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!

My major is engineering, but i was placed in a remedial math class

  1. Jul 31, 2014 #1
    hello, so i'm am currently about to attend CC this coming fall semester and my major is engineering. However, when i took the placement test i scored into intermediate algebra, which is a remedial class. I feel hopeless. I really want to become an engineer, but i fear that i'm not math-savvy enough. Are there any engineers out there that took remedial classes in college and despite that where able to get their degree?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 31, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Have you been out of school for several years?

    All being placed in remedial math means is that you need to start there. It doesn't determine where you might finish in your math education.
  4. Jul 31, 2014 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Agreed, your current level is intermediate math.....where did you want to start, Calc 1?

    Math builds as you go, if you start at too high of a level, you will likely fail. I didn't place in quite as high as I would have liked as well, but it is what it is.

    If you start to learn at the level you actually are, you likely be successful if you apply yourself.

    And remember, even in the most advanced math class you can only add, subtract, multiply or divide.
    Also, there are only 10 numbers in math.......1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 0. 0's hold the place value for larger numbers. Is this an oversimplied example of math? Sure it is a little bit, but in the end what I'm saying is more or less true.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  5. Jul 31, 2014 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    And remember, that it's important to start where you need to start. Jumping into a set of classes that you're not ready for is a disaster waiting to happen.
  6. Jul 31, 2014 #5


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    Good For You! You NEED to be GOOD at Intermediate Algebra if you want to make any progress in physical sciences, computational science, or engineering. The placement test indicated you should start in Intermediate Algebra and you are doing what the placement counseling department told you. You should expect to learn this better than you did in high school. You should work hard, learn well, and earn an A. You CAN start in these remedial courses and still become engineer or scientist as a career.
  7. Jul 31, 2014 #6
    I am not much farther along in my education than you, but I believe I could offer a helpful story. I also placed into remedial math coming out of high school, and it was very discouraging because I am working towards astrophysics. I had a terrible math department at my high school, which was private, and it set me back in my math skills. I just recently finished Calculus 1 with a 96%, and felt like I really mastered the material. All you need to know is that you should just work hard, and eventually you will get to where you want to be.
  8. Aug 3, 2014 #7
    I was placed in intermediate algebra when I went to community college...just gave me a chance to really learn the fundamentals with a mature mind, wrecked my classmates when I got to calculus (many didn't learn their algebra well enough).

    I'm EE and consistently place top in my classes and am doing meaningful research at a school lab, taking remedial math didn't harm me one bit however jumping straight to calculus would have.

    Learn the fundamentals in every course you take, then it's downhill from there. Engineering isn't all that hard, many students just like to exaggerate their studies out of pride/ego, what it takes is time and effort.

    Heading into senior year, so I've taken a good portion of the curriculum.
  9. Aug 3, 2014 #8
    Thanks, this makes me feel a lot better and with hard work, I know can make it through calc 1,2,3, and DE :)
  10. Aug 3, 2014 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    The same thing happened to a buddy of mine. He didn't apply himself very much in high school so when he decided he wanted to major in engineering he goes to college and gets placed in remedial math. It will take him an extra year of college to finish, but he worked his way up from the bottom the past two years and will be in calc 2 this fall. It really has nothing to do with your innate math ability. It's just a matter of how hard you want to work for it.
  11. Aug 3, 2014 #10

    Learn the algebra well and then when you get to calculus you can actually focus on learning calculus itself.

    Also in terms of time to graduate...when I get my degree I'll have been going to school for 5 years (for undergrad), which isn't too bad considering I had to take 4 math courses just to get to calc 1.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook