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I’m just starting my first semester of college algebra, . . . .

  1. Jan 30, 2007 #1
    I’m just starting my first semester of college algebra, which has me quickly remembering why I’m an English major. I thought I should find a tutor before I start to fall so far behind I can’t catch up. I’m on a limited budget and tight schedule because I work full time. I wondered about an online tutor. Have any of you ever tried online tutoring? Do you think it helped? Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks. :confused:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 30, 2007 #2
    I tried a tutor last fall to help me with statistics. It was the smartest thing I ever did. Cost me $5 a session. I got through the class with ease. The companies name was tutors without limits. It’s pretty cool because they have profiles of thousands of tutors and you pick the one you want to work with.
  4. Jan 30, 2007 #3
    Just grab yourself a college algebra text book and solutions manual and work through the book. You should be able to get through algebraic arithmetic in about a week (if you study a couple of hours a day) or 2-3 days if you work consistently. I came to college without being exposed to algebra beyond basic factoring of a polynomial, geometry or trigonometry (because I hated math in highschool) and learned algebraic arithmetic in about two days and got a 100 in the course. After I learned that, I was so excited that I understood math finally, that I taught myself geometry, trigonometry and worked far ahead of my Calculus I course. I was a debate champion in high school and natrually assumed that if you are good with language then you must automatically be terrible at math and convinced myself it was a useless endeavour.

    I was an english and philosophy major and have since then switched into (hopefully high energy or quantum) Physics and Mathematics and working through Calculus II, Abstract Algebra and starting Classical Mechanics for my independent study.

    Don't assume you aren't able to do math. Math is a formal logic system built upon axioms and postulates. Once you learn the definitions, concepts, axioms and postulates, then the steps just fall into place and you can easily work through the math.

    If you tell yourself you can't do it, then you won't do it. You have to tell yourself that it is easy and that you can learn it. If you develop a mental set, you won't transcend it.

    There is nothing which explicity states that you are inadequate at math. If your school has a math department or MESA (Math, Engineering and Science Association) then you can find some likely help there.

    Of course, if you are truly having trouble after giving your best effort, a tutor is definitely the way to go. I tutor Algebra, Geometry, Trig, Philosophy and English at my school and it really helps a lot of kids (not that I am a good tutor or anything but just having a second person who has done the course, to explain things to you can be beneficial).

    We offer free tutoring at our school (I recieve a small hourly rate but I tutor because I want to be a professor) so everyone is able to walk into our math center or philosophy/english department and ask for a tutor and then we assign them one.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2007
  5. Jan 30, 2007 #4


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    Online tutoring is probably better than no tutoring; but you could learn better directly from a person - the interaction can be faster and more natural.

    If you are studying College Algebra without first having successfully studying Introductory and Intermediate Algebra, then you are making extra difficulty for yourself. I would say that even with those two previous and necessary courses having been passed, you may well need 10 or more hours per week outside of calsstime to study College Algebra.
    ...English major? Be sure that you learn to connect pictures (graphs) to numeric statements and situations; do not just try to rely on texted language! Text language by itself is NOT always enough in Mathematics.

  6. Jan 30, 2007 #5
    I don't think that much time is necessary. If the poster reads through each example, making sure to understand each definition, concept and axiom, how they interact and why the methods work, there should not be an issue. Algebraic arithmetic is fairly straight-forward, so long as you are motivated enough to learn.

    Instead of working through tons and tons of problems, learn the formulas, why they are used (and why the work) and make sure you are summarizing each section after you read it. If you work through the example, cover up the steps they are using and try it on your own. If you can't figure it out, then read the next step offered, and go from there. Keep doing this until youi can work through each type of problem efficiently.

    It helps me if I repeat the definition, theorem or reasoning that I am contemplating, as I work through each problem. This way, you will out-of-nowhere not only have it memorized but actually understand the theory of algebraic arithmetic. Since you won't be using algebra at all in English, you could probably get by just memorizing some formulas and how to apply them, although that makes math boring.

    If you need help at all, there is a community of tutors here ready to help. You will feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that you have taught yourself a topic that is very difficult for a lot of people (math).

    EDIT: Sorry if I sound pushy, I just feel that anyone can do math very easily, so long as they convince themselves they can. There are so many people with math potential who never pursue it because they doubt themselves. I used to be one of those people.
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2007
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