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From algebra 1 through precalculus. 
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#1
Dec2507, 05:29 PM

P: 231

Do you feel it is possible to educate ones self from algebra 1, through precalculus, given 6 full months of study, say 50 hours a week?
I just want an honest opinion on what my chances may be, assuming I'm of average proficiency. And by “educate ones self”, I mean sit down with books and work through the problems. 


#2
Dec2507, 06:45 PM

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NO. That much time for the range of courses is ridiculous.
You can selfdirect your study, but each "course" should require at least 14 weeks, studying maybe 12 to 16 hours per week; even 3 months per course might be too tough for some of them. Algebra 1  3 month minimum; difficult for some people since it is a bit(or more) different than Basic Mathematics/Arithmetic. Geometry  3 month minimum; also some people find it difficult and maybe need to repeat it, but also this course is not really a strong prerequisite for algebra 2. Algebra 2  3 month minimum; new material because it extends greatly what you learned in Algebra 1. Trigonometry  yes this is often available as a separate dedicated course. Minimum 3 months; tough, but usually more enjoyable. The Geometry of circles, triangles, waves, graphs of periodic behavior... PreCalculus  4 months is best as minimum if you really want to learn well. More advanced Algebra than the intermediate level, includes sequences & seried, some proofs, also includes much of the Trigonom that you would find in a regular Trigonometry course. Six months to go through the whole range of courses is just too short. The one good thing is that you get the chance to review algebra at an increasingly advancing level, with frequent review of some basic concepts. The whole range of courses may require 2 or more years to fully be confident and proficient. 


#3
Dec2507, 06:50 PM

P: 306

I don't see why not. An average class at my high school lasted about 120 hours a year. It could take significantly less or more depending on which books you use and how well you can understand abstract concepts. The hardest part is being motivated and being honest with yourself, especially with self testing.
edit: Actually, I'm going to agree with the guy above it. If it was as simple as memorization it would be possible. But if you want to actually do well you have to understand what you're learning. Spending any less than a few months on a given subject and expecting to actually understand it is unrealistic. Unless you're a genius. 


#4
Dec2507, 09:25 PM

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From algebra 1 through precalculus.
it really does not matter what we think, just sit down and see how far you get. i recommend harold jacobs' books, algebra and geometry, since those contain the most important parts of precalculus math. this about 2 years worth of high school math, but if you are older than high school age, and spend full time at it, i think it is possible, since high schoolers spend very little time studying each subject.



#5
Dec2507, 10:24 PM

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Well let's see. Suppose that's 7 semesters of high school math. I probably spent 7 hours a week (lectures and studying) on math, for 20 weeks a semester. So that comes to about 1000 hours of math. If you did 24 weeks for 50 hours a week, that comes to 1200 hours of math. So it should be possible.



#6
Dec2507, 10:44 PM

P: 231

Thanks for the responses. I am working at this as hard as I can, and thus far have not gotten "hung up" on anything too bad. I guess I'll just see how far I do get, and take it from there.
Basically, I want to get back into school next fall, but graduated HS 6 years ago. Thanks a lot. 


#7
Dec2507, 11:16 PM

P: 3,016

Good luck either way, Casey 


#8
Dec2507, 11:17 PM

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#9
Dec2607, 09:49 AM

P: 101

Yep, I did this or something very close to it.
I self studied algebra for about 3 weeks before going back to school. I then took a standard CC entry exam and tested out of college algebra. I took a 5 week trig course over the summer and then selfstudied precal before enrolling in Calculus I the following fall semester. You'll obviously miss (more than) a few concepts by self studying in such a compressed time line, but you'll be able to fill in those gaps during Cal I. I actually found Cal I to be much more difficult than Cal II because I was learning a lot of algebra concepts I had not properly covered the first time around. Regardless, the method I used worked for me and I made it out of CC w/ a 3.95 GPA and was prepared enough by my CC education to hold a 4.0 in my university GPA. The people who say not to do this are just killjoys that think one must master every concept in a previous course to move on to the next. 


#10
Dec2607, 10:01 AM

P: 101

The best of luck to you. I started back at school at 25 and am a year away from getting my BSEE. It was the best decision I've made in my life, barring marrying my wife. 


#11
Dec2707, 03:11 AM

P: 9

You could probably do it if you really did spend 50 hours a week like you said. A lot of the material I learned in Algebra 2 was review of Algebra 1 and A LOT of the PreCalculus material was a review of Algebra 2. Basically, first semester was Trigonometry and the second semester was Algebra 2 all over again except in a little bit more detail and with a couple of minor additional topics.



#12
Dec2707, 08:05 AM

P: 925

Waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in HS, I was able to work at my own pace in math. I completed all 4 years in just over a year and a half, and that with not much studying, having to do schoolwork in other classes, and running cross country and track for the first year, so I'd say yes it's possible.



#13
Dec2907, 11:01 PM

P: 135

I'm going through the exact same thing right now. It's been exactly 6 years since HS, and I am now trying to get into a University.
I set the bar way too high for myself when I started, and it did discourage me quite a bit. Without ever taking any physics or chemistry classes, I tried to jump in and take a preU independent credit course, and found myself expecting way too much after such a long break from school. I forgot many things I learned, including most maths. I'm about 50 pages from finishing my preCalc demystified book, which took about 3 weeks. Had to go back and review alot of basic Algebra. I think this book is great, it covers trig, quad/poly/rational/inverse functions, exp/logs, matricies, sequence n series etc. I ordered a chemistry, physics, trig, books, and will be digging in once I finish this one. At first, I set myself to 6 months, to get all 6 Uni level credits. But that was nearly impossible given my situation. My new goal now is to finish them in 18 months, apply to Uni by Feb '09........and from Feb till Sep, try to catch up on concepts I might have missed out on. 


#14
Dec2907, 11:29 PM

P: 1,754

I also recommend:
Algebra and Trigonometry (2nd Edition) (Beecher/Penna/Bittinger Series)  http://www.amazon.com/AlgebraTrigon...8992899&sr=86 Functions and Graphs (Dover Books on Mathematics)  http://www.amazon.com/FunctionsGrap...8992904&sr=81 Precalculus Mathematics in a Nutshell: Geometry, Algebra, Trigonometry  http://www.amazon.com/PrecalculusMa...8992906&sr=82 Cheap, not dummified, and definitely walks you through forgotten Math. 


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