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June 19th, 2016, 04:13 PM  #1 
Newbie Joined: Jun 2016 From: High town Virginia Posts: 7 Thanks: 0  I am in desperate need of advice regarding mathematical development
Dear math forum members, I am a 22 year old kid who has been out of college for three years due to academic suspension from the private school Hiram College, in Hiram Ohio. I was to major in physics at that institution. I never had the academic background to major in that field from middle school and high school. I went to middle and high school in Florida and to anyone familiar with state rankings for education you may already know florida is close to dead last in quality of education. I have always had the aptitude in math and science and as a child i fantasized about intensively studying mathematics and the sciences and knew I wanted to pursue a career in either of those fields a technical side of work I am obsessed with mechanics. Being a child and 12 years old and on this desire stayed with me but I was unaware of the amount of work that went into it or how crucial it was to develop foundations in my developmental academic years. My high school put me into an applied mathematics course for 4 years very straight forward stuff, to the dismay of my teacher she demanded i be placed in a tougher mathematics course because of how proficient I was in the material, my last math class in high school was a watered down financial algebra and I took the same biology course the last two years. The administration blatantly refused to put me in a tougher area of work. I never saw a chemistry class or a real algebra course I excelled i. My 10th grade geometry class. I spent a lot of my junior and senior years in class just sitting there on our phones and being entertained with movies and just plain crap because the school was not putting forth academics the teachers would be on social media all period while students did as they pleased it was awful, but me being an even younger kid I had no idea how detrimental it actually was to my academics. I was never taught how to work, how to study, how to retain information my interest faltered because of the low level education I was presented with in class just simply not being pushed as a student whatsoever. I am a direct result of that kind of misfortune. I graduated and went to that private school to play sports and major in a field I am still vastly interested in but had absolutley no skill set of foundation to even start. I am 22 years old and I have the mathematic skill of maybe a 6th grader. I can barely manipulate fractions, decimals, when people say fourths fifths tenths stuff like that I have no clue what they mean. The earliest foundations and principles I never was able to master from pretty much 612th grade and I am ashamed and humiliated of it. I flunked out of hiram because of my lacking background in simply being a student, and studying skills I simply do not know how to properly study,if I even had that I may have still failed because of my laughable mathematic background. However I am not going to allow that to deter my from my goal of graduating from that school wit a STEM degree of some kind I have been trying to self study and relearn on my own I have a few books from the 80s and know of a good website called mathisfun.com, yet I am so uncertain if my approach is correct and if these books are outdated or something. I love math and science and have a good mind for it one of my professors in college who taught physics yet I was t in the class she was teaching another course a freshman colloquium I was in commented on how she admired the type of mind I have and my approach to answers and solutions was not like a whole lot of other students. It is something I desperately want to master and have a career in, I have been playing the mandolin for about 5 years and in that time period have become vastly proficient in playing and analyzing it music and all. I run into a great deal of frustration in math because frankly I don't know what in the hell I am doing. I have come to this forum to ask the members experts or not. Where do I start? I have layed a background as to where I am currently and am desperately seeking advice and reccomendations as to where to get started in regards to where I am at currently so that I can start building the skills and foundations nesseccary to major in a field such as chemistry, mathematics, or physics, particularly the latter two. Please spare me of any negative remarks regarding my situation or my grammar I have posted on other unrelated forums and have ran into grammar police please bare with me as I only have a phone screen. I thank you all sincerely for commenting or even reading and just thinking about it and am anxious to hear some answers so it can help get me on track to where I would like to be in academia and life. KC 
June 19th, 2016, 05:32 PM  #2 
Senior Member Joined: May 2016 From: USA Posts: 632 Thanks: 257 
I can't advise you on physics. I started as a chemistry major in college, but I have not studied chemistry in over 50 years. So I am no help there either. I have been tutoring in math ever since I retired. You can't skip steps in math. So there is no quick way to get a sound mathematical education. I like Khan Academy online, but it does not provide problems for you to solve so you cannot learn by doing. You need to supplement Khan by getting a book with problems and an answer key from the library and doing ALL the problems that have answers. If you try a problem and get the wrong answer, come here and show us what you did so we can explain where you went wrong. Probably you need a quick review in arithmetic, which not hard as third and fourth graders can learn it. What you really need to learn is elementary algebra. A college algebra class is probably too advanced so you probably need to go through the two to three year high school algebra process. Without solid skills in algebra, the more advanced courses needed for the physical and social sciences will defeat you. 
June 19th, 2016, 05:41 PM  #3 
Newbie Joined: Jun 2016 From: High town Virginia Posts: 7 Thanks: 0 
JeffM1 I have an elementary algebra txt book but it was made in the late eighties maybe early 90s It is literally titled elementary algebra will that book be adequate in starting my learnining im wondering if it's age is a problem and I am not looking for a fast way to catch up mainly a method to start getting me in the right direction as well as any studying skills or habits that have helped others a long the way Thank you 
June 19th, 2016, 06:41 PM  #4 
Senior Member Joined: May 2016 From: USA Posts: 632 Thanks: 257 
Algebra as it is studied today is several hundred years old. The age of a text in elementary algebra is virtually irrelevant. In my opinion, the more recent the text the more likely it is to be filled with extraneous matter that is not needed until calculus or abstract algebra. You need to understand that "elementary algebra" is the algebra of real numbers. You certainly are not going to "get" calculus or abstract algebra without fully understanding "elementary algebra." So just start. Between a text with lots of problems and answers, sites like this, and Khan Academy, you probably can learn elementary algebra in months, a year at most, if you work diligently. 
June 19th, 2016, 07:18 PM  #5 
Newbie Joined: Jun 2016 From: High town Virginia Posts: 7 Thanks: 0 
I thank you very much sir and appreciate the time you have taken to consider my post

June 20th, 2016, 08:20 PM  #6 
Newbie Joined: Jun 2016 From: High town Virginia Posts: 7 Thanks: 0 
I know there's more of you out there

June 20th, 2016, 09:20 PM  #7 
Senior Member Joined: Feb 2016 From: Australia Posts: 1,179 Thanks: 391 Math Focus: Yet to find out. 
I think as JeffM1 has said, you need to start where you left off. Maybe even grab out some paper, jot down all the topics you need to catch up on, then list all the subtopics for each major topic that you think you understand, or remember studying. If you can't remember or aren't sure, then try find some school curriculums for each of the major topics so you can give yourself a guide. Then from here you need to get your hands on some textbooks and start studying! P.S., Try to use more paragraphs when you write larger chunks of text , it makes it much more readable and will be more inviting for people to read and contribute to your post . 
July 20th, 2016, 12:22 AM  #8  
Member Joined: Aug 2007 Posts: 42 Thanks: 4  Quote:
...Start by asking her advice. Protip: Bring a bottle of wine and the mandolin along.  
July 20th, 2016, 12:47 AM  #9 
Senior Member Joined: Dec 2012 From: Hong Kong Posts: 831 Thanks: 297 Math Focus: Stochastic processes, statistical inference, data mining, computational linguistics  

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