Books for adult going to college after graduating high school over 5 years ago?

Dec 2019
3
0
Wyoming
Hello all,

I graduated high school 6 years ago and I decided to go to college after several years in the trades. I took Algebra I through precalculus, but so much of it seems to be lost on me. I was accepted to the school's computer science program and there's a math requirement most semesters (Calculus, Multivariable Calculus, Linear Algebra, Differential Equations, Discrete Math, Statistics & Probability) and most "non-math" courses have a significant amount of math concepts involved. Our algorithms course, for instance, is programming language agnostic and largely proofs-based. We also have to take calculus based physics, etc.

I'm worried that having been away from mathematics for so long I will be at a disadvantage. After reading the first page of my calculus book I realized I didn't even have a solid grasp of trig functions. Does anyone have any book/textbook, video, or other resource recommendations so that I can get myself on the same page as everyone else or even get a "head start" before taking calculus?
 

skipjack

Forum Staff
Dec 2006
21,205
2,337
How many months do you have in which to catch up? Why did you choose a computer science course?
 
Dec 2019
3
0
Wyoming
I start Summer 2020. I'm just taking calculus for the summer and begin full time Fall 2020.

I've always enjoyed working with computers and trying to troubleshoot. I'm usually playing around various linux command line applications in my free time. Really I'd like to get into robotics development if possible. I love machines.
:D
 
Jun 2019
455
237
USA
I haven't tried it personally, but I've heard good things about Khan Academy from adults getting back into maths and sciences. You might start quizzing yourself on Algebra basics, and see how much you sail through and how much you might need to go back and review (or re-learn). Going into robotics, especially if you're going to be designing feedback loops and control systems, you will definitely need a good hold on linear algebra (so master matrix mathematics now), and probably a good foundation in differential and integral calculus. Interestingly, you are likely to need to understand calculus on a fundamental level, and very much less know how to take derivatives or integrals of specific analytic functions. After all, you're going to teach the computer to solve calculus problems approximately, rather than having to do them yourself.

Many of your peers will likely be at an advantage because they've been doing maths nonstop for 12+ years, and because -- let's face it -- most computer science majors are huge nerds. Doesn't mean you can't catch up, and folks here will help with stuff you don't understand.
 
Dec 2019
3
0
Wyoming
Thanks I will be sure to check out Khan Academy. I used it to supplement Algebra II in high school, but forgot about it. Does anyone have any familiarity with the "No Bullshit" guides at minireference?
 

skipjack

Forum Staff
Dec 2006
21,205
2,337
The subject seems to be explained quite well in those guides (judging by the preview), but the number of end-of-chapter problems is quite limited. Are you good at learning from textbooks?