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FUTURE_OF_GM

A little help...

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I'm currently taking STATS and CALC and I'm not doing very well at all. I have a lot riding on my satisfactory completion of these course and I was wondering if anyone had any magical study techniques or philosophies up their sleeves.

I swear man, I can sit through a 2 hour Psych lecture and recite it word for word, yet I can't remember Calculus well enough to do the homework 30 minutes later. Me trying to learn this stuff is like trying to force water into a steel block, it just frustrates the hell out of me and makes me feel dumb.

:stupid: Maybe I could coin a new phrase: Mathematically Retarded: The inability to comprehend or accomplish anything mathematically that doesn't involve money or other basic concept of addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division.

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I've also had problems with math classes in the past, it seems to me that people who are stronger in the critical thinking, almost abstract areas (literature, psych, etc) have a tough time with cut-and-dry, right-or-wrong subjects like math. My advice would be to seek out either a classmate who "gets it" (I did this in a math class a while back) or a tutor.

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The most helpful studying I did in university were group study sessions. We had these little rooms in the library which would fit about 10 people, with a blackboard. A bunch of us would go the day before the exam and just have a good session for about 6-8 hours. Basically we would just run through everything in the course, and do problems on the board. It helps to get the whole course in perspective like that - helps you to realize what details are important and which ones aren't. For one of these sessions to work, you need someone in the group who feels like they don't understand the course, since they'll be the ones asking the questions that the people who think they know the course won't ask. You also need someone who understands it fairly well, to do the bulk of the explaining. I was generally the one doing the explaining and problems on the board, but this really helped me as well. Figuring out how to teach someone a subject is a great way to mull it over in your mind and remember it better.

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I'm currently taking STATS and CALC and I'm not doing very well at all. I have a lot riding on my satisfactory completion of these course and I was wondering if anyone had any magical study techniques or philosophies up their sleeves.

I swear man, I can sit through a 2 hour Psych lecture and recite it word for word, yet I can't remember Calculus well enough to do the homework 30 minutes later. Me trying to learn this stuff is like trying to force water into a steel block, it just frustrates the hell out of me and makes me feel dumb.

:stupid: Maybe I could coin a new phrase: Mathematically Retarded: The inability to comprehend or accomplish anything mathematically that doesn't involve money or other basic concept of addition, subtraction, multiplication and/or division.

FOG, what you should do is something called a "progressive outline in your math classes". Since studying for psych and studying for math use two different parts of your brain, you should try to break the problem down into different steps using these progressive outlines. I did them writing step 1, then writing the problem down, since that is the first step in any problem, then step 2, do your factoring or combining of terms or whatever, then step 3, and on and on and on. Do these progressive steps going down on your paper. This will break the problem down into steps and you will get into a routine of doing each problem this way. After ALOT of practice, and I do mean ALOT of practice, it will become second nature.

Also, calculus has some new that you need to learn and apply, as well as new concepts. It's important to understand the meaning of the new concepts and new terms. When you are studying and understand the whole meaning of the term and concept, your brain is storing it better in its "Central executive" that stores information and retrieves information.

I don't think you are "math retarded" as you stated, because you've made it to Calc you so have to be pretty good at it. Don't let it get to you, and just work at it. It really helps if you can get into a study group with other people in your class. You all can support each other when you are struggling or frustrated, and make it fun. Our memory is better when we are more relaxed than when we are tense.

Try these, and if you have any questions, send me a PM. You too Satty.

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Sir:

I had problems with calculus, too. Then I retook it as a requirement right before grad arch school and got an A. Why? The first time I could not accept that I could not see what an integral and a derivative were physically doing. It bothered me. The second time, I just decided I would follow the rules given to me without question and I got the grade. The structures classes, where calculus could conceivably come in, are reduced to algebraic formulas and a lot of the information is found in tables in steel and concrete books.

Statistics is fun. It intuitively makes more sense, at least for me. We could take in a cheat sheet and people wanted copies of mine because it had everything real small and real neat.

At any rate, over several "sheepskins," my GPA went up. The first thing that helped was moving out of the house. LOL. I found that constant fighting with my parents while I commuted to undergrad did not help my GPA, though I barely made it into the Cum Laude fold anyway.

