Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

I need math class guidance

  1. Mar 21, 2012 #1
    I am sort of in an odd situation or at least I think it is odd. Right now I am currently dual enrolled in precalculus and trigonometry. Trig I don't feel is difficult but I am worried that is because my professor is too easy. In short, for trig I don't feel like I am being prepped in the way I need to be prepped for calculus and future math classes.

    That aside, my biggest problem is my precalculus class. (sorry, I have to give my history to fully explain the situation). When I lived in another state in a small town I took a class called "College Algebra" which was 6 years ago. After that class I was able to enroll into precalculus (yes, without taking trigonometry), but I quickly dropped with a "W" because I had no idea how to do anything. I took the class again and got another "W." So, in that small town I earned two "W's" in precalculus. (I'd also like to mention that I was going through extremely rough period during that time -- depression.)

    important side notes:
    *a graphing calculator was required (the precalculus class I am in now says we can't have one at all)
    *trigonometry was not a requirement (the precalculus class I am in now says we can't go into precalculus unless we have completed trig or are enrolled in it)
    *first time I ever saw mixture problems, functions, depreciation, rate e.g. P(0)=(1+b)^r (or something like that) (the precalculus class I am in now expects us to have an expert knowledge of algebraic simplification, mixture problems, functions, and probably the rate problems although we haven't done that yet)

    I soon found my way out of that small town and moved to CA.

    Now at a community college in CA I’m having real trouble. It took me along time to piece myself together and get my school career going, but I know I want to major in math and I will do anything to succeed in math. So, the problem is that I discovered there is a class called, "Algebra 2" whereas I took "College Algebra" in the small town which is nothing like "Algebra 2." I was looking on other professors web pages for "Algebra 2" problems and I can say with 100% certainty that most of them I have never done or seen...(they look like the material I should be learning, like I can almost solve some, and I can solve a few). I also see a lot of the problems I was dealing with in my precalculus class dealt with in this colleges "Algebra 2."

    Now that I am already enrolled in these classes... I don't know what to do. Trigonometry I am sure I will pass and precalculus I am feeling hopeless with because my professor makes problems off the top of his head and never uses the book except to say "these problems are too easy and boring!" I have been spending hours and hours at my tutoring center and I find a lot of the time the tutors don't know how to do my precalc professors problems. Also, my professor said, "the mathlab tutors don't know anything. Going there is a waste of time." He is really difficult, but he does know math... It is just that he refuses to do any kind of review... Also I really really care about math and I want to know everything about it. So, if I missed out on Algebra 2 and Geometry I don't know how I am going to make it up. I am in crazy mode because I can't even drop with a "W" at this point and I have been trying so hard to pass... I have no idea what my grade is, but I may pass with a C...MAYBE.

    My question is: What should I do? How can I get my math career on the right track so I can transfer to a state university? I want to go to CSUN to be honest, but my math skills are all discombobulated. How can I learn skills that I may have missed? Is re-taking those classes going to hurt my chances of transferring if for example I pass trigonometry with an A and then take geometry? What happens if I fail precalc and retake it and get an A? Any advice at all is very welcome.

    I'm really sorry this is so long.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2012 #2
    Well, you should go to the math learning center if you can, or if your school has an SI program for your class, you should go to that. What CC do you go to out of curiosity?
  4. Mar 21, 2012 #3
    Thanks for your response. I go to LAVC and what does SI stand for? Also, I have spent a lot of time in the math tutoring center and I continue to spend time there.
  5. Mar 21, 2012 #4
    Oh, it stands for supplemental instruction. I looked on your school's website and it appears you do have it available at your school. It might not be for your class, you would have to check. I am working it this semester and at my school usually the only teachers that have it are full time employed. Basically its like group tutoring that is specifically for your class
  6. Mar 23, 2012 #5
    I'd give the mathlab tutors a try. If they can't help, they can't help, but it's worth a shot. My other suggestion would be to spend some time on khanacademy.org. They have a LOT of math learning resources.

    I'm sort of confused by the distinction between trig, college algebra, algebra 2, and precalculus. I took algebra 2 and trig in the same class, and although I never took college algebra or precalc, I felt I was adequately prepared for calculus when I got to college.
  7. Mar 23, 2012 #6
    I had a very easy trig professor as well and I am majoring in mathematics, it is not that big of a deal if your willing to put in a little bit more work later on. Trig is important in calculus, but mainly its just knowing the identities, the unit circle, and that such stuff. You will pick it up eventually if you really work hard.

    I recommend the you check out khanacademy, another site I found useful was http://www.mathtv.com/videos_by_topic.

    When majoring in math you quickly learn that your going to have to devote a considerable amount of time on your own to self study just to make sure you really understand the material. It practically becomes a way of life. You also learn that a good professor can make a big difference on how hard or easy a course is.

    I never took pre-calc myself, and am now all the way into differential equations. That being said Calc1 had a bit of a rough start, but I found this book extremely useful for aiding me in all my calculus courses. http://press.princeton.edu/video/banner/. You might want to buy a copy if your planning on majoring in math just because I feel the material is really good.
  8. Mar 24, 2012 #7
    Thank you so much for the replies and the links. I can't tell you how much you guys are helping me out. Thank you!!
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook