Major Algebra Help


This post maybe a little long, but I need some MAJOR help and don't know what to do and I have to figure it out now so I could use some help. Maybe you guys could show me something that I have not already thought of!

A little background:

I have always been terrible in math and when I say terrible, I mean TERRIBLE!! I know some people say they do not do well either, however, they seem to still come out with an A or B and I am lucky if I get a D. Anyway, when I was in high school almost 15 years ago, I took algebra my junior year. I had tutors, but still received a D-. When I was a senior most people went on to Algebra 2 and I took a very basic math class. I already had enough credits to graduate so I just needed some type of math class. I am assuming most high schools were like mine and in order to graduate you needed to take 4 Proficiency Test which was math, reading, writing and I can't remember the last one. You got to take these test twice a year begining in 9th grade and once you passed you were done. I passed all, but the math part. By the time my senior year came I attempted the math part again which was my 7th time taking it and when I found out that I failed again I was a mess because I knew I would not graduate and I only had one last chance to take it. At that point my counselor pulled my aside and gave me some type of math aptitude test. When the results came back I was told that I had some type of math dysfunction. I can't remember exactly what said being that it's been 15 years ago.

So now that you have read my background, here's my problem! I am not doing well in algebra and I have no clue what to do or where to go. Most schools are set up to take one semester of algebra as a prereq and your done, however, a year ago my college changed the way they did their algebra program. Instead of doing one semester of algebra, they have broken it down into SEVEN week sessions. They offer FIVE algebra courses (core I, core II, core III, core IV, and core V) and they are each seven weeks long. Depending on what your majoring in, depends on how many of those 5 classes you will need. When I signed up for my prereqs last May 09, I was told that I need 4 math classes, but after that they changed it and said that nursing students just needs 3 math classes, but we have to take Sociology which I am fine with that!

Core I was VERY basic and I received a "B" for the seven weeks. Core II literally went into algebra overnight and I struggled big time and I even had a tutor. I ended up barely getting a "C" and that is ONLY because she graded our homework and my tutor helped me with homework. If it had not of been for my homework, I would have failed. I am now in my final math class which is core III and I am failing. This instructor gives us 6 quizzes (and he will drop the two lowest grades) and two exams. Being that this is only a seven week class, I have until April 17 to withdrawal. So is having a W on your transcript better than getting an F? Their is only 5 weeks left in this class and I know that I will not be passing it, plus we need a C to pass and I know that even getting a D will be a struggle let alone a C. I don't know what to do because I am just not getting it. In high school my counselor told me not to go into nursing because of my struggles in math and being a nurse is the ONLY thing that I have EVER wanted to be. I have never ever even had a second backup choice because I have felt so strongly about Nursing. Is nursing school going to be a struggle for me because I just can't get the math part?? I know my high school counselor told me not to go into nursing school but what he also failed to tell me is that I NEED algebra for any career I decide to go into and I didn't realize that when I was in high school.

So does anyone have any advise for me? So far I have only had 4 math classes because this past week I have been on spring break. Honestly, I pumped myself up and told myself that I was going to find a tutor and I was going to go back to school and have it figured out and I don't. :crying2: I went and found a tutor on craigslist, I was nervous, but I ran out of options. He was nice but he has to take some time and review factoring so that will not work out. Next, I asked a mom at my daughters preschool if she new anyone that could help and she said she could do it. Being that she is a Pharmacists, she had to go beyond algebra and she said she made good grades back then. I went over yesterday and she started helping me with factoring, but after going though my math book she could not believe at how in depth this book went and she said she would really have to study it and then she still didn't know if she could do it. She was up front with me and told me it was hard and she was very surprised that I needed this for nursing and she was even more surprised when she found out that originally we needed 4 math classes. So could anyone tell me what I do from here? I do plan on calling my advisor on Monday as well.

I know the feeling, I have been struggling with math too, really don't enjoy it. What you can do, is go to a testing center(a private testing place, not a state run testing center) where they can test you on your math proficiency, they will come up with a diagnosis of what is going on. You then need to go to your school with this diagnosis and they will have to come up with a way to help you out. this is the law. I would also go to your counselor and discuss this with him/her and come up with a plan of action. You can also ask you math prof about tutoring, most schools have a tutor area, where your peers can help. They have done a really good job getting me to understand what is going on, I have asked the same question 4 different times and they went over it very paitently til i got it....Your prof can also help you find a tutor....Good luck! There is a bit of math in nursing school, but if you can figure out the formula, you are good to go!


142 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, ICU, home&pub health, pvt duty. Has 10 years experience.

i have been in your shoes. i was a math failure and it continued until i was an adult. i knew if i wanted to be a nurse i had to get over my math anxiety and sense of failure. here is how i did it.

