Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!

Oh no, not again... [back-to-school thread]

ceresceres Love is in the battlecryNevada, USASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
edited December 2008 in Help / Advice Forum
Hi, my internet name is ceres, and I am terrible (TERRIBLE!) at math. They say the first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

I am going back to school in January. Again. For Biology. Again. Biology was my first love, before Japanese or whatever other craziness I got myself involved with... before anyone on this part of the internets knew I existed. I still love it. I'm good at it. I was going to fail Chemistry II because even with tutoring I couldn't hack the math, so I withdrew and stopped taking bio courses and eventually just quit. I went on to get my "consolation" degree in Japanese, but it's not good enough, and I'm not happy with my prospects or really, the degree. I never should have quit the thing I love doing, and it's time to rectify that.

Now, I have a pretty strict schedule for this degree. Everything needs to be done in about a year and a half, so I'll be attending full-time including summers. The first term has me jumping off at the deep end with my once-failed ChemII course (complete with the same terrible teacher from 8 years ago, talk about facing your demons here, lousy tenure) and College Trig.

Math much above, say, fractions has always been a struggle for me. I look at the page and see clouds of letters and numbers that I can't pick apart into sense. I've always felt that way.. that whatever I was looking at on the page was just too big for me. I am not unintelligent; it is quite probably a confidence issue, and I recognize that, but I'm not really sure how to rectify it.

I have to beat this, and I'm convinced that I can, but I have no idea how to go about it, and these classes are scary. Does anyone have this? Have you beaten it? How do you study for math? I don't have any trouble memorizing formulae and what they're for, but application comes painfully or not at all.

Any advice not consisting of "quit" is welcome, because really, I need it.

ceres on
JohnDies_zpsfe6c609e.jpg
The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.

Posts

  • RetoxRetox Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    If I recall correctly, chemistry math is all balancing and solving equations. Algebra can be a pain in the ass, but there aren't that many rules to remember as long as you're only solving equations. Maybe try picking up a book on algebra and just doing a bunch of problems, repetition usually works for me.

    The only thing I remember about Trig is that I barely passed it in high school, so I can't help you there.

  • proXimityproXimity Registered User
    edited December 2008
    Get a tutor. Myself, I always space out in a college math lecture type setting and don't pay attention to anything. Getting a personal tutor forces you to do the work right then and there, and can help you individually every step of the way. If you're lucky, they won't stop until you've gotten it down.

    camo_sig2.png
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Last I remembered chemistry was basically just a really fuckmuppet version of algebra.

    That said, algebra is all about balancing. A good book and teacher can make or break you.

    For example I'm sure you'd know what to do with this:

    5x+7 = 52

    But as soon as you do this:

    5x+7y = 52

    People get just lost. But all it is is just the same thing with a twist.

    What are your weaknesses in math, really? Is it just the letter, is it multitudes of letters in a polynomial? Or is it just the overall idea of algebra and balancing in general?

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    I suck at math and I am dyslexic. I have to do basic math at work (very very basic!) which I could do with a calculator, but I force myself to do it in my mind. Every chance I get, at the super market, at work, at the gas pump, I try to do the math in my head.

    It helps. I still suck and I am still dyslexic. But somewhat less so, and a bit more confident in my math skills.

    tostadas.png
  • FerdyFerdy Registered User
    edited December 2008
    I am also terrible at maths. Always in the intermediate classes at school, where I found most of it a REAL struggle. I was so happy when I finished, and thought, yay, I'll never have to do maths again!

    Enter university. I took Geological Sciences and if you don't have A level maths they bring you up to speed with compulsory maths courses applied to my subject. For example, in the past someone would have given me a simultaenous equation, and I would have had no idea what to do. However, what they did was give me a simultaenous equation, a few worked examples, and applied it to the formation of phenocrysts in a magma chamber, rate of cooling or something.

    My lecturer made it very clear she didn't consider herself a mathmatician. She emphasised that you need to practice equations over and over until they 'click' in your head. I just could never remember the order in which I go to work stuff out, the exceptions to the rule, etc. I had other help, too; my roommate was doing a Maths degree and she tried her best (she went a bit too quickly sometimes though) and I had a good friend who had done A level maths, and was very patient with me as I asked to go over them again. I found just doing example problems over and over was the way to get over it, and I managed to pass this way, just shy of 70%.

