Is 6 months of intense study enough time to study for an entrance exam?

Dec 2019
6
1
Serbia
Hi all,

Forgive me if this post seems long, I tried to make it as short as possible by removing any unnecessary details, and leaving only the things needed. It would really mean so much to me if you would be able to read all of it to better understand my position, but if you're unable to read all of it, just jump to the Training Regime section.

Ok, here's the thing. I'm preparing myself for the college entrance exam, and I hope that 6 months of intensive study regime will be enough time for me to pass it. I would like your opinion on it to see if there is anything I would need to change

The entrance exam (July, 1st) is only 10 math-based questions from a random selection of topics listed here (the ones marked with a '?' are topics that I'm not sure if I translated well)

There is unfortunately, one huge problem with this whole thing, and those are my math skills.

ABOUT ME
--------------

I won't bother posting too much of my background info just to be able to keep this thread short, but the only thing that I will say is that unfortunately throughout high school, I had a series of many, many bad events happening in my life leading me to the "downward spiral" and soon enough to a deep depression which caused my grades to drop heavily (from B to E (or whatever is the minimum passing grade at schools in the US)), and unfortunately math was never the topic I was interested in before and after depression hit.

Most of the time in school I always thought about math as that one subject where you won't need anything more than basic arithmetic and geometry in your life, so unfortunately I never paid much attention to it in class and just memorized the formulas and "templates" enough for it to be a passing grade.

Because of this, my math skills have suffered severely, and I plan to make it up to myself since now I'm looking towards entering college and I'm hoping I can hone my skills enough to pass the exam :)

TRAINING REGIME
---------------------------

Since my memory of math is pretty weak, I decided to go on KhanAcademy and see how far I can go without failling. These are the results:
  • Kindergarten to 4th grade - Too easy, everything completed 100%
  • 5th and 6th grade - Here I can see that there are holes in my knowledge, but I covered most of it
  • 7th and 8th grade - Really foggy here, I need to repeat the majority of this stuff
  • High School - I failed everything :(
Now, here's the thing. All those topics that were listed in the above PasteBin link are the topics that I need to study for the exam, and what I'm curious about that is:
Is 6 months enough time to study all those topics listed above, even with knowledge as bad as mine?

Here's my study plan:
  • Starting from January, I'm going to go and repeat everything from 5th - 8th grade (this is mostly because I believe that if my fundamentals are bad, the rest will fall easily)
  • My study resources will comprise mostly of:
    • KhanAcademy
    • PatrickJMT
    • Professor Leonard (YouTube)
    • MIT OpenCourseWare
    • BONUS: Worksheets found on the internet for homework
  • My study will consist of 6-8 hours a day, 6x per week (1 - 1.5 hours of this will be spent on 'theory', that is, when I'm learning a new concept, I first want to try and understand it; like what does this concept represent, when do I use it, how do I apply it in X or Y situation, what it's all about, etc...) (rest of the hours will be spent on practicing and doing worksheets for that topic I just learned, and the previous ones)
More than 8 hours is something I don't think I'll be able to accomplish, just to avoid the feeling of "burnout". Of course, I don't plan on spending these hours all at once, what I meant was something like 3 in the morning/afternoon, 3-5 in the evening just before bedtime. I'll also use the Pomodoro Technique for better time management.
  • Starting from February, I'll also include a private tutor
Since the goal here is accelerated learning. With a private tutor, I was thinking of scheduling tutoring once a week, so that we can go through all of the things I learned that week, to see if I learned everything correctly, if I can do any homework assignment without help, to clear things up in case I was stuck somewhere, or didn't knew how to solve a problem, etc...

The lessons will be scheduled once a week from February up to May. In May and June, I'll start scheduling tutoring 3 times a week and I hope we can go through all of the topics listed above and fill any holes that I have. Most importantly to practice together, A LOT!



And that's about it for my study plan. Let me know what you think about it.




I know all of this seems a bit excessive, but this is just for that small hope that I have that I will succeed at entering college this year, and to be honest, even with all of this, I still have some form of anxiety that's telling me this won't be enough to study all those things in such a short period of time, and that I should give up on trying this year, and go for the next :\
I really want to succeed this year, but if skipping another year is necessary, then I'd rather do the right thing.

I would really like to hear what you guys think about all of this.

