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D in trigonometry—give up on engineering ?

  1. Dec 17, 2013 #1
    Long story short, I got a D (67%-69%) in trigonometry and a C (don't recall the percentage) in college algebra. It wasn't that taking both courses simultaneously was difficult, but that I had a drastic schedule change toward the end of the semester that actually made my first time in college unmanageable with as many units as I had. Prior to that change, I was actually doing fairly well in both math classes, and it looked promising that I'd get through them just fine.

    Regardless, none of that changes the fact that I, in the end, did poorly in both courses.

    What do you guys think? Should I just give up on engineering and look for something else? It might seem a bit extreme to blatantly ask, but these are especially basic math courses that I feel I should be able to do well in, but clearly did not.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 17, 2013 #2


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    It sounds like it was a struggle of time management, rather than knowledge.

    If that's the case, I'd retake if possible. If you do well on your retake, and then succeed in the calc sequence, it'll simply look like the "oops" that it was.

    Yes, it's a terrible grade. But if possible, I'd give it another shot. These sorts of things can be explained, especially if something happened in life that made it so you had a significantly smaller amount of time to study.
  4. Dec 17, 2013 #3


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    The key to success is persistence. Do not give up at the first bump in the road. Just buckle down and work harder. Do you feel that you are incapable of learning math? If so, that is a bad place to be. Remain positive and keep working.
  5. Dec 17, 2013 #4
    ALways when taking classes in schedule make sure you have time to adjust to schedule changes. Do not go heavy your first year, but allow yourself some flexibility. Because college is a grand change of pace from high school.

    If you want to do Engineering just work harder. Take your fails as a positive learning experience.
  6. Dec 17, 2013 #5
    Thanks to the three who have given their advice. I see that I won't be giving up on engineering quite yet, then. Hopefully, my future grades will make this just look like some mistake, and a freshman one at that. Probably rhetorical, but I don't feel that I'm incapable of learning math—very far from that, actually. I just know that I might need to study certain topics within math more than others. I won't lie and say that understanding math is cinch for me (if it was, I probably would have at least passed the class effortlessly), of course.

    TitoSmooth, that is the biggest mistake I've made and what I wish someone suggested to me prior to course enrollment. I will definitely have to readjust my schedule for next semester with those words in mind. Even though I know I can do well with my upcoming classes, if a major schedule change had to occur like this one, I would be screwing myself over again.

    Thanks again to all.
  7. Dec 17, 2013 #6


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    The C in algebra is probably the bigger problem, since you can't repeat it. That will give you a weak foundation for future coursework. Maybe you could see if you could take algebra again at another school, e.g., a community college in the area.
  8. Dec 17, 2013 #7
    Would be a good choice if the instructors are great.

    My advice would be to get Cohen Pre-Calculus 6th edition from Barnes and Nobles for $6.

    Self study the topics.

    What did you have problems in Algebra? Was is the exponents? Graphing rational functions? Logarithms? Composition of functions?

    This book has some challenging exercises and Patrick Gmt would be of great help.

    Do not get discouraged. I dropped out of school at 14. I had to relearn basic arithematic in college at 21 when i decided to go back to school.

    To be successful means to study atleast 10 hours a day if time permits. Eventually you will be a loner. That is the cost we must pay to achieve our hopes and dreams.
  9. Dec 18, 2013 #8
    There seems to be a bit of misconception going around regarding my algebra capabilities. The scheduling issues I had brought my trigonometry grade down drastically, ALONG with algebra. The homework for my algebra class was also online, and with my unreliable computer, I couldn't get much of it completed to sufficient grades (my scheduling issues also come into play here, as I would have done the work at school if I could). So, of course, my grades were awful. My algebra tests were actually pretty good (some still better than others), but with the inconvenience of getting the work done throughout the semester, I ended up with that "C," even though algebra is the type of math that comes to me more naturally.

    You guys have reminded me that I might not have had good algebra foundation (at least for more advanced topics), even if my tests said so. My teacher was very easy and lenient, but I'm not sure if I really learned the topics of college algebra past the basics. I'll see if there are any options for me to retake the course and improve my grade. As for self-studying, I will definitely look into the Cohen book—my friend tutored me over summer and used pre-calculus and calculus books, and I thought they were really helpful. I've also used PatrickGMT in the past when I needed something clarified, so that will definitely be used as well.

    Also, prior to that horrible scheduling issue, that "10 hours" thing was definitely me. I have no issues with paying that price, honestly.

    Thanks again, guys.
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