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Best way to prepare for college math

  1. Dec 20, 2014 #1
    Hello again I'm the guy who asked a couple weeks ago about the fact I didn't take pre calc.

    A new question is how the best to way to prepare for college math; right now I am using the dummies guide and Khan's academy with everything thing from algebra 1 to precalc as the school I am in isn't really a good school to learn. as it turns out we don't have a precalc class it's kind of combined with the trig class one might say . Due to the fact the students decide if we learn or not we only learn 1 day out of the week and most of the teacher tell us the answers during the test so we have good grades.

    So is their anything else I can do to help me prepare since I'm worried (As I'm learning that school really didn't teach me anything)
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 20, 2014 #2
    I say this all the time, but precalc is a joke. What Khan Academy for instance assigns to "Pre-calculus" is actually stuff you learn in the beginning of a high school calculus class, such as limits. The stuff I learned in precalc in my high school was largely a review of prior algebra classes, and introductions to certain rules of functions and logarithms. So you're not missing much. If you are already good at algebra and know how to use trig functions and identities then calculus won't be an issue. The calculus involved in solving a calculus problem is really just one or two steps, and the rest is algebra. If your algebra isn't good, you'll be in trouble. So Khan academy is good for those exercises and problems that'll sharpen your skills. Which brings you your answer: just do problems. Lots of them. That's all it takes.
     
  4. Dec 20, 2014 #3
    I am enjoying the Khan academy exorcises though I admit though some may consider it embarrassing I am essentially doing all the courses Algebra 1&2, Geometry&Trig ,and Precalc as there is stuff in all of those which I didn't learn at school for the reasons above not to mention our main teacher for Algebra 1 and Geometry ended up missing half the year which really slowed progress down in class.

    Though I feel a bit overwhelmed at what I consider catch up I still have half a year before college.
     
  5. Dec 20, 2014 #4

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    There's nothing embarrassing about it. There's plenty of little things that I don't know and I'm taking college math classes. Just keep working through those courses and you'll be fine.
     
  6. Dec 21, 2014 #5

    QuantumCurt

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    Education Advisor

    The idea of a "pre-calc" class is a bit misunderstood. Pre-calc is nothing but algebra and trig. Some pre-calc courses go through a basic development of limits, but this is something that is typically also fully developed from the ground up in calc I. I never took pre-calc. I took college algebra, then trigonometry, and then calc I and onward. I've now completed calc I, calc II, differential equations, and linear algebra. Calc III is next semester. I've scored at the top of my math classes every semester, despite never taking "pre-calc."

    A lot of people have the idea that pre-calc is somehow different or necessary. It's really nothing more than elements of college algebra and trigonometry rolled into one course, with less depth in each individual topic.
     
  7. Dec 21, 2014 #6

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    I just finished Pre-calc in college and it was basically what QuantumCurt said it was. Algebra+trig with a bit of geometry rolled into one class.
     
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