I am sure you have all heard the story before. A good student does well in most subjects. English, Philosophy, History, Physical Anthropology, Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, Biology; good grades with a minimum of effort, Math F--.
I had decent grades in College Algebra, decent grades in Trigonometry. However when I got to Calculus I was just blown away. I feel like I am weak in certain areas; fractions, unit circle, trignometric functions. I thought during the class that I was learning about derivative, limits etc. However I apparently was missing something very central, as I failed the class about half way through. Was quite disappointed, and felt like my academic career had come to an end. I stopped attending college and got a minimum wage job. I have a AAS in both pharmacy technology and surgical technology, however I feel those are degrees that have no meaning.
So enough of my SOB Story. To my question. What should I do.
I feel very very depressed that math does not seem to click for me at all, I consider myself pretty intelligent, however when I think, and do math I feel like I am missing some key component mentally.
Question #1 Has anyone encountered this and if they have what have they done to remedy the situation?
Question #2 What resources would you recommend to help remedy the situation? (Books, software, etc)
Question #3 What can I do to become a math whiz and to be able to think mathematically?
Question #4 I want to become math, learn math, live math, no longer be afraid of math, no longer allow this one subject to control my life. How can I achieve this goal.
Thanks in advance. Mathematically Lost in Los Angeles.
June 4th 2012, 09:44 PM
Re: How to move forward.
I am an economist but I love mathematics. Everything depends on the teacher* and how much versatile you are. According to your story you are a lot. So start from the basic maths, the one we have been teached at schools and do as many exercises as you can. There are many books about "funny maths" and quizzes with numbers. You need patience but it worths!!
* My mathematician at the third class of high school was very strict and a little quaint. Any time we dare to say the word "maybe" , we had to stand up at the back of the classroom as a punishment. He was saying that we have to be sure for everything we tell about maths. But he was the one who makes me love maths.
June 5th 2012, 03:26 AM
Re: How to move forward.
Roughly speaking, you have to keep working at it.
Work on different problems. Many of the problems that appear on this site make for good practice, they can involve all of the basic algebra, trigonometry and calculus that should (ideally) become second nature to you. If there is a particular problem that you don't understand, (avoiding the more advanced, obscure and esoteric stuff), ask. There are plenty of people frequenting this site who are only too happy to help.
Read. When I first started to show an interest in mathematics, my teacher told me that I should read the books of W W Sawyer. The early ones, Mathematician's Delight and Prelude to Mathematics (inexpensive paperbacks) are now a bit dated in parts but still worth reading. Later ones like The Search for Pattern and What is Calculus About are also good background reading. There are plenty of others, (by other authers), and on various branches of maths, to choose from.
Above all, you just have to keep working at it.