Thanks in forward, and forgive me again for the long post.
 

skipjack

Forum Staff
Dec 2006
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2,386
Do you have textbooks?
 

greg1313

Forum Staff
Oct 2008
8,008
1,174
London, Ontario, Canada - The Forest City
You seem to have a sufficient level of motivation and though your training plan seems adequate, I think you will definitely have to adhere to it in order to succeed. The list of topics you need to cover is somewhat extensive and, here in Canada, would comprise beginner-level mathematics to parts of a second year university curriculum (depending on how deep you go into calculus). If you remain committed and adhere to your study plan, you may very well succeed, IMHO. Good luck.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Dec 2019
6
1
Serbia
Do you have textbooks?
You seem to have a sufficient level of motivation and though your training plan seems adequate, I think you will definitely have to adhere to it in order to succeed. The list of topics you need to cover is somewhat extensive and, here in Canada, would comprise beginner-level mathematics to parts of a second year university curriculum (depending on how deep you go into calculus). If you remain committed and adhere to your study plan, you may very well succeed, IMHO. Good luck.
Hi, guys. Thank you for all of your replies, it really means much to me.

One thing I forgot to mention about the exam was, it consists of 10 questions, each carrying a maximum of 6 points. The good thing about it is, you're answer is scored depending on your attempt, not the result. This means if you make a mistake somewhere, it's not going to be an automatic 0. This is why I wanted to try studying all these topics and hopefully score a 3 or 4 on questions regarding integrals, derivates and any tough topics that would require months of studying.

Another thing which I want to ask is, do you think it would be better to devote another year just for studying math (and at a regular pace 2-4h a day, 4-5 days a week) to make sure I understand all of these things instead of rushing through or is it better to try and bite the bullet now and go through this regime just to be able to enter?

Another good thing is, after the exams (July, 1st), the first semester starts in January, so I would have plenty of time to catch up on all these topics and properly figure them out to avoid having trouble during classes :). Of course, the bad thing is that I wouldn't do well on the exam as to how I could have done if I paused another year.

I'm really confused about what to do here. Both seem like good choices, and I only want to avoid wasting my time and doing what it's right, but the problem is I can't figure it out, and the clock is ticking :(
 
Dec 2019
6
1
Serbia
Additionally, I would like to share with you previous entrance exams to see how they look like. Unfortunately, since they're in PDF format, you will have to translate them with Google since I can't edit them.

(NOTE: Ignore every question after the first two pages (that is, after the first 10 questions))

Here are the 2018 exam questions:
http://www.ftn.uns.ac.rs/n877262965/prijemni-2018

Here are 2017 exam questions:
http://www.ftn.uns.ac.rs/741711949/reseni-zadaci-svih-prijemni-ispita-koji-su-se-odrzali-u-junu-2017--godine-

For 2019, it's still supposed to come out, it's just a little bit delayed.

Anytime you see the word "Rešenje:", it means "Solution:", so to save yourself time, ignore it and just translate the questions before it.

Let me know what you think about them. Is it too hard for 6 months, doable...?
 

skipjack

Forum Staff
Dec 2006
21,321
2,386
Although the questions look awkward, they turn out to be straightforward. That's confirmed by the shortness of the solutions provided. There are textbooks that explain the techniques you need to understand and provide questions (arranged in order of difficulty) for you to attempt. Are you able to learn from a textbook? If so, do you already have any textbooks?
 
Dec 2019
6
1
Serbia
Although the questions look awkward, they turn out to be straightforward. That's confirmed by the shortness of the solutions provided. There are textbooks that explain the techniques you need to understand and provide questions (arranged in order of difficulty) for you to attempt. Are you able to learn from a textbook? If so, do you already have any textbooks?
Hi, skipjack.

Unfortunately, I do not have any textbooks, other than the workbooks which the college releases each year. This is what students use to prepare themselves for the entrance exam, and it's a 350-page workbook full of exercises from all of the topics listed here.

Do you by any chance have a recommended textbook for me to read? I don't mind even if it's in English.
 

greg1313

Forum Staff
Oct 2008
8,008
1,174
London, Ontario, Canada - The Forest City
There's lots of textbooks online, if that's helpful.
 
Dec 2019
6
1
Serbia
There's lots of textbooks online, if that's helpful.
I know, but the problem for me is, I don't know where to look.

Where can I find these textbooks, and seeing how many of them there are, which ones would be the best in your opinion?
 

skipjack

Forum Staff
Dec 2006
21,321
2,386
Start with this easy book, which is a 10MB pdf file. If it's too easy, there are more advanced materials elsewhere on that web site. However, the first things I would like to know are whether you can understand everything, given that it's in English, and whether you feel that the level and style of explanation suits you.