do not understand. This is probably the next section of your text. The average time it took to learn these two sections will give you a very rough idea of the amount of time you will need to spend on each section you do not understand.

Now you need to ask yourself if the amount of time it will take to catch up will cause problems for all your other classes. Hopefully you are not behind in those classes. If you think you can catch up without messing up your other classes then that might be the thing to do. If you think otherwise, consider cutting your losses by dropping calculus and do well in your other courses. If you take calculus again do not get behind. Work all the problems, perhaps even those that are not assigned.

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My other classes are easy, and i surely have the time. I guess i need to start asap. – soniccool Oct 19 '11 at 0:15

I'm in fact in the similar position with you and I guess (confidently) that you are in first year in university.

My solution is to read the textbook over, try to absorb the weird and abstract concepts like "infinity" and "limit". Once you get them deep inside your head, you will be fine with differentiation, finding tangent lines and stuff.

The textbook my school uses is Stewart's Calculus: Early Transcendentals. It's a good book with nice examples, pretty straight forward. Hope that helps.

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Thats actually the book i am using. – soniccool Oct 18 '11 at 23:49
And i am already in third year. – soniccool Oct 18 '11 at 23:49
The hardest for me is derivatives. The limits i already did. – soniccool Oct 18 '11 at 23:49
Really? Seems it's the common textbook for calculus. I'm studying that too, midterm within a week. That book is pretty clear if you pay attention to where the author starts out. – Erica Xu Oct 19 '11 at 0:07
Derivative is just about tangent lines. First draw that, with Maple maybe, have an idea of it, and you'll eventually know that y' is the slope of the tangent line. – Erica Xu Oct 19 '11 at 0:08

In addition to the above, find an educational assistance for your class or find a senior student that would be willing to give you some help. Calculus books are plenty. Spend time at the library and try to use other books if you got stuck. Don't try to solve every problem in the book. Focus most on your lecture notes and home work problems. Focus on basics. Refer to Algebra books when if Algebra is not clear. Calculus is very hard to master unless you have solid Algebra.

Never give up!

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