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Algebra

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I am so frustrated with this. Algebra..... Summer semester just started and all I am taking is my college algebra course. I had to start at the very beginning of math when I started taking college classes. Basic Math, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, passed all of those somehow with A's and now I have College Algebra. I can not do it. No matter what, I just can't get it. I swear I have some sort of mathematic learning disability and it frustrates me to no end. I am a good student, I pay attention in class, do all homework and even extra practice problems. I originally signed up for college algebra last semester but withdrew from it after a month. (after the refund drop deadline) my teacher wasn't great and I was becomming more confused in class than I was learning anything. I decided to take it summer term by itself so I didn't have to juggle work for another class with it. We are working on solving quadratic equations by completing the square and stuff like that and the next section is word problems. I began ok with the quadratic equations but the word problems, forget it. I have had help with them many times by teachers, friends, etc. Still, whenever I read one I have no idea where to begin. My mind just doesn't think that way. Everytime I try it I get so frustrated it brings me to tears How do people do this stuff It wouldn't be so bad if it was over after this class, but I know you need algebra for chemistry and my entrance exam for the nursing program consists of many word problems for the math section. I feel like I am doomed

Sorry if this is just dumb to be so upset about, I just needed to get it out, I try so hard
post #2 of 28
I wish I could help but I'm useless at maths!! Try not to stress so much about it, I'll bet once you can calm down and not worry about it so much it'll start to make a lot more sense.
post #3 of 28
I'ts not dumb to be upset about it, at least you care enough about your grades and future ambitions to be upset that you're having problems. Now, for two pieces of advice.....1)Take a DEEP breath or two and calm down before you get any more stressed about it than you already are. 2)Ask your teacher or the Dean of your school and see if they can help you find someone to do some one-on-one tutoring on the parts that you are having difficulty with, its worth a shot ! I'd tell you that I'd try to help, but I'm not sure how much I remember myself,its been @ 15 years since I even looked at a word problem! Then again, if you want me to try, e-mail me and we'll give it a go from there. The worst I can tell you is "I forgot"!
post #4 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for the offer, that is really nice of you.... I am thinking about making an appointment with my academic advisor. I know this part might sound dumb, but I have had a lot of help with problems and even begin to feel like I understand what to do. But as soon as I get to work on them my mind goes blank. It's like the work that I need to do isn't logical, and my mind won't even consider it. It just goes blank and I am clueless of even where to begin the problem. I have had help with individual problems many times, but still I can't get it. That's why I feel like it's impossible. I am truly looking at the possibility of a mathmatical brain disfunction, if one exists
post #5 of 28
I wish i could help as well, but i'm a numpty when it comes to maths!
post #6 of 28
I wished I lived closer, I would be able to help you. I took a lot of math in school and was very good at it. I don't know if there is any help that I could give you through email or not. Algebra is not that hard, once you understand it. I think most people get stuck, because you start dealing with letters instead of numbers. If there is a question that you would like to ask, you can email me or PM. Try to relax, the more frustrated you get the harder it will become.
post #7 of 28
Hang in there! I wish you the best! I know it's rough, I got through it and so can YOU!
post #8 of 28
Hang in there, you'll get it. If you come across a problem or type of problem that really trips you up, post it up and (hopefully) I or someone else can give you an approach to solve the problem. It really does become easier the more you do it, because there are only so many problem types that they'll give you and soon you will recognize right away what kind of equation you need to set up.
post #9 of 28
Have not done maths for a long time. But I can tell you that practice makes perfect. No such thing as a person not having a math brains. Just find a set of questions relating to that particular topic and do them. It may take a real long time for the first problem, but spend a bit less time on the second and even less on the third. I remember spending an entire afternoons thinking on one question. It is slow going at first so do not despair. Practice until you not only get the hang of it but it becomes routine. Do it until such that the only thing slowing you down is the speed of your pen.

