Help/advice about Algebra


Nov 7, '05Hi...
You may not like my answer... but
If you call the math dept. (I'm assuming this is on a college campus?) and ask for a list of private tutors... who you are willing to PAY for individual sessions, you may have more luck.
I was enrolled in a program and it was a requirement that I take and pass an undergraduate calculus class before I was allowed to take my qualifying exams.
I signed up for classes twice, two semesters apart and could NOT keep up. (Plus, what is it that every person teaching undergraduate math these days has an impenetrable accent???) Had to drop both times. I was desparate.
Called up the extension services at my university (the courses by mail or distant ed folks) signed up for a calculus course. This allowed me to progress at my speed. Then I called up the math dept. and asked for their list of tutors. I had a lot of them hang up on me when I explained I was 43 and hadn't had a math course since.... oh, about the time JFK was assassinated...
Finally a guy took me on and I was finished with the course in less than ten weeks and got a B.
It wasn't cheap. But my future was at stake and the degree was a dream I had had for a long time.
So... what if you had to pay $50.00 per hour? (and you might get off for less.) That would be maybe 5 to 6 hundred bucks. Average that over the rest of your life and the salary and job satisfaction you'll get as a nurse.
Give it some thought. 
Nov 10, '05First thing is first. Get it out of your head that you can't do it! Next, get a tutor! Don't be afraid to tell the tutor "I don't get it". That's what they are around for. To help you "GET IT".
Alsowhen I took algerbra, I purchased a book from Sam's Wholesale Club called ALGERBRA FOR DUMMIES. It helped to break the problems down some. Good Luck! You CAN do it! 
Nov 11, '05Algebra for Dummies was helpful for me. Also Solving Word Problems in Algebra, and How to Solve Algebra Word Problems. I thought the Dummies book had real good explanations on how to work the word problems. For Algebra II I have been using a Schaum Outlines guide for Intermediate Algebra and I am finding it helps because it restates what is in my textbook a little bit differently. There is a Schaum Outline for beginning algebra. My school has a P.A.L. (Peer Assisted Learning) program for classes like Algebra. They are a discussion session held directly after a math class meets where the instructor stays over to help explain the concepts again to those who need the extra help. We have to sign up for it like a regular class, but there is no tuition or fee for it. Our math department also has a math clinic manned by math students that is open during the day where you can walk in and get on the spot tutoring for nothing. Are you sure your school doesn't have something like this? Math is a difficult subject for a lot of students and I believe this is why the school has these aides. They also do the same in the English department.
Our Intermediate Algebra textbook is by K. Elayn MartinGay and came with a CD Lecture Series the author did. This professor has written numerous algebra texts and Beginning Algebra is one of them. I looked to see if there was a CD Lecture Series for it on Barnes and Noble's site and found it (cost about $35), but it looked like it went with an older version of the text. How much can algebra change in a couple of years? PrenticeHall is the publisher, so if this sounds interesting to you, you might want to get in touch with them directly and ask if there is a current edition of the beginning algebra CD lectures. This author does a very good step by step job of explaining concepts. Each section of her textbook has a corresponding lecture on the CD's. You can stop them, replay them, I use them all the time. The more you are exposed to this stuff the more that sinks in to your brain. She also has answer guides that go with her textbooks that shows you how all the odd number problems in the textbook are set up and worked out step by step, not just a list of the answers. This answer guide is as thick as the textbook. This answer guide, CD lecture series, and another CD called Math XL Tutorials on CD by the same author all came as part of the textbook package at our bookstore. If you can find these for Beginning Algebra I'm sure you'll find them very helpful.
Whatever text your school uses, you should check the publisher to see if there are any supplemental CDs, workbooks or answer books that go with it that you can purchase. You might want to invest in another Beginning Algebra textbook by a different author (such as MartinGay, if you're not using her textbook already) just for reference. Sometimes one author can explain a concept much clearer than another author. 
Nov 11, '05I found that many, if not all, algebra concepts have been broken down and explained in easy to understand detail and example by someone in the world who has posted it on the internet. Google any topic, and some high school, or middle school teacher has explained it somewhere. Try it!

Nov 11, '05You have gotten wonderful advices. Good luck to you.
Also check out the math help links Sticky on the prenursing forum. 
Nov 12, '05Just wanted to stay good luck! I've had problems w/ understanding math my whole life. Algebra was a nightmare for me. Just keep in mind, a good teacher will be able to explain a math concept several different ways until you understand it. For example, I'm a visual person and couldn't understand the concept of balancing an equation. Didn't get what I was balancing or why...
My mom's neighbor, who's a HS physics teacher tried to explain it several ways, then grabbed a balance scale and put a bunch of weights on each side. Then he started taking a few off at a time and asking what I had to do to make it even again. I realized that if you subtracted 2 from 1 side, I had to do it on the other, same w/ dividing or multiplying...
Basically what I'm trying to say is that you need to find a good tutor (or book) that can explain the concepts in a way you understand. Every body's mind is different, and that's a very good thing once you get into the workplace! 
Nov 12, '05Also, try this web site: www.purplemath.com and click on Lessons: "How do you really do this stuff?"
There's a lot of information there to help you.