Tools and Resources
You CAN Ace Calculus
17calculus > tools
This page discusses some specific tools and resources that we have found helpful and that we use in our classes. Most calculus topic links can be found on other pages where each topic is discussed. The links on this page are more general and most are free.
Your class may require graphs using a graphing utility (not by hand). All options listed below are free.
Winplot is the number one recommended graphing utility on this site and for my classes. It is free, easy to use and does everything asked for in the courses that I teach. The learning curve is short and there are videos to help understand how to use it. One drawback is that it works only on Windows computers. There is no Mac version. But newer Macs have the ability to run Windows programs (in a Windows emulator like Fusion). So this is the software you should be using if you are in my class.
Note: Recently I was able to get this to run in Linux (I use Ubuntu) with Wine.
GCalc is a Java based utility. You don't have to download anything to use it. So, it will work for Mac users (if you don't have Grapher). However, it is not a powerful as other graphing options.
Graph 4.1 can be downloaded from download.com. It is easy to use and free. Go to this link and type in the word 'graph' in the search box. Then select and download the program Graph 4.1. I haven't used this much, so I'm not sure if it will cover everything you need for my course.
GnuPlot is a free graphing utility that you can download. This page shows promising graphs but I have never used it.
Here is an article explaining how to use google to plot functions.
This site is incredibly rich in mathematics tools. But be careful how much you use it. Don't rely on it too much. The notation is unusual in a strange way and can be confusing. But the graphing is pretty nice.
We have an entire page dedicated to helping you find the right books and ways to save money on books that you have to buy, the 17calculus bookstore.
Here are some other suggestions that may help you.
Larson Calculus ETF - - The 17Calculus bookstore is a great place to start. The main textbook we recommend is Larson Calculus ETF. It is well written and organized logically. [ ETF = Early Transcendental Functions; this refers to how early in the textbook the author discusses using calculus techniques on trigonometric, exponential and hyperbolic functions. ] If you don't need the latest edition for a class, you can get an earlier edition for as little as $10 (the last time I looked). If you are struggling through another textbook, you may want to consider buying a used (or early edition, I recommend the 3rd and 4th) copy of this book. The book has great examples and solutions to odd problems can be found at CalcChat.com.
How To Ace Calculus
DO NOT BUY THESE BOOKS - - Do not purchase any books containing the words 'dummy', 'dummies' or 'idiot'. You are none of these and putting that message in your brain will just make calculus harder for you. Additionally, do not buy books that say that calculus is easy or simple. It's not. But it is possible to ace calculus. And this website gives you the tools to do just that.
College Student Resources
Evernote - - For storing notes and organizing, one of the best tools I've seen is EverNote. You can do a lot with the free version. Here are some ways you can use EverNote for school.
10 Evernote Tips For School – Education Series
How my students started using Evernote – Education Series
10 Mac Tools That Every Student Should Make Use Of
iHomework Keeps Track of School Assignments and Due-Dates
Remember The Milk is a great free task list manager.
Flashcards are a great way to learn new material, not only for math but also foreign language, history, geography, biology . . . almost anything you learn in school. Here are some suggestions.
The absolute best flashcards are the manual 3x5 cards that you buy at the bookstore and write yourself. I know it's a little old school but the actual writing on the cards gives you a learning boost that you cannot get anywhere else. That said, it's not always the most practical solution. So here are some other suggestions.
When I can't carry my 3x5 cards, I use Quizlet to set up my flashcards. Quizlet is free.
I have tried 3 different iPhone apps to go through my flashcards.
- Mental Case
- Quizlet Apps
Here are some other suggestions that might help you.
Smartr: Making Studying (Ever So Slightly) Fun
Here are some iPad related links.
10 Best iPad Apps for College Students
7 Ways To Use The iPad To Help Students Excel At School
We have a 17calculus page dedicated to taking effective notes. Here are some links to apps that might also help you.
Most Popular Note Taking Application: Evernote
Five Best Note Taking Applications
The Top 12 Note Taking Apps for Getting Things Done in School
We have a study techniques page with ideas to help you ace calculus. Here are some additional links.
How to Get Back Into Work or Study Mode After a Long Break
Here are some links to help you with your college expenses.
Why You (Probably) Shouldn't Take out Loans for College
5 Scholarship Search Sites To Help Students Get Financial Aid
How to Better Manage Your Student Loans and Graduate with Less Debt
Various Other Articles
Here are a few links to articles that will help you be a better college student.
4 Things That Totally Suck About Using Technology In School [Opinion]
Sometimes technology can actually make your school and learning experience MORE difficult, not easier.
Get a GPA Boost Just By Picking The Right Roommate
Did you know that your friends and roommates can help (or hurt) your education and learning?
This section contains links related to general math topics. For links to specific calculus topics, see the related topics link on each page.
Most of the documents you will find on this website are in pdf format. The Adobe Reader is a free program that you need to download and install on your computer to read pdf format documents. Even if you already have this program on your computer, download the latest version to make sure you can open and read the documents.
When turning in homework in my classes, you need to upload the document in pdf format. There are several free programs to convert documents and files to pdf format. Go to download.com and you will found several free programs. I use PrimoPDF but I have heard it doesn't work well in Windows Vista. I have also known my students to use CutePDF or dopdf. Type in one of these names in the search box and download and install it on your Windows computer.
6 Helpful Calculus Apps for iPhone & iPad
10 Best Graphing Apps for iPhone
Keep in mind that most instructors will not allow you to use your iPhone during exams. So this may not be the best solution for your class. Even if you just use it outside of exams, you will start to rely on this app and then struggle during the exam with a graphing calculator. So really think about this option before laying out money for it.
Sometimes you just need to review things that you haven't done in a while. Here are some sites that give you some practice.
Here is a great website to help you be aware of common mistakes in computations when using your calculator. This will also help you when you when it comes to entering equations in WebAssign. It's called Getting Acquanted With Your Calculator.
You will probably do word problems in Calculus 1 and 2 and this site will give you some review and practice in how to convert word problems to equations. It's called Identifying Keywords in Math Word Problems.