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Trig Question

  1. Jul 24, 2014 #1
    I will try to be as objective as possible and not inflate my post with excuses. I am currently taking a college trig course, and I am doing badly--this might turn into a rant, so be forewarned. I am going to a CC where I have been doing well. My goal is to transfer to an UC and major in physics on the biophysics route. While I was taking biology, I was completely taken aback by the efficiency of biological systems when fighting entropy, sort of speak. I was in the military for a few years, so when I took my placement test, I was placed in intermediate algebra .I took that class, and I got an A. There was Nothing to difficult about these classes-- also took college geometry and got an A. This summer I opted to take college trig over a four week period, which was not exactly what I wanted to do, since I had never taken trig ever before. However, if I want to transfer in time, I have to take all the required courses, and, yeah... Before I signed up for the class, I checked the two professors reviews on ratemyprofessor, and they were awful. Moving along, the first week of class I was relieved since I did not find the material difficult at all. In fact, I still do not find anything about it too difficult, but since it is an accelerated course, I feel like i do not have any time to let everything sink-- hate that. The professor is awful, he makes mistakes all the time, he gives relatively easy homework but his tests are just ridiculous-today we had a test, and i am not making this up, about 2/3 of the class was not done with the test on time. So he literally had to extend the whole thing about 35 minutes. The proofs were like nothing I saw before, and there was about 7 of them.
    I am looking at a C right now, which is killing me inside. I can not seem to perform very well on these tests. I study a lot, and, most importantly, when I do the homework assigned I feel very confident. If there is a problem I can not solve right away, i put it up on my white board and within a couple of minutes it is done. I do not feel like my math is inadequate, honestly. If i would do the homework and felt like it was hard, then i would say there was something in my ability to understand the subject. I have not had this problem yet, and I do not know what to think. The big problem I am having now is that when I take a test I am nervous and full of doubt, which makes everything much worse. I am starting to think that I am a fool for wanting to major in physics and......until I become very distraught and overwhelmed.
    There are also some environmental factors that I think are impacting everything. I left the military a couple years ago with a wife and two kids to get my education and then hopefully find a steady decent job where I did not have to live the unique military lifestyle. Since then, my wife and I have become strangers to each other. The drop in income has driven us apart. A couple of months ago, we split up. I ended up living with some strangers from Craigslist because I did not know anyone out here. I moved back in when this class started to give it one more try before I leave the state and leave my kids behind. Since I moved back in, it has been awfull.........
    Sorry for the long post, I guess I just need some advice with this trig class. Maybe there is someone out there who had problems with this and ended up doing well......
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 24, 2014 #2
    Never take math courses in a 4 week semester if you actually want to understand the material. Use the summer and winter semesters to take ge requirements such as art, english, history etc.

    Trig is a either you get it at first time you dont. You will see the material again in pre calculus. You win some you loose some. There are times material will go over your head. The important thing is to keep working on it till you get it. It actually took me 6 hours a days for a full 2 weeks to understand the washer, disk, she'll method in calculus. I figured it out because I worked at it and got a b in the class with the hardest professor at school.

    Maybe the time you spend studying is not efficiently using the time. Do not plug and jug, but ask yourself why are you doing every step.

    To lazy to get a link for you. But google search Polya thoughts of problem solving it.
  4. Jul 24, 2014 #3


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    So first, Trig doesn't transfer to UC, so regardless if you get a C or not it won't affect your application GPA.

    Next, four weeks is incredibly ridiculous, in fact I didn't realize they even offered 4 week summer classes. Trig is also very important, a solid foundation is essential to calculus and the sciences.

    Sorry about your wife and kids, it can rough juggling everything, what area of California do you live in? Remind your wife you supported her during your enlistment, and would really appreciate it if she supported you now during the transition. I'm also a Vet, transferred from CC to UCSD.
  5. Jul 24, 2014 #4
    Cool, then your probably went to Rcc. I go to Riverside city college.
  6. Jul 24, 2014 #5


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    Haha yep, I took some classes there, and Pcc, Miracoasta, Mesa, City, Miramar, I had to jump around a lot because I worked full time and it was hard to find the right class at the right time.

