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I am working on math through an extracurricular program, and I've been given a 'book' by a professor with a lot of questions. I haven't got the answers to them, and they aren't online either. I can't bother him too much (he is a very busy man) so I can't ask him for the solutions to everything. And since there are so many questions, I can't ask them all on stack exchange. So my questions is: Is there a way I can ask a lot of questions without exceeding the limit and/or spamming math stack exchange? Have you ever been in a similar situation, and if so, how did you handle it?

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  • $\begingroup$ Also, I really like this syllabus and my school expects me to use it, so I can't really switch over to a different book.. $\endgroup$ – JohnPhteven Dec 26 '12 at 22:42
  • $\begingroup$ Some options are: (a) forming a study group; (b) finding a tutor; (c) asking "lesser" questions in the Mathematics chat room. $\endgroup$ – user53153 Dec 26 '12 at 23:27
  • $\begingroup$ @PavelM Forming a study group wouldn't be an option I guess, since I'm in high school and I was the only one invited to do this, during my high school classes.. A tutor might be suitable.. $\endgroup$ – JohnPhteven Dec 26 '12 at 23:31
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    $\begingroup$ Try to pick out "exemplar" problems to ask on MathSE: those which best represent problems you're struggling with. Be sure to ask "process" questions: "how to"-questions, so you can fully understand how to approach/solve/prove that type of question/problem. Then equipped with the answers and feedback you find here, you may be able to tackle problems of a similar nature, or use a similar approach to other problems. $\endgroup$ – Namaste Dec 26 '12 at 23:42
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It might help if we knew the area that your book covers, but here are my suggestions:

  • Attempt the questions yourself in the first instance. Surely there must be some questions where you can be confident that you have obtained a correct solution without independent verification? (If not, then it might be that the text is at a level which is slightly too high for you at the moment)
  • Find a textbook covering the same topic and see if any of the problems in it are identical or very similar to problems in your book. If so, you may be able to compare with solutions (if any are given in the similar book - or there might be solutions available on the internet for the similar book)
  • Ask in the chatroom for advice about methods for tackling problems in your book, or advice about whether your intended approach to some of the problems is likely to be successful (there are several "regulars" in the chatroom who should be willing to help out, so long as they have some experience in the subject you are studying)
  • Any remaining problems could be posted on MSE
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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you. It is calculus 1 and 2 (basically, C1 one is real numbers and the final chapter is differential equations). This advice really helps. $\endgroup$ – JohnPhteven Dec 27 '12 at 9:14
  • $\begingroup$ In that case, I am sure you will be able to get considerable help in the chatroom. $\endgroup$ – Old John Dec 27 '12 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ +1 for "... a level which is slightly too hard for you at the moment.)" $\endgroup$ – Rick Decker Dec 27 '12 at 21:17
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It's a really important skill to learn how to identify when you've made errors and when you haven't. Look at whether you used all the hypotheses, see if there are counterexamples to claims you made along the way, try solving the problem a different way, etc.

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