Some thoughts:

1. Recopy your class notes - corny, but it lets stuff "steep" like a tea bag after the lecture

2. Sit in front and get involved - if class size permits, ask questions and make comments...I am obnoxious, so I have no problem doing that

3. Read the book and make outlines/flash cards.

4. Set out a bit-by-bit study plan for exams that starts about a week before, so you break it up...with a review the night before, possibly with other students.

My last sheepskin exceeded 3.9 and I did this as an adult working during the day. However, I "lived" at B&N, Starbucks and the library in my spare time doing the above things.

Best of luck to you. In the end, it really is worth it.

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Writing/history/science have always been stronger for me than math...sorry, I can't help you there.

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I can help you with Calculus and Stats (depending on what level it is).

Calculus, it is like driving, or drawing, once you get to know what you are dealing with. It is an art. The best way to attack calculus is understand this fundamental: When Newton thought about Calculus, his major dissatisfaction was how to deal with functions.

Assume that in a range of unique X coordinates over a continuous function, there exist y coordinates. A continuous function is one which does not break or has no steps in that range. A derivative is the tangent to this function at the point where we take the derivative. So when we are given different tangents on the curve and are asked to find the curve, the function we get is an integral. For finding a derivative it is imperative to assume that the function is continuous, there is discrete calculus for non-continuous functions, but I think you won't be seeing those in this class.

Imagine the simplest way for integral as 5+2=7. Now in broad terms we take a step of magnitude 2 to reach 7 from 5. In integration, this 2 is achieved by taking baby steps of may be 1*10 e-15 or a small number till it reaches 7, to make it appear as 7.

As for stats, it is a muggers paradize. If you are having problems, the best way to tackle rather than thinking logically is memorize the formula and start puking them in the problems.

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(copying this here from the other thread)

I have a hard time with advanced math as well...I don't pick it up right away like some others. Basically, what worked best for me was to write down every single thing the teacher said. What I found most of the time was after lecture I'd go home and try to work on it later at night, only to find out that I didn't understand why he did certain things. Those little hang ups would cause me hours of misery trying to figure out why I wasn't getting the same answer. So if he explained some process in class, I would write down his words next to that part of the problem so that later when I worked on it I would remember why it was done that way.

I think most anyone can learn calc, trig, etc...it's just that it is harder for some to visualize than others and very easy to get discouraged. It also doesn't help that I am a visual learner rather than audible learner, so if something is explained in words only I'm f*cked.

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Guys, I am good at math. If you need any help, please let me know. (It won't be free :P )

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I'm taking Calculus, and I do not always retain the material from lectures, especially when I sit down to do homework 3 days later.

I reinforce my understanding by watching tutorial DVDs, provided by our school's Math Tutoring Lab. The instructional DVDs are done by the textbook publisher, Houghton Mifflin. Each chapter is covered in great detail and a number of example problems are carefully explained and worked.

Without these helpful DVDs, I would have suffered in Trig and Pre-Cal as well.

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Sir:

I had problems with calculus, too. Then I retook it as a requirement right before grad arch school and got an A. Why? The first time I could not accept that I could not see what an integral and a derivative were physically doing. It bothered me.

I'm so glad you said that, It seems that I have the exact same problem. With Psych I can apply my knowledge to real world things that I understand. Yet, with Calc it's almost as if my brain writes the stuff of as 'having no meaning' because I cannot apply it to anything I've ever experienced first hand.

It makes me so mad and depressed at the same time, depressed because I feel beaten and mad because I realize that I've been beaten.

The second time, I just decided I would follow the rules given to me without question and I got the grade. The structures classes, where calculus could conceivably come in, are reduced to algebraic formulas and a lot of the information is found in tables in steel and concrete books.

My GF is going through Structures right now :)

Statistics is fun. It intuitively makes more sense, at least for me.

Absolutely! Statistics I can apply, my major problem in that subject is 1) I have a hard time memorizing the formulas and 2 I have a hard time knowing when to use what formula -- which probably means I need more practice and a better understanding.

At any rate, over several "sheepskins," my GPA went up.

That's something I'm very concerned about... Right now I have 2 choices; I can pass the classes and continue into my second 4 year (Marketing) or I can not pass the classes and shoot for grad school. The only problem is that not passing the classes will obviously tank my GPA (Not to mention I probably need the classes for grad school anyway)

Thank you to everyone for all of the great advice! I still have a fighting chance in these classes but time is not on my side. I'l definitely try all of this stuff.

P.S. Sorry for the double topic post, I must've hit the button twice accidentally.

Edited by FUTURE_OF_GM
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