1. i took one chapter at a time. read it, underlined important facts, and did all the practice questions. i made sure to show all my work. that way, if you made an error, you can find where your mistate was and rectify it. if you missed a question on the chapter review questions, go back to the chapter and find where the error was. was it math, not checking your work, writing down the wrong numbers, not checking your work/answers, or did you not understand the concept that the question was testing you on.

2. work on algebra every day. go over and over the chapter and/or previous chapters. you should know the work by heart and that goes for the rules of algebra. after all, you had to learn the rules of the road before you drove. you cannot get through algebra without knowing its rules. however, the chapters will not deluge you with info; each chapter should will walk you through each rule and concept and then move on to a question or two to test you understanding.

3. when studying algebra (or any subject for that matter), do not sit longer than 45 mins before taking a break. give your mind a rest; do some exercise; go for a walk...but make sure you come back and continue. don't stop before you feel comfortable with that chapter and can answer the questions without errors.

4. learn to check your work...duh. sounds easy. you have no idea how many errors are made in rushing through the reading of the question (goes for nursing school questios, too); writing your question down and work it through on your paper this will allow you to see if you wrote it down wrong, an error in math, and not checking your answers. this is critical for every math problem you do in life. trust me, this has kept me out of trouble every time.

5. i took full advantage of the math lab at my com college. i plopped myself down and did my homework in the lab. this allowed me to ask questions of the things i did not understand or could not determine where my error was.

6. take notes. if the professor discusses a specific topic and shows how to solve it...take notes because you can be sure the night's homework will have that information included in the practice test.

7. in class, if you do not understand, ask questions.

8. get a great math book. there is a few good ones out there. check out danica mckellar's books. [color=#2200cc]danica mckellar - wikipedia, the free encyclopedia among some of the math books she authored, she wrote, math doesn't suck. check the books out. you may like them--sometimes learning something is finding the right teacher or book.

9. have a positive attitude when you go in for your math exams. and, if the test is scheduled for an hour, pace ourself. if you do not know an answer or have problems...skip it and come back when you answered the others. make sure you go back and work on the problems you skipped. check all your work. if there is still time left, don't be in a rush to hand in your test. i take all the time allotted to me for any test. that way i can check every question at least once. i also check my scantron to make sure it is representative of the answer i should have checked. i go backwards from the last question and check each mark on the scantron. have caught some errors there. only when i have run out of time or i feel absolutely certain that i have crossed every t and dotted all my i's do i then hand in my test.

10. relax after that; even god took one day off after creation.

let us know if this is helpful. it worked for me every time. i went from a c student to graduating with honors in all my degrees. :twocents:

best to you and everyone

when you go into the exam, if you have followed my suggestions you will be prepared. after all, the professor will test you on what you have learned. there are only so many ways to ask a question. the answers are there; you have to find them. if you know the rules of algebra, have studied the book and underlined the rules, practiced each and every end of the chapter tests at least twice, made notes of the areas you are week in and re study those questions, have asked questions in class, showed all your work so you can see the error if you made one, and checked all your work, then you will be prepared.

with prepareation comes confidence. nothing like walking into a math exam and knowing what you are doing...after all, you are prepared. if you are not prepared, you will face anxiety, takes up valuable test time, and anxiety causes errors.

this is how i passed math after 30 years of feeling like a math failure. now, i love math. after all, it is just another puzzle and i have the confidence and information to solve the problem.

if this works for you, let me and everyone else know.


142 Posts

Specializes in Med Surg, ICU, home&pub health, pvt duty. Has 10 years experience.

OOps, looka like I did not proof read my posting. Sorry...things like that causes errors in math...and I make errors too :rolleyes:


61 Posts

LA student nurse is right on the money, but I do have another suggestion: youtube.

It is surprising but youtube has some great videos. After my intermediate algebra lecture I would try some homework problems and if I didn't have the concept down I'd take my notes, sit in front of my computer and watch videos until I found someone who could explain things in terms that I could better understand.

I'm not sure of the exact material you are taking but i really liked "khanacademy" 's videos.

Good luck!


355 Posts

Thank you for all of your suggestions and LA_StudentNurse you really had some great suggestions, however, I think this is where my math disability also known as Dyscalculia comes into play. My sister told me to go over each chapter and keep working on practice problems, but I can't because I do not even know where to start. I have had so many tutors and they could show me 100 example problems until they are blue in the face and I still could not do it on my own. As far as youtube goes, I think I have watched just about every youtube video. It's really hard for me to explain, but I just don't get it. I am sure these youtube instructors, my instructors and my tutors are great teachers, but sadly I just don't get it.