Problems with Real Analysis class

In summary, the author thinks that you may have difficulty with test taking due to your age, and suggests that you try some strategies from a previous article to help you.
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Hi. I'm nearing retirement so I thought I would take some math classes. This fall I took a Real Analysis class at a good school and dropped it because I did so bad on the first exam. I did great on the homework and quizzes. I also took Real Analysis about 47 years ago at a very good school and dropped it for the same reason. I also took Real Analysis about 15 years ago at a good school that had take home exams. I got an A in that class. Do I have: A lot of mathematical interest, but no ability, or 2) Extreme mathematical test taking anxiety, or 3) Something else?
 
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  • #2
cask1 said:
Hi. I'm nearing retirement so I thought I would take some math classes. This fall I took a Real Analysis class at a good school and dropped it because I did so bad on the first exam. I did great on the homework and quizzes. I also took Real Analysis about 47 years ago at a very good school and dropped it for the same reason. I also took Real Analysis about 15 years ago at a good school that had take home exams. I got an A in that class. Do I have: A lot of mathematical interest, but no ability, or 2) Extreme mathematical test taking anxiety, or 3) Something else?
This is hard to tell. Truth is often multi-layered. It depends on so many factors, most of which you might not and we definitely don't know.

Here is an article I wrote with tips on how to deal with exam situations. Perhaps some of them can help you.
https://www.physicsforums.com/insights/10-math-tips-save-time-avoid-mistakes/

Learning a subject and being good at a test are two different qualities.
 
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  • #3
Great, thanks!
 
  • #4
If the problem is test taking anxiety, you should be able to take the problems you got wrong on the test, and write up solutions to them that you post here and we all agree they are correct. Might be worth a try to see how it goes.
 
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  • #5
cask1 said:
Hi. I'm nearing retirement so I thought I would take some math classes. This fall I took a Real Analysis class at a good school and dropped it because I did so bad on the first exam. I did great on the homework and quizzes. I also took Real Analysis about 47 years ago at a very good school and dropped it for the same reason. I also took Real Analysis about 15 years ago at a good school that had take home exams. I got an A in that class. Do I have: A lot of mathematical interest, but no ability, or 2) Extreme mathematical test taking anxiety, or 3) Something else?
<<Emphasis added.>> How did you do in tests for other math classes (i.e., other than real analysis)? For non-math classes? That should also let you know whether you have general issues with test anxiety.
 
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  • #6
I am also near or at retirement age and went to school around 47 years ago. I have taken a few 3-hour tests over the last 5 years, and another 3 hour test in Quantum Mechanics around 20 years ago. The fact is I found myself losing steam around the 2 hour mark. The fact is it is hard to concentrate and sit in a chair and focus as well as when we were younger. Taking a test is tough for 60 year olds. The fact that you are doing well in take-homes and even consider extending your mind in these directions wonderfull. You no longer need to worry about grades; so do not let these grades define you.

It is hard to see what the problem is, whether you have interest but less abiity or otherwise. I tend to believe it is more a question of maintaining fitness/ concentration level, as you are competing with 20 year olds.
 
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