Do not stop at the questions assigned to you. Go to the library and search for the previous years' exam questions and proceed to complete them all.
post #10 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by glentheman20
It really does become easier the more you do it, because there are only so many problem types that they'll give you and soon you will recognize right away what kind of equation you need to set up.
This is exactly right!! Algebra isnt really hard - but what makes it hard is the daunting feel of it because it all looks so confusing

I was exactly like you - couldnt work it all out and I needed advanced math for my degree (not that I have ever used it in practice!!) Although one day it just hit me - and I havent had a problem with it since.
I think asking for some one-on-one help is the best idea because seriously one day it will all come together.
I can also give whatever help you might need - although some tutoring would be better as its face to face...

if you wanna buy me a plane ticket I can fly on over and be your tutor for a while
post #11 of 28
I think that is a good idea of making appointment with your academic advisor. If you passed all those others with A I would guess that the college algebra has not been explained very clearly to you. Wish I could help. Is there anyone who can go over them with you, who can explain clearly? Can you study them together with a friend?
post #12 of 28
ok.. i'm gonna refute what you guys say.. algebra is really hard.. did it at university level and i nearly died... but i survived... one piece of good advice which i got from a friend is to just look at the question.. dun do anything with it.. just read... it's always a common threat to read the question with the hope of solving it in mind.. but when we dun know how to do it, we panic and freak out.. so just read the question.. dun be afraid of it... like what you say, you've been a good student.. * at least better than me! * so you would know how to do it.. maybe it's the first step... dun worry... take it slow... post it online.. send it to me.. we could always work it out together..
post #13 of 28
It took me four tries to pass college algebra and I dont know how many books I went thru (I'm a book hurler/pencil stabber ) you can go to www.mathmax.com. It may not be the same book, but it may have the same problems. They have interactive algebra problems and they walk you thru them step by step.(--This saved my butt as well as a really good instructor who taught differently than the others.) There is a download for this, but its all free. You can PM me also..I could maybe help you out. Good luck!
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for the suggestions, and offers for the help! I might just take you all up on it and post my word problems on the board I worked on my 3 word problems for a couple of hours last night, studying all of the practice problems etc. and managed to answer none of them. I can make an algebra problem out of that! 3 problems, we will make x= the number of problems I solved, so x=0, 3x0=0 Haha! A problem I can solve. I plan to go to class early tonight and ask for some extra help.

Abby- That site you left the link for is nice. I am going to check it out this evening, it looked very helpful. At least online I can keep going over it again and again.
post #15 of 28
Good luck for tonight, I dropped maths as soon as I was able, I could never get the hang of trigonometry (my brain just didn't work that way!)
post #16 of 28
But just think of all the knowledge you will have when you complete this course! For example, if a building is 200 ft tall and the 8 ft ladder is leaning on that building you will know how long the shadow is of the 5 ft person standing a mile away at 6 pm. I know I use that information every day
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
HAHA! One of the problems I was doing last night was Train A leaves the station at noon and Train B leaves the station at 2:00 going 50mph faster than Train A. One hour later at 3:00 Train B is 10 miles from Train A. How fast are they both going??? I don't understand, isn't that what speedometers are for
post #18 of 28
I think they gain some sort of personal pleasure from driving us crazy with inane problems like that.
post #19 of 28
I sure can't help you... I am a total idiot in math.... whenever I can choose out of math I do... Ask me about humanities!
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Victor-
You should have told me that last semester, I just finished Humanities!
post #21 of 28
Okay, don't know if you solved it or not, but here's a general approach to this type of problem. One things for sure; you WILL see the dreaded train question again at some point (they just love trains for some reason)!

The first thing to note is that they are asking you for the speed of both trains, so automatically you know you have two unknowns, and so you need two equations to solve it.

The part that started to confuse me was all the units, so you should quickly note what units you will be dealing with. You have miles/hr, miles, and hours involved.

Now set up what the variables will stand for; in this case, you already know that you're looking for the speeds so it's straightforward: A = speed of train A, B = speed of train B. In some cases you will solve for something they didn't directly ask for, like time, and plug it back in to get your answer.

There are two statements that give you info, so there's a good chance that each one stands for an equation. Looking at the first one:
Train A leaves the station at noon and Train B leaves the station at 2:00 going 50mph faster than Train A

The fact that train B leaves later is significant, but only for the second equation. This was a big confusing, as I was trying to find a way to incorporate this info in the first equation. However, the important thing to pull out is that train B travels 50 mph faster than train A, so the first equation is:
B = A +50. Always make sure units match; in this case, A and B are in units of mph, so adding the 50 mph here works.

