How to Effectively Study Math 119 (Pre Calc)

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In summary, the conversation is about the difficulty of a Pre Calculus class and the student's struggles with understanding the material. They have tried various studying methods and even cheat on tests, but still cannot pass. Suggestions are made to seek help from the professor and classmates, as well as to lighten the course load in the future. The conversation also touches on the idea of gender affecting performance in math classes.
  • #1
amd123
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How does one "Study"?

I'm currently taking:
Math 119 (Pre Calc)
Engl 101
Spch 101
Bio 102

The Math 119 class is killing me. It's really making me frustrated because I had not expected CC classes to be, you know, hard.
For math, I do all the hardest problems in my book, I have access to the solutions manual and can see all the work for questions step by step. I also cheat on my tests with calculators (ti 84) by putting notes from my textbook and programs specific for the topic. I still can't pass my teacher's tests. They're soo hard, so unimaginably hard, harder than the book's hardest problems.

I ask questions in class but the teacher teaches from powerpoints using diagrams and easy problems from the book. It's not like she's teaching something special that I'm not picking up. I even have a study group with 2 or 3 kids depending on the day it is and we get together and do the hardest problems and use the step by step solutions manual to compare and make sure we understood every step.

It doesn't help that we're learning analytic trigonmetry and doing identities and proofs. With problems like these you need time to do multiple approaches and the added anxiety of a test are conditions for failure. Her tests are set up to promote failure; a test be hundred points, 20 problems, 15 will be like 3-4 points, and the rest (5) will be like 50% of the test.

Also she pulls **** like this, we were doing trigonometry using sin/cos/tan to find angles and all of our class and book problems had angles written in this format (47*); on the test she gives us an angle noted (47*8') and no one in th eclass gets it right. Because no one was ever taught how to access that key on the calculator or even *** the 8' means.

There are around 2 or 3 kids who get really good grades on tests. One kid got 100s on all of our 3 tests we've had currently and I sit next to him now and ask him how he does studying and he just says that he practices out of the book doing the hardest problems. My test grades have gone from 92, 74 (I had a flu virus), to now idk yet because I didn't get my test back, but I'm thinking an F (even with two files of notes on all identities and tricks and programs for trigonometry with unit circle, an app that graphs trig functions for me and tells me all the points, an app that tells me the trig function values at any given point, and more)

What can I do?
This is really killing becuase I am a Bio major and I need to take Calc and Calc 2 as well.
I've heard they're much easier than Pre Calc because they're not so much algebra and they're more like learning a science and not a math.
I'm beginning to think that everytime I have a female math teacher I do poorly. Has anyone else experienced this? For my calc class (if I can pass) I'm going to try to find a male professor.
 
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  • #2


100+ views and no one knows how to study?
 
  • #3


Do you read the book, or just work problems? Reading the book is absolutely key and I'm always astonished at how many students skip this. What are they thinking? If the book you are using isn't explaining things well for you, check another out of the library and refer to it to fill in gaps (or just read it if it works better). Get a recommended title from your TA or prof.

Which brings us to the prof. Go into office hours, or call and make an appointment, and tell her you are really struggling. She'll try and help you figure out what your blocks and misunderstandings are. Visit her and your TA once, twice, three times a week. This accomplishes three things: 1) show you how to learn more effectively, 2) catch you up with the rest of the class, and 3) demonstrate to your prof that you're not a slacker but are really committed to learning the material and doing well.

Hanging out with the smartest in the class is also good, but make better use of them as a resource. Ask them to explain things you aren't getting, for instance. Sometimes a fellow student can explain things well (sometimes not).

We can help you here at the forum when you get stuck on a specific homework problem or to answer questions.

One final thought: it seems like you are taking a heavy load. You might arrange future semesters to be a little lighter if they include a math course.

Good luck!
 
  • #4


Sorry to burst your bubble, but there's no trick to studying. You just have to buckle down and complete a variety of different problems and take in what you're doing so you will become more proficient at it next time.

If your teacher asks you really impossible problems then the rest of your class will be struggling to answer them too so it's not as bad as "I got an F".
 
  • #5


Mentallic said:
Sorry to burst your bubble, but there's no trick to studying. You just have to buckle down and complete a variety of different problems and take in what you're doing so you will become more proficient at it next time.

If your teacher asks you really impossible problems then the rest of your class will be struggling to answer them too so it's not as bad as "I got an F".

The rest of the class IS STRUGGLING, there were 2 high grades (92) and everyone else had below a 75. The mode was a 50%. The professor is incredibly hard, reads powerpoints made by the book's author. I asked her once to explain how the product to sum and sum to product identities were derived (i understood one of them, but could not get the other identity).

She explained how one was derived by TELLING that it was the sum of the sum and diff identites of sin or cos. However when I asked her for the other identity she said she would not explain it as it would be waste of class time and she preceded to end the class 30 minutes early.

On one test, there was a problem involving triangles, I read her problem (english is not my first language) and became confused. The problem read there is a wire attached 8 feet from the top of the tower. The tower is 210 feet tall. I thought this meant that the wire was 8 feet above the top of the tower attached to an antennae but apparently it was 8 feet below the top of the tower. I had my math setup correct and she took off full points. Then the ***** has the nerve to say SHOW WORK, YOU'll get partial credit.

Anyone can misread that problem, it does not say 8 feet below the top of the tower or 8 feet above the top of the tower, it just says 8 feet from the top.
 
  • #6


I would like to call the moderator's attention to this post; it's whining tone, inappropriate language and unfounded accusations are more than enough to exclude it from this forum; just take this as an example:

Then the ***** has the nerve to say SHOW WORK, YOU'll get partial credit.

(and this is someone that at a point whines that he gets no kudos because English not being his first language)

Unfortunately, I had plenty of experience with these people, who do not really deserve a place in higher teaching and then, confronted with their failings, take it on their teachers, hoping that they fear negative marks in their evaluations; unfortunately for them (the teachers), I don't think this type of blackmailing changing soon, but I see no reason for the subscribers of this forum to put up with them.
 
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  • #7


You don't appear to be seeking advice; you seem to only want to vent. Not that it's a bad thing, but it makes this thread pointless, and it is not really an appropriate topic for our General Math forum.
 
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Related to How to Effectively Study Math 119 (Pre Calc)

1. How much time should I dedicate to studying for Math 119?

The recommended amount of time to study for Math 119 is at least 10-15 hours per week. This may vary depending on your individual learning style and current understanding of the material.

2. What study techniques are most effective for Math 119?

The most effective study techniques for Math 119 include practicing problems regularly, reviewing notes and class materials, and seeking help from a tutor or classmate if needed. Creating study guides and using flashcards can also be helpful.

3. How can I stay motivated while studying for Math 119?

One way to stay motivated while studying for Math 119 is to set achievable goals for each study session. Also, try to connect the material to real-world applications and remind yourself of the importance of understanding math concepts for future courses or career opportunities.

4. How can I improve my understanding of difficult concepts in Math 119?

If you are struggling with understanding certain concepts in Math 119, try breaking them down into smaller parts and practicing with similar problems. You can also seek help from your professor or a tutor, and utilize online resources such as instructional videos or practice quizzes.

5. How can I prepare for exams in Math 119?

To prepare for exams in Math 119, make sure to review all class materials and practice problems regularly. Create study guides and utilize resources provided by your professor, such as review sessions or practice exams. It is also important to get a good night's sleep and eat a healthy meal before the exam.

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