I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

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#1 WushuMonster  Icon User is offline

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I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 15 March 2011 - 12:17 PM

I can regularly get 100% on my homework, and score between 80%-100% on quizes, but timed exams just kill me. I study and study, but I just have too much trouble doing 5-6 pages of calculus in under 48 minutes without mistakes. It's just too much to remember especially when they start throwing in ALL of the trigonometric functions and expect me to have every trigonometric identity memorized.

This is my 2nd time through and right now I'm at about a 59% for the quarter with just the final exam to go. Final grades are given in a tiered basis, where they've already decided ahead of time approximately what percentages of the class of around 1200 people will receive each grade and then stick you into those grade categories based on how you compare with the rest of the class ( something like 20% get A's, 20% get B's, 20% get C's, etc. ). Class average on the previous exam was a 60% so I figure I'm still in the hunt to receive a C at least, lol. Still... this whole setup feels like a lousy way to evaluate a student's ability in math. And these math courses have completely destroyed my GPA (no freshman forgiveness for me since I'm a sophomore transfer student).

Being 31, I get really tired of these math classes holding me back. All my required programming classes after the intro course (which I took a couple quarters ago) have calculus as a pre-requisite :-(

This post has been edited by WushuMonster: 15 March 2011 - 12:18 PM


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#2 WushuMonster  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 15 March 2011 - 12:28 PM

Councilor thinks I may have undiagnosed adult ADHD, so I will have some preliminary tests done soon for free. If those point in that direction I'll get formally tested and possibly get some medication and help through disability services (like having more time on exams). Can't say I like the idea of taking medication or being labeled "mentally disabled", but if it comes to that I guess I'll do what I have to do.
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#3 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:21 PM

ADHD seems like a bit of a copout for just not testing well if you are doing well in every other respect. If you really had ADHD you would be having trouble in a lot more ways than just Calculus exams.

Calculus is hard, it's supposed to be hard. If you can't pump out 5-6 pages in 48 minutes you need to practice the types of problems you will have until you can.
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#4 Nikitin  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 15 March 2011 - 01:46 PM

^^ What he said

Edit: Is there a way to disable smileys?

This post has been edited by Nikitin: 15 March 2011 - 01:47 PM

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#5 NeoTifa  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 15 March 2011 - 02:23 PM

Put 2 underscores like I do. ^__^

It's okay, I think I have it too, and it affects way more than math scores. Math is supposed to be hard, but it's even harder when your mind and eyes stray away from the paper, thoughts jumping back and forth, the constant fuzzy back noise roaring in my ears (sometimes it almost sounds like there's like 3 tv's going on at once even though there aren't any, and when I focus hard on silence, they all shut off. The silence is weird). I totally feel you on this, but I know several ADHD people who have engineering degrees, and that shit takes patience I don't have. They're my inspiration. I hope people like that can be yours too.

Also, Nikitin
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This post has been edited by NeoTifa: 15 March 2011 - 02:26 PM

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#6 WushuMonster  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:11 PM

View PostSpeedisaVirus, on 15 March 2011 - 02:21 PM, said:

ADHD seems like a bit of a copout for just not testing well if you are doing well in every other respect. If you really had ADHD you would be having trouble in a lot more ways than just Calculus exams.

Calculus is hard, it's supposed to be hard. If you can't pump out 5-6 pages in 48 minutes you need to practice the types of problems you will have until you can.


Actually, I do have lots of troubles other than calculus exams. The recommendation wasn't based off of doing poorly on calculus exams, but based on a number of symptoms observed across multiple classes and my personal life over a long period of time. I was just throwing that out there as it could be the main issue for me to tackle. In homework you have reference materials and a 1 to 2 week time limit, and in quizes there are enough of them and they're simple enough that I can average out pretty good. I end up having pretty much 0 social life and spend the majority of my time attempting to study, but it's manageable with hard work. And the ADHD thing was not my idea, which I thought was pretty obvious by what I wrote, so I don't appreciate you referring to it as a "cop out".
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#7 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:25 PM

Quote

It's just too much to remember especially when they start throwing in ALL of the trigonometric functions and expect me to have every trigonometric identity memorized.

I hear you on this. I'm don't like raw memorization of trig identities. I've often found in my integrals though, that trig substitution makes them so much easier than repeated uses of integration by parts. I have a tendency of making the problem more difficult than it actually is.

Also, I don't think it was clear that these issues were impacting multiple aspects of your life until your most recent post. I do have to agree with SpeedisaVirus though; if you're having trouble, keep practicing test-level problems. You might also want to talk to your instructor or a TA for the class to see if they can help you. :)
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#8 WushuMonster  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:38 PM

View PostNeoTifa, on 15 March 2011 - 03:23 PM, said:

Put 2 underscores like I do. ^__^

It's okay, I think I have it too, and it affects way more than math scores. Math is supposed to be hard, but it's even harder when your mind and eyes stray away from the paper, thoughts jumping back and forth, the constant fuzzy back noise roaring in my ears (sometimes it almost sounds like there's like 3 tv's going on at once even though there aren't any, and when I focus hard on silence, they all shut off. The silence is weird). I totally feel you on this, but I know several ADHD people who have engineering degrees, and that shit takes patience I don't have. They're my inspiration. I hope people like that can be yours too.

Also, Nikitin
Attachment diable.jpg