Now you take the second statement:
One hour later at 3:00 Train B is 10 miles from Train A

What I saw right away is that the second equation would somehow be in the form of B=A-10. "Train B is..." translates as "B=...." But once again, units must match, so to get the equation in units of miles, you have to multiply the rate by the time (mile/hr * hr = miles). So, after train B travels for 1 hour (2:00 - 3:00), at it's rate, it will be 10 miles behind train A, which has been traveling for 3 hours (12:00 - 3:00).
B*1 hour = A*3hours - 10 miles

Two equations, two unknowns. Now substitute the first equation into the second so you will have everything in terms of A or B (doesn't matter which).
post #22 of 28
I always got stuck at setting the equation up--especially on trains, planes, boats, etc. Drawing a table helped me, just to put it in more of a format I could comprehend.
post #23 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by squirtle
I am so frustrated with this. Algebra..... Summer semester just started and all I am taking is my college algebra course. I had to start at the very beginning of math when I started taking college classes. Basic Math, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, passed all of those somehow with A's and now I have College Algebra. I can not do it. No matter what, I just can't get it. I swear I have some sort of mathematic learning disability and it frustrates me to no end. I am a good student, I pay attention in class, do all homework and even extra practice problems. I originally signed up for college algebra last semester but withdrew from it after a month. (after the refund drop deadline) my teacher wasn't great and I was becomming more confused in class than I was learning anything. I decided to take it summer term by itself so I didn't have to juggle work for another class with it. We are working on solving quadratic equations by completing the square and stuff like that and the next section is word problems. I began ok with the quadratic equations but the word problems, forget it. I have had help with them many times by teachers, friends, etc. Still, whenever I read one I have no idea where to begin. My mind just doesn't think that way. Everytime I try it I get so frustrated it brings me to tears How do people do this stuff It wouldn't be so bad if it was over after this class, but I know you need algebra for chemistry and my entrance exam for the nursing program consists of many word problems for the math section. I feel like I am doomed

Sorry if this is just dumb to be so upset about, I just needed to get it out, I try so hard
Actually, you may have a math learning disability. I have one. It's called dyscalculia. It's like dyslexia, only with numbers instead of letters. And it has nothing to do with how smart you are....my IQ is 160. It has to do with the way your brain processes numerical information. You should talk to your advisor about getting tested.
post #24 of 28
ok.. given the problem.. here's how it goes..

let X be the speed of train A and has been travelling for 3 hrs
therefore X+50 is the speed of train B and has been travelling for 1 hr

speed x time= distance

therefore

(X+50)1 - (X)3 = 10
X+50-3X= 10
40= 3X-X
40=2X
20=X

therefore speed of train A is 20mph and speed for train B is X+50=70mph


hope it helps!
post #25 of 28
Remember that train B will be 10 miles behind, so the 10 should be negative. This actually brings up a very important step when doing these problems; when you arrive at your final answers, plug them back in to the equation to see if they work out.

So, in this example, if Train A travels at 20 mph for 3 hr, it travels 60 miles.

If Train B travels at 70 mph for 1 hour, it travels 70 miles.

However, this would mean that at 3:00 Train B is 10 ahead of Train A, which contradicts the givens. Ideally you would go back and evaluate your equations. To be honest, in a test situation with limited time, there have been times when I just started flipping positive/negative signs and see what comes out. Not recommended
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
You guys are awesome. I got it. I was able to work another 'mixture' word problem last night, all by myself might I add. I had some trouble with one that had to do with a boat traveling downstream and upstream and figuring out the current last night, and my teacher couldn't stay late last night so I am still clueless on it. But tomorrow night is the test on this chapter I plan to do alot of practicing tonight
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by squirtle
But tomorrow night is the test on this chapter I plan to do alot of practicing tonight
GOOD LUCK - remember to take a deep breath when reading the question and remain calm - sounds simple but it really helps to remain calm!!! (if that makes sense )
post #28 of 28
Yes, I have heard of dyscalculia. In fact, some folks are suspecting I may have it - I am a damn idiot when it comes to math, and my IQ is of 142.

Perhaps I am more cut out for humanities.
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