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24 year old heading back to school

  1. Feb 11, 2012 #1
    A quick bit about myself, I went to college for 2.5 years right out of high school(I ended with a 3.0 gpa), that was about 5 years ago now. I am now wanting to go back to college to finish my degree. My major back then was Business Management, however I have lost all interest in that field and would like to pursue a degree related to astronomy. Now to the hard part, I've not been good at math since middle school and any degree related to astronomy is grounded in math. This summer I will be taking college algebra, but I'm worried that even this could be too advanced for me and I would like to start preparing for the class now, but not entirely sure where to start. Should I review back into high school algebra and algebra 2, anything else I should go back and review? While I was in college I did take a college algebra level class and got a B, but I know I have forgotten a lot since then. In the fall semester I plan on taking trigonometry and an introductory physics class.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 11, 2012 #2
    Start with the last thing you studied and keep working backwards until you find a point where you understand everything, regardless of how far back it is. Use that as the point to begin your revision.
  4. Feb 11, 2012 #3
    The "kindest" college texts do a review of algebra, you would probably find it less frustrating to tackle one of these rather than a school book. By studying the early parts of such a text you will not only learn some algebra but find out exactly what you don't know, and need to fix, before going to college.

    The one that many UK university physics departments recommend for first year physicists is:

    Basic Mathematics for the Physical Sciences by Robert Lambourne, Michael Tinker

    It's also the set book for the UK Open University. It's a very gentle, hand-holding introduction to University mathematics for scientists. It has to be gentle because Open University is for mature distance learners who (like you) may not have done school mathematics for a few years. But it also has useful features like "fast track" questions that test if you need to read the following chapter - saves a lot of frustration for adults who know the stuff already... all in all, it's a good book for adults with varying capabilities in Mathematics - from hardly any to former high school maths whiz...

    Here's a good overview of this and other books from a UK university site:


    Now you will probably get lots of other book recommendations - to decide, use Amazon "Look Inside" to see which ones make sense to you... buy the one that makes most sense...

    Also check out your local public library, talk to the librarians, see what books they recommend for someone in your position.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  5. Feb 11, 2012 #4
    Thanks for the reply, I will look into that book right away as it sounds exactly like what I need.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  6. Feb 11, 2012 #5

    While you decide, here's a free algebra book. The advantage to this is that it also provides solutions, so if you ever fill the need to check your work, this may help, just don't get dependent on it.
  7. Feb 11, 2012 #6
    I was 23 when I started college a year ago (Astrophysics major) and I brushed up on my math from www.yaymath.org (go to videos) and www.mathtv.com/ and started calculus with mit single variable calculus on youtube.
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