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What is better to do before starting a math degree? I was thinking that maybe I should do something like:

  1. learning latex
  2. learning how to use matlab

Any other suggestions?

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I have been studying math for almost five years now, and I've never had to use matlab... –  Servaes Apr 17 at 9:26
    
I can't tell you how sorely I regret not learning latex sooner rather than later during undergrad. –  David H Apr 17 at 9:26
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Learn LaTeX, absolutely. MATLAB is not the most important thing in the world and also depends on what branch of mathematics you will want to focus on. –  naslundx Apr 17 at 9:27
    
matlab/octave is more applied, if you end up doing more theory (for example number theory in the case of math) there is also Mathematica/Maple/MuPad/Pari-GP and others (and there are many people who use no such programs). Sage is also more for theoreticians. –  Peter Sheldrick Apr 17 at 9:29
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Here's something not to do: don't buy books. At your school there is surely a well equipped library and that then gives you lots of leisure to look at the books and make much more effective purchasing decision (if at all). –  Peter Sheldrick Apr 17 at 9:33

3 Answers 3

You asked for suggestions other than learning Matlab and Latex, I have this suggestion:

Self Study Mathematics

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1) Learn LaTeX. This can't hurt and it's pretty easy to do when done without time pressure, say like before beginning mathematics studies.

2) Be sure you know as good as you can all the usual high school stuff in mathematics. It can be hard to know exactly what this means, but besides asking people, surfing the internet and etc., you could begin by going in general over euclidean geometry, trigonometry, analytic geometry, exponents, fractions, logarithms, basic calculus, geometric and arithmetic sequences, word problems, basic set theory, etc.

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LaTeX is a one-day affair. It's enough to know how the bare template looks like and where to find help like this one. The rest one picks up along the way. –  dtldarek Apr 17 at 10:06
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You can review all elementary mathematics in this book. –  metacompactness Apr 17 at 10:13
    
Hmmm @metacompactness: that book's contents look more like basic junior high school stuff (hardly), and it doesn't mention lots of stuff that many high schools cover: trigonometry, calculus (basics: tangent line, maximum/minimum problems, asymptotes, etc.), basic of complex numbers, analytic geometry (3-dimensional, say), vectors, etc. –  DonAntonio Apr 17 at 10:18
    
@DonAntonio Can you suggest an excellent book/hand-out to revise high school math (I did exactly what you mentioned). Also, can you suggest a book/hand-out/website to learn LaTeX effectively? –  user140619 Apr 17 at 12:35

You could try proving theorems you took for granted(ofc don't look for the proof),since most of them have an elementary proof(with this I mean they don't need any higher math stuff to be proven)

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