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Academic Guidance Academic Guidance - Academic guidance for those pursuing a college degree... what college? Grad school? PhD help?


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April 5th, 2011, 06:54 AM   #1
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When to give up?

I am taking a college algebra class at a community college and I am having a lot of trouble with it. I was planning on getting some sort of engineering degree as I enjoy doing math but after this class I pretty much have to rethink my life. I have failed every single test in the class with about the same score 55-59 percent. I don't know what else to do, I have a tutor, I go to the office hours, I study at least 10 hours a week (at least 30 for tests) and no matter how I study I can't improve my grade on tests. I feel much more confident than I did at first, I didn't have a tutor at first and I changed my study habits a little bit and I feel very confident when I take the test. The past few tests I felt like I had at least an A on the test but I got it back with the same exact score I always get.

This is devastating to me, I just don't know what to do. Do I keep going with math? Take the class over? Take an easier math class then this one? I don't know but I don't have a lot of time or money to waste on these sorts of things. Am I just not smart enough? Is math just not my thing? Maybe school isn't for me even though I enjoy it maybe I am just not good at it like I thought I was in high school. I just don't know what to do know, how do I know when to give up? This is coming down to an emotional and finicancial question, do I know when to give up when I am broke and in debt or do I give up when I feel like I am wasting my life on this as I do now?
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April 5th, 2011, 07:08 AM   #2
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Re: When to give up?

You're definitely in a tough spot. I never encourage students to give up, because:
1) only .02% of my students were/are too dumb for math
2) with good teaching, the rest of the 99.98% CAN be good at math.

There are many good teachers on this forum (and on others). We can help you with specific problems and point you to resources. Some are available for online video tutoring. I do that vocationally.

As it turns out, most of my local students are from a community college. The first question I ask when they call is: "how many times have you taken this (algebra) class?" Usually it's their 2nd or 3rd try!

The way for you to get the most out of what we offer on the forum would be to:
a) upload a copy of a recent test.
b) for each problem you missed, try to rework it (showing your work online) and include your reasoning and where you are stuck.
c) study our replies (!)

Good luck to you, and revisit item (2) above as many times as necessary. Your confidence is low, so it might take a few times!
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April 5th, 2011, 07:40 AM   #3
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Re: When to give up?

I can't think of anything (related to school that is) more embarassing and shameful than retaking a class because I wasn't smart enough to do it the first time. Not only that but I don't think I can afford to experiment with money too much, I just need to know now if I should give up or not. I have no idea why I am even going to school or what my goal is, I am just trying to figure out what I am good at I guess.

Anyways reviews my tests it seems my mistakes are everything, sometimes I do the math wrong (although this is the most rare of my mistakes) and other times I just get the forumla/process) wrong and I don't have time to double check my answers. I guess I need to work faster so I can have time to double check my answers but on a lot of these I just don't seem to know what to do and I redo the same mistake and I can go back and look at my homework and see where I did it correctly dozens of times.
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April 5th, 2011, 07:51 AM   #4
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Re: When to give up?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TL533821
1.I can't think of anything (related to school that is) more embarassing and shameful than retaking a class because I wasn't smart enough to do it the first time.
2.Not only that but I don't think I can afford to experiment with money too much, I just need to know now if I should give up or not.
3.I have no idea why I am even going to school or what my goal is, I am just trying to figure out what I am good at I guess.

4.Anyways reviews my tests it seems my mistakes are everything, sometimes I do the math wrong (although this is the most rare of my mistakes) and other times I just get the forumla/process) wrong and I don't have time to double check my answers.
5.I guess I need to work faster so I can have time to double check my answers but on a lot of these I just don't seem to know what to do and I redo the same mistake and I can go back and look at my homework and see where I did it correctly dozens of times.
I have numbered your reply to make this easier...
1. This isn't about smarts (except for the .02% which I'm sure you are NOT!). There is something that you don't understand. If I were to take a Russian Literature test, I would fail...
2/3. If you don't know why you are going to school, and can't afford it, those would be good reasons to not go to school. Failing this class isn't a legit reason to quit.
4. Would you rather have someone who is failing math (i.e. you) review your tests, or your new friends on the forums? This might sound harsh, but if you're really as bad at math as you claim to be, maybe you should get a second opinion on where the trouble lies.
5. No. Working faster means you'll just make more mistakes per hour if you don't know what you're doing!

This is blunt, but I'm treating you as I would any of my students (who pay an arm and a leg for my time...). Sure, I'm just words on a screen, so you can ignore my advice (as you already have ignored the suggestion that you upload a copy of your test) or tell me to $&^%-off ...
or you could see this for what it is and accept the help!
Charles (not-so-great )
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April 5th, 2011, 07:53 AM   #5
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Re: When to give up?

I could upload the test but it would take me quite a while to type out some of the problems...or scan it? But I do have a tutor who will be going over this later today.
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April 5th, 2011, 08:02 AM   #6
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Re: When to give up?

If you can scan it, we'll take a look at it.

About tutors... here's my general rule. Take it or leave it.
Quote:
If the tutor is writing more than the student is writing, get a new tutor.
One year, I didn't bring a pencil, paper, or calculator to any of my sessions!
(It's a little harder to swing the whole "no writing" thing when working online...)
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April 5th, 2011, 09:42 AM   #7
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Re: When to give up?

I think the problem I am having on a lot of the tests is that I need to review some problems and do them twice because I made a mistake the first time and didn't notice because it looked close to right but I don't have the time to go back. I just need to get faster I guess.

I just don't understand why I would have to take this class again, if I can't get it on my first try I doubt math is for me or I am good at math. If I had to take English twice I would feel the same way, or any other class.
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April 5th, 2011, 09:57 AM   #8
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Re: When to give up?

That's reasonable, but I disagree.
There are (in my experience) many more bad math teachers than teachers of any other subject.

And I already talked about the "working faster" idea. Speed comes later. It's the same in any example that comes to mind. Having trouble playing your scales on a musical instrument? Cranking up the speed isn't the way to fix it.
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April 5th, 2011, 10:03 AM   #9
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Re: When to give up?

I mean I feel confident on these tests but I just don't do well. I work through the problems slowly, double checking my answers and making sure everything makes sense. Maybe I should just upload a test.
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April 5th, 2011, 04:07 PM   #10
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Re: When to give up?

Well my tutor just told me that her friend who is really smart had the same instructor as me and only got a B because the tests are really hard. She also told me that english is her second language and that she can do the math just fine. Well that is fucking great, sounds like math isn't for me. I went through my test with the tutor and the mistakes were many but a in total I had one answer that I didn't check and it just didn't make sense, one I forgot that roots are just fractional exponents, one there was no example in the book so I had no way to study for it ( a negative log minus another log is actually going to be a product of the log), I did the math wrong on another really simple addition, another one I forgot the properties of logs even though I knew it very well in my homework I just forgot about it on this question, did the forumla wrong even though I got it right on the rest of the test.

That was my test, I just feel like I always need more time on the tests, like I need to get faster.
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