    Pages of figures, equations or anything like that scares me as well. I used to cover up the rest of the page and just focus on the one problem for starters, only letting myself go through it bite-size so I didn't get overwhelmed.

    Good luck and don't give up! I did it and I'm sure you can too.

  • ceresceres Love is in the battlecry Nevada, USASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited December 2008
    Chem I is all balancing chemical reactions and so forth. For Chem II you have to do things like use math to figure out the size and structure of molecules and so forth. I was totally lost.

    A tutor is pretty much second on the to-do list, after 'trying the problems myself'. It doesn't really help that it's been a long time since I did anything other than basic arithmetic.

    You definitely lose me at 5x+7y. I can think of all different ways to manipulate that equation, but none of them seem to solve it. This might be a long semester. It seems that practice problems over and over with a tutor might be the only way to fix it.

    JohnDies_zpsfe6c609e.jpg
    The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
  • witch_iewitch_ie Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    A tutor should help, but you should also go to the professor's office hours as soon as you don't understand something. While I didn't have any trouble with General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry (which was a requirement for Bio at my school) kicked my ass - mostly because I got lost once we started talking about three-dimension spinning of molecules and wasn't able to catch up after that. Had I gone to the professor straight away, I may have figured it out and done better in the class.

    Also, you might try picking up an MCAT book. I know it sounds weird, but they really do a good job of explaining concepts clearly and concisely (I believe mine was published by Kaplan). Some of the organic chemistry concepts and problems became really clear to me later when I studied for the MCAT.

  • TheSuperWootTheSuperWoot Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    ceres wrote: »
    Chem I is all balancing chemical reactions and so forth. For Chem II you have to do things like use math to figure out the size and structure of molecules and so forth. I was totally lost.

    A tutor is pretty much second on the to-do list, after 'trying the problems myself'. It doesn't really help that it's been a long time since I did anything other than basic arithmetic.

    You definitely lose me at 5x+7y. I can think of all different ways to manipulate that equation, but none of them seem to solve it. This might be a long semester. It seems that practice problems over and over with a tutor might be the only way to fix it.

    Don't worry about solving that equation, the best you would be able to do is express one of the variables in terms of the other. Unless it comes naturally to you, there really is no other way to learn math other than by doing a truckload of problems over and over again. I would really concentrate on finding a good tutor before trying to work it out yourself though. A book will definitely not be able to answer many of the questions you will probably have, and if you don't understand why you're doing something that the book tells you to, chances are you won't remember how to do it in a high stress environment.

    And what do you mean when you say that you don't have trouble memorizing equations but find difficulty in applying them? Are you having problems choosing what to plug in where, or in the actual solving of the math itself?

  • mooshoeporkmooshoepork Registered User regular
    edited December 2008
    Not related to maths, but I remember almost 4 years ago you helped me with a Japanese speech I did, which turned out perfect :) I'm picking up Japanese at uni coming year. Can't wait. Out of interest why are you stopping with it? Career prospects? I remember you telling me you enjoyed it a lot :)

  • ceresceres Love is in the battlecry Nevada, USASuper Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited December 2008
    And what do you mean when you say that you don't have trouble memorizing equations but find difficulty in applying them? Are you having problems choosing what to plug in where, or in the actual solving of the math itself?
    What to plug in where, pretty much. This is why I think it's a confidence issue more than anything else. I'm easily overwhelmed by it, but telling myself that's the problem isn't good enough, unfortunately. I look at, say, a word problem, and just.. blank. For example, in statistics I knew the definitions for combinations and permutations, and could even spit out the formula, but when it came time to plug 'n' in there for reals, I was at a loss.

    I'll check out the MCAT book.. it's probably worth a try.

    mooshoe, it's the prospects, mainly, and the fact that while I loved (and still love! although I am terribly rusty) learning the language, I can't really see myself doing any sort of translation or interpretation work. Plus, there's none of that in my area for anything except Spanish. And Spanish might be about as far from Japanese as you can get.

    On some level though, I really want to finish what I started. Turning my back on this particular passion has never really felt like the good or right thing.. I just.. gave up.

    In order to not give up this time, I have to get through lots of math. :P

    JohnDies_zpsfe6c609e.jpg
    The avalanche has already started; it is too late for the pebbles to vote.
Sign In or Register to comment.