How to survive Algebra and how to learn it before taking the college placement test?

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    I am starting community college this summer and plan to take all the BSN prerequisites and general education requirements for University of Central Florida so I can apply for their nursing program.

    Here's the thing. I will need to complete College Algebra MAC1105, and Statistics STA2023 before I can transfer.
    I seriously SUCK at math. I can easily ace any subject, honestly. I'm way above average when it comes to English grammar and reading. I rock at science, and all the other subjects pretty much fall under readon so I'm very good. But math? I suck.

    Can anyone give me advice? I am afraid that when I take the college placement test, I will have to get placed in like Prealgebra or something and have to work my way up all those math courses to actually get the ones I need!
    I'm pretty much only good at very basic math, rations and proportions, percentages etc. I'm decent with all that but I never really had a good foundation on Algebra. I guess I can blame only myself for all those times I goofed off in math class. Anyway...are there any other people out there that had to get their BSN? How did you survive math!?

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  2. 11 Comments...

  3. 0
    Maybe you can get a college algebra book and or algebra software used for online courses to study from before taking your placement test. That has worked for some people. Good luck!
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    I felt this way about math for the longest time; math terrified me. I honestly believe that the key to my success with tackling College Algebra was finding the perfect instructor. Ask around to see if anyone can recommend an instructor or do what I did and "interview" them at open enrollment. Also, choosing a non-traditional time for class has its benefits. A day class can be filled with too many kids right out of high school who may have math fresh on the brain and might force the pace of the class to be incompatible with your needs. An evening class, or in my case a weekend class, provides a much more tailored pace of instruction to make sure that you can keep up with the concepts. Find someone to study with, take advantage of free tutors available at your school, and don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. Good luck!
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    Math isn't so bad, it follows rules (well at least the math you need for nursing) and is for the most part plug and chugg. As for the assesment test, I can't advise you to try to place into a math class that you are not ready for. Take the test cold and go where it puts you, this is the only way you are going to get a strong foundation in the areas you are weak in. Even then you are going to have to shoot for the top score in those work up classes (I started at college alg and the students in my class that barely squeezed thru the basic math courses struggled badly, the ones that did well continued to do well).
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    I agree with you Student4Life...I tested into basic algebra when I first went back to school...at first I was upset, as I am now in College Algebra and the whole first half of the class was basically what I did in intermediate and the first half of intermediate was what I had done with basic....it was frustrating. I think if I would have studied for the CPT I could have tested into a higher math but recently I have become happy that I didn't, I think having to go slower is why I have been able to get A's, as math has never been my thing, also it really helped me on the TEAS V to have the more basic math classes...we were not allowed to use a calculator in these courses and this forced me to learn things I should have when I was in gradeschool but didn't...that is why I was able to pull off a 90% on the math portion. So although it is frustrating to have to take so many math courses...if math is not your strong point it really will be the best thing for you in the long run. Good luck!
    Last edit by futrn on Mar 21, '11
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    Ugh it is a fristrating idea that I might have to take extra math classes :/ But I suupose I have to to learn and work my way up with As. The reason I'm so tense about it is because I need atleast Elementary Algebra to place in Anatomy & Physiology...God knows why. Plus I want my bachelors which means I need college algebra and statistics. I guess I'll just brush up on this basic math book I have and then see where I place.
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    I know you are in a rush to get started. But I am 26 and considered young for Nursing School, plans are fluid. It's good that you are mapping out your path, but I am a bit concerned with it's pace. Your LPN-RN-BSN-Adv Practice path doesn't allow for any error or delay, and things are going to happen. Even a student with a great GPA and high test scores and great letters of rec can get turned away by admissions and may have to wait a semester to get into Nursing School (an issue I thought was impossible but that I am dreading right now).
  9. 0
    Oh, I almost forgot. A great tip for getting math is to be able to do most basic calcs in your head. The reasoning behind this (my own theory, but it makes sense) is that if you understand numbers and how they interact you will be able to recognize if the answer to a completated problem makes sense. Resist the urge to use the calc and you will get better.
  10. 0
    Quote from Student4_life
    I know you are in a rush to get started. But I am 26 and considered young for Nursing School, plans are fluid. It's good that you are mapping out your path, but I am a bit concerned with it's pace. Your LPN-RN-BSN-Adv Practice path doesn't allow for any error or delay, and things are going to happen. Even a student with a great GPA and high test scores and great letters of rec can get turned away by admissions and may have to wait a semester to get into Nursing School (an issue I thought was impossible but that I am dreading right now).
    No no, see when I originally started posting here I was very wishy washy [it's in my nature to overthink, I'm sort of manic lol] I'm not going the LPN route. I am getting my prereqs and some general ed done this year and then applying to the ADN program at my communty college....if I get in I will do the bridge to BSN right after...if I don't I will conitnue my general ed requirements for the bachelors degree in nursing at University of Central Florida or some other University. Either route I will get my BSN in 4 years hopefully...then comes the stress of finding a new grad job. THE HARDSHIP IT NEVER ENDS! Lol

    I'll admit, I can freak out about some things but I guess the secret is just letting things float on....without being a slacker
  11. 0
    I agree with the other posters about placing into right level rather than trying stretching/cramming to place as high as you can. However, sometimes it is a simple thing to solidify a minor weak spot that would otherwise keep you from a higher level that you should be in.

    I would get an 8th grade math book and do the chapter pretest for each chapter. That will make sure you have the basics down solid - especially fractions and adding/subtracting/multiplying/division. You may laugh, but I managed to get through college algebra and statistics with a very tenuous grip on addition facts and fractions and knowing how to set up division problems. I didn't do very well, of course. I spent so much time doing my workarounds on the margins that I didn't have time to do well on the tests - in algebra or chemistry. I did much better when I retook them after I took the time to learn the basics first.

    Anyway, once you've used the chapter pretests to identified any weak spots, then take however long it takes to master those areas... really master then not just kinda/sorta be able to do them. I had several 8th grade math books and liked Rod and Staff the best for this purpose. I thought it was particularily clearly organized without (much) extra clutter. Besides, it is cheap especially if you get an old one. Age won't matter for this. You can look for them on homeschool sale boards. Sometimes, it was enough to spend some time really thinking through the concepts and other times I needed more practice in than the book gave so I went to the public library and got a couple of books of practice problems on the specific areas I needed most (percentages for one). I solidified my weak spots of addition by playing cribbage (and making a point to practice using the addition not my work-around methods.)

    It took much less time to get through these than I expected because I was trying to understand them and to put them into long term memory rather than going through the motions of getting homework done and learning them just for the test.

    I recommend the above for anyone not totally confident in math. I think it is a life line for people like I was and cheap insurance for people who find they weren't missing anything.

    Then, assuming you've had algebra before, get an "algebra for dummies" type book (my public library has a half dozen different titles that I examined before taking home 3 or 4). Use it like the 8th grade book.


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