    Are you planning on takin Calculus or pre-calculus next?

    The vet center is usually always hiring, last I checked it pays 10 dollars a hour( basically you sit there studying most the time). So if your financial situation is adding unneeded stress, might be something to look into.

    Also look into a program called Ulink with the schools transfer counselors.
  7. Jul 25, 2014 #6
    I just started working at Sears. And yeah, I start a five week precalculus class at UCR Monday. I will just take the C in trig. I am a lot more confident about precalc. I looked at the course syllabus, and I am a lot more familiar with the topics covered there. Basically, what I knew going into trig was SOH CAH TOA, and that there was this thing called theta, lol.
  8. Jul 25, 2014 #7
    Um no point rushing through math. It is better to understand it while taking it at a slower rate. You may crash n burn in calcukus
  9. Jul 25, 2014 #8
    If I do not take i will never get to calculus. I need these classes to be able to transfer man.
  10. Jul 25, 2014 #9

    Pre cal in full semester= better grasp of the material in theory.

    Is it better to rush through something with a lack of understanding of the basics only to fail later when it truly coubts?

    Its not how fast you finish but rathrr how much you understand.

    If u are barely grasping trig what makes you believe you can complete pre calculus in 4 weeks? You do know its algebra and trig combined?
  11. Jul 25, 2014 #10


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    Hey Bro,

    So Pre-Calc is actually a combined course in both college algebra, trig, and some limits at the end. I understand the urgency in the situation, but doing it in five weeks wouldn't be advisable. If you're dead set on it, then you need to be self-studying trig as much as possible.

    When I say Trig is incredibly important, it really is. Trig is heavily used throughout calculus and physics.
  12. Jul 25, 2014 #11
    I am currently taking Calculus 1 over the summer ( semester normal) in 8 weeks.I could not imagine taking my trig class that I took in a semester over the summer ( I got a c+ in the regular semester one). Pre cal in 5 weeks for me would have been much more doable, and so far I see nothing wrong with summer courses. When talking to other students (who had other professors) actually say (after looking at what we have done) that we have actually done MORE material than them. Which is surprising to me since I would think a summer course would leave off more. I think it is totally doable, if you are able to really crack down and get stuff done then good luck to you! If you are not willing to do that, then you will most likely fail.
  13. Jul 25, 2014 #12
    Thanks for all the input guys. I feel a lot better today. Yeah, so I did not put the right information about the UCR precalculus course. It is actually 7 weeks, which is only a week short of the regular quarter one. Here is the thing, I am completely dedicated to this--mostly because I like it--so that will not be a problem. Honestly I have looked over the precal syllabus and I already know many of the topics- and the trig seems to only be one chapter.
    The problem I am having with trig is that this is something I have never ever seen before. The memorization was particularly difficult, and getting accustomed with the radian increments in two weeks has been frustrating. But, as I said before, I am not particularly struggling on the book homework or the web assign. The tests are my weak point. The tests are very difficult, mostly because the problems are for the most part new. What I honestly think is that this guy has a copy from a regular semester course, which he makes copies of and gives to us. Also, we only got one test back so far and the class is over on Wednesday. He just seems to not really care. And the mistakes he constantly makes makes me feel like I cant trust him.
  14. Jul 25, 2014 #13


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    Sorry to hear that your professor seems very unprofessional. 7 weeks is a bit more reasonable, still accelerated however. Since you got an A in college algebra, most of the information will be a review. The trig and limits is what you really need to take from that class. Knowing all the relationships in trig, as well as the unit circle is important.

    Basically everything you're going to be doing in the future with it will be based on radians, so you should be comfortable with that. The introduction to vectors should stay in the back of your mind for when you take Mechanics. Make sure you’re comfortable with the relationships and things like the sum or difference formulas. You’ll see them sooner than later.
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