1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I am not good at math but would like to become an expert

  1. Apr 15, 2013 #1

    This is my first post. Thank you in advance!

    I am not very good at math however I would like to become an expert.

    The way I would like to learn math is online for free.

    Time is no option. I spent 16 years teaching myself music and music theory and composition and in music I am now an expert and advanced in the subject. This is an example to show I am willing to take the time to learn and master a subject.

    I started learning about advanced concepts in computer science and physics and science about 8 years ago, and now I would like to further advance in my pursuit of knowledge by learning mathematics as an expert would.

    I have obtained an overview of math as a whole the best I could by over viewing mathematics on the MIT Opencourseware website including all undergraduate and graduate courses. I also overviewed the mathatics section on Wikipedia the best I could.

    I would like to end up with the whole picture of mathematics and be advanced and an expert.

    I think the best way for me would be to see the whole picture of math and then focus in gradually.

    I would then like to apply my knowledge of math to then master physics, computer science, and medical science to start.

    Any and all help would be valued and appreciated!!!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 15, 2013 #2
    I went through high school math algebra and geometry but I got cs and ds so in college I'm right before real math like precalculus

    I'm at what they call

    Foundations for College Mathematics I
    5 credit hours
    Topics from elementary algebra: sets of numbers, operations with real numbers, variables, integral exponents, scientific notation, simplification of algebraic expressions, solving linear equations and inequalities in one variable, graphing linear equations, writing equations of lines, solving linear inequalities in two variables, solving systems of linear equations in two or more variables, applications, problem solving, operations with polynomials, factoring polynomials, and solving equations using factoring. Prerequisite: Mathematics 0460 (or college equivalent) with a grade of ā€œCā€ or better or a qualifying score on the mathematics placement test (5 lecture hours)

    And for the life of me I can not get past this course
    I've taken it two or three times and failed every time

    But I'd rather learn on my own now online for free

    I still want to become an expert and that's where I'm at
  4. Apr 15, 2013 #3
    Oh, so you have trouble with formal education too?

    Listen, I did great in math while in high school, but I got bored in college and ny grades were too far below what I usually get. So I quit to study on my own.

    Been doing so for a year and a half now. I was in calc II which was taught poorly and too strongly emphasizes memorization, plus the teacher had a bad rep at that school, I swear he took off as many points as he could just to fail as many students as possible so he would have less work to do. Perhaps you're having similar issues?

    Anyway I got on Adderall (very small dose) after some failed antidepressant trial runs and so far I've studied up to ODE's and snippets of more advanced stuff.

    The funny thing that I'm beginning to notice is that the 'harder' math is actually not as hard for me, but more intuitive. My problem with school is making small errors on tests even though I more than get the big picture, and memorizing stuff which is ironic because I remember things better than most people, being high functioning autistic spectrum.

    Would you mind being more specific about your issues in class? Congrats on your music studies by the way; I believe I will have the overwhelming urge to study music one of these days.
  5. Apr 15, 2013 #4
    The classes moved too fast for me, having to painfully show your work even though I understand its probably a good habit

    And most of all doing the work on problems took me forever so if I got one wrong then it would compound time just for one problem

    Also the fact that a class took months
    If you study yourself it could be quicker

    I basically couldn't keep up with the pace and I'd always fall behind
  6. Apr 15, 2013 #5
    Most would probably dismiss you as just not ready to study on your own or too slow to study mathematics.

    However, I think in your case you probably need a better theoretical understanding before you even begin to attempt the problems. You know, have all the steps down in your head so that working them out on paper is second nature.

    You might also have a problem with lectures. I find that a concept that seems so easy when I read it in a book seems a million times harder when a teacher tries to explain it.
  7. Apr 17, 2013 #6
    Please, elaborate to me how you've managed to study advanced topics in physics, for 8 years, without advancing past pre-calculus.
  8. Apr 17, 2013 #7
    Because I can understand the concepts and theories. Topics in subjects are explained in words too not just math symbols.
  9. Apr 17, 2013 #8
    So you mean you studied books written for laypeople?
  10. Apr 17, 2013 #9
    Explain to me how you can study quicker on your own, but fall behind when taking a class.

    I'm not sure what you're asking, really. You seem a bit delusional.

    If you're serious, go to a community college and take some math classes.
  11. Apr 17, 2013 #10
    It sounds perfectly reasonable to me. I was getting poor grades in a calc II class myself, the teacher was horrible and took too many points off for small errors.

    I have since studied diff. equations on my own and the problems come simple as breathing, even though I too often make small errors, such as say forgetting about the constant that appears after you integrate, but nevertheless errors that could cost great quantities of points on a test depending on who the teacher is.

    My point being, formal education doesn't work for everyone. Worrying about grades and acceptance puts a great stress on someone's brain that can be more cognitively taxing to some than to others. ADHD is a major culprit...
  12. Apr 17, 2013 #11
  13. Apr 17, 2013 #12
    I would of imagined someone who has studied as much physics as you claim would understand the importance of those constants and not consider it a small error.
  14. Apr 17, 2013 #13
    A strum I am not delusional

    And you are mean for saying that
  15. Apr 17, 2013 #14
    I'm not passing judgment on you. I'm well aware that self-study is great if done right (I do a fair deal of self-study too). This guy thinks he knows advanced physics without knowing any math, which is really crazy.
  16. Apr 17, 2013 #15
    I catch the error very quick when I check my work. I have terrible ADHD, one time I missed a problem just for copying it down wrong.

    I otherwise do all the procedures right. It's mostly only if I do too many of them in my head that such an oversight happens. I tend to get everything right if I concentrate and write every single step and substep down.
  17. Apr 17, 2013 #16
    The point Astrum is making is that classes are simply meant to help you out when you're studying on your own. You can't be expected to learn something simply by going to class; you need to use class to rid yourself of any acquired misconceptions that you attained while studying on your own, and having a knowledgeable professor at hand to personally help you is probably the most efficient way to do this.

    Studying by yourself in your basement voids you of any of the benefits provided to you in class, which is why it makes little to no sense that someone would learn something better, or faster, by studying it on his or her own, rather than taking a class.

    And all of this rubbish conspiracy about professor's out to get people is ridiculous. This is hardly sufficient reasoning for entirely dismissing the formal class experience.

    Like Astrum said, if you're serious about this, then take a few classes at your local CC. It'll be cheap, and will be more beneficial than going through a book on your own. If you're falling behind, then you need to figure out why it is happening, so that you can fix your problem.
  18. Apr 17, 2013 #17
    Well, I remember a time when I only had access to laypeople's books myself. I played around with concepts in my imagination but there was only so much I could 'theorize' without knowing enough math...
  19. Apr 17, 2013 #18
    Some comm. colleges are terrible. Crowded, inattentive too-busy teachers, no personalized attention, plus the experience of sitting in class tires one out. It sounds like they've already experienced this first hand.

    I might recommend first hiring a private tutor, one with a degree in physics/teaching, to pinpoint one's problem areas/learning style. There are plenty on Craigslist, I advertise to tutor through there myself (though being degree-less, I am very cheap for hire)
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook