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Old 2012-03-25, 04:29   #1
jasong
 
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"Jason Goatcher"
Mar 2005

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Default Looking for self-testing materials

With all the free time I have on my hands from being a paranoid schizophrenic, plus the the fact that I'm almost 37 years old and still living with my parents(I keep getting people telling me it isn't my fault because of my illness, but it's still really embarrassing), I'm thinking I need to start self-educating myself. My ultimate goal is to start a BOINC or BOINC-type project(since BOINC probably isn't immortal) studying God knows what since I don't have the education yet.

Obviously, I need to break that down into smaller goals, which is the reason for this thread. I'm looking for a self-testing resource regarding math and science where I can start with no assumptions, or basic assumptions, about my education and test myself to find out where I'm at. Then, hopefully, I can find a program or mentor to help me advance further. My post about tablets that work exactly like notebook paper is related to this.

Anyway, can anyone refer me to a place where I can find self-testing materials, preferably free or really cheap, $100 or less that help me FULLY flesh out where my limitations are?
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Old 2012-03-25, 04:49   #2
Dubslow
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Hmm... that's a toughie.
MIT OpenCourseWare has a bunch of tests and exams from some of their undergraduate exams, but that's not exactly what you're looking for.

Perhaps you could describe to us some of the things you do definitely know?
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Old 2012-03-25, 05:27   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubslow View Post
Hmm... that's a toughie.
MIT OpenCourseWare has a bunch of tests and exams from some of their undergraduate exams, but that's not exactly what you're looking for.

Perhaps you could describe to us some of the things you do definitely know?
That's part of the problem. I graduated from high school, but that was 20 years ago. I began to attempt this goal(and quit) a while back, and someone had pointed me to a flowchart of various mathematical disciplines and what disciplines normally are learned before others. I suppose that chart and another one for science would be a good start. Unfortunately, I don't actually have access to that chart atm. I should probably try to find it again and store it locally.
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Old 2012-03-25, 22:25   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasong View Post
With all the free time I have on my hands from being a paranoid schizophrenic, plus the the fact that I'm almost 37 years old and still living with my parents(I keep getting people telling me it isn't my fault because of my illness, but it's still really embarrassing), I'm thinking I need to start self-educating myself. My ultimate goal is to start a BOINC or BOINC-type project(since BOINC probably isn't immortal) studying God knows what since I don't have the education yet.

Obviously, I need to break that down into smaller goals, which is the reason for this thread. I'm looking for a self-testing resource regarding math and science where I can start with no assumptions, or basic assumptions, about my education and test myself to find out where I'm at. Then, hopefully, I can find a program or mentor to help me advance further. My post about tablets that work exactly like notebook paper is related to this.

Anyway, can anyone refer me to a place where I can find self-testing materials, preferably free or really cheap, $100 or less that help me FULLY flesh out where my limitations are?
a thread about something like it:http://mersenneforum.org/showthread.php?t=16635
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Old 2012-03-25, 23:01   #5
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http://brainbench.com/ used to be good. I haven't been there lately though.
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Old 2012-03-26, 05:49   #6
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(grin) Mr JasonG, since you are here, on a computational number theory board:
Either learn programming or learn math. Or both. [Or I'll send you to the dread Silverperson!][Alternatively, I can teach you some electrical engineering...but you'll need at least a little math!]

Whatever your field, remember that tests of the sort you are asking for are inducements to study to the immature. The mature just do the exercises at the end of the sections of the good books, and check them with others. When you understand why the answer is correct, you have learned the material. The word STUDENT means, literally, one who is eager.

Resources: www.projecteuler.net (source of problems, you know your program works when you get the right answer, which lets you into the discussion, and it takes less than a day to compute!)

Dover books, on math. A good text is Georgi Shilov's "Linear Algebra". The beginning should make sense to you, if the end does, then you are a genius...all for about $10.

What's the BEST programming language? Depends on the job to be done. We (including Dubslow) have had long arguments on that one. Java, Perl, C come to mind. C++ is *not* a beginner's programming language -- too much implicit inheritance.

For $500 a year, my wife is in excellent liberal arts lectures from "The Learning Company". (www.buygreatcourses.com) I'm also a partial benficiary -- for things like close reading, discussions on effective lecturing, etc.

We are in the middle of an explosion of educational resources...on almost all subjects. I therefore argue that the most important ones are about the classical problem of actually being effective, which requires purposes or goals, and getting a handle on how to move toward said goals. In that vein, Stephen Covey has some interesting things to say. So does "What color is your parachute?". You might want to read up on John Roebling...builder of a repeatedly-sold bridge...especially through the writings of Petroski. Looking up heroes isn't a bad way to figure out what you *want* to do and a way to love what you end up doing.

But I'm lucky....really lucky...I love what I do (engineering in a small company where I make a BIG difference)...and would almost pay to do it instead of being paid nicely. Now if I could just find someone there with half as much EDUCATION or enthusiasm. I think I was put there to learn politics by whatever entity it is that protects me.
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Old 2012-03-26, 05:51   #7
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But he's trying to figure out what he knows exactly, so he knows where to look, what material he needs to learn. It's easy enough to find material, as you just demonstrated, but apparently it's not that easy to figure out what material he needs to learn.
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Old 2012-03-27, 05:02   #8
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@science man 88

I wrote those down to look at later, now I just need to figure out where I put that piece of paper.

Damn, I'm so disorganized.
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Old 2012-03-27, 06:18   #9
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Tons of math videos here and other subjects:

http://www.khanacademy.org/
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Old 2012-03-29, 11:52   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dubslow View Post
But he's trying to figure out what he knows exactly, so he knows where to look, what material he needs to learn. It's easy enough to find material, as you just demonstrated, but apparently it's not that easy to figure out what material he needs to learn.
Indeed....this is why I hihnk that figuring out what Mr Jason wants to do with himself, what he likes to do, is more important than the particular sources of material...we can bury him in good, cheap material (or he can do it himself0 if he knows which material.

There's an ancient chinese proverb about being happy that ends in:

If you would be happy for a lifetime, love your work.

So the right way to approach the question may be to ask Jason: What kind of work turns you on? What do you think is cool? What kind of work would you do if there were no associated monetary wages? Another way to do it: Suppose jason has his food, lodging , and transportation taken care of somehow, but is not allowed to return to his mother's house for a week or a month, and not allowed to take his computer with him. Where does he go and what does he do? (And no, don't show up at*MY* doorstep...but he could ask me for a job, or hang out with a particular group, such as my robotics team)

With some kind of answer to that question, the answers as to what kinds of things he needs to know become obvious. Otherwise, I am inclinded to say: Study linear algebra and number theory(use Dover books), and do project euler.

Linear algebra, in a deep sense, underlies the rest of college-level engineering math (trignnometry, calculus, statistics, differential equations), number theory is the nominal purpose of mersenne prime hunting, and project euler is how I got here in the first place -- there's a bunch of practical number theory programming problems, with wonderful sefl-test -- they let you know when you got the right answer.

Also, jason, if you need some ideas for interesting jobs, go to your local university library and read up on January issues of IEEE Spectrum. (I think I have the month right-- it's the dream jobs issue -- recent coverage includes Sir Richard Branson and his mission to reach the bottom of the Marianas Trench).
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