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Need help choosing math path

  1. Apr 2, 2012 #1
    Hi, I am a sophomore in college and I'm a Computer Science major, but I'm terrible in math. It seems like no matter how long I spend on my work, I don't get it. I'm actually supposed to be a junior, but I failed Trig last spring, then took a semester off, the the only class I could take was online Precalc II (terrible). I passed all my HW but 1 assignment. Passed all but 1 quiz (like 5/6), but failed my 1st 2 tests, even though I spend hours a day on this stuff. I think the root cause is that when I was in High School I basically didn't have math my 10,11,12 grade years.

    9th grade-I took Algebra II and passed

    10th grade- took geometry but the teacher never taught. she stood in the hall all class trying to find people cutting class

    11th grade-I tried to take physics because I did a summer internship at the local college and My Organic Chemistry professor told me to take physics. My school cancelled physics class because only 6 people registered, so they forced us all to take Advanced Algebra & Trig. I took advanced algebra and trig, but the teacher never came to school. If she did come she came the last 10 min of class, so the principal had us sit in the class and read literature most days

    12th grade- my school ran out of math classes for me to take

    so I really paid the price for that. What do you guys recommend? If, by some miracle I hopefully pass precalc, I have to take Calc I in the fall, then I can finally take my next coding class, but my math background is terrible. It literally took me almost 2 weeks to finish my last math HW assignment and on the next one it took me like 2 days to solve problem #1 smh. I went to the math tutoring lab today like I typically do and I think I made it to problem 6. I spend AT LEAST 8hrs a day on math.

    Any advice on what I should do? any input would help.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2012 #2
    Yes, you got screwed in high school, badly.

    Other than hard work (which you are doing) the only thing I can suggest is watching the videos and doing the exercises on Khan Academy. Have you tried that?
  4. Apr 2, 2012 #3
    I don't think I've actually visited the Khan Academy website but I have been watching youtube vids and watching Patrick JMT and his examples. They help somewhat but for me it seems like the point in the past when I really never mastered the "shape" part of math set me up for failure. Then with the class being online, ready help is pretty much nonexistent lol. Then it's like I'd do better if I had someone actually explain to me the truth of the formulas and how to derive from the equation rather than just memorizing the formulas given and not knowing why/how/when to use them.

    Then the worse part of it all man is that I still have friends who just graduated from my high school maybe a year ago, and they took the same teacher I had in the 11th grade. They said that she's still there doing the same stuff. she claimed for the past 5 years she was going to retire, yet she sits around and keeps ruining kids' education, and it pains me to see that.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2012
  5. Apr 2, 2012 #4
    Well, that sucks. You had a crappy high school education.

    But, Welcome To The Club! Now, I didn't have teachers like you did, in fact, I had pretty good teachers. However, I was very lazy in high school and didn't learn anything. So, ignoring the reasons, I was in a similar position as you were when I started college.

    I took college algebra, then precalc, then the calc sequence. I defiantly was not ready to take pre-calc when I started college (at a community college) and certainly was not ready to take calc.

    So, I suggest you watch the Khan Academy videos. They are very good (I'm way past anything covered on the site, it goes through ODE, but I still refer back to them, like, for example, when studying for the MGRE.) He covers from counting through ODEs. You MUST watch these if you haven't. It is not memorizing. The exercises are G-R-E-A-T and the whole thing is just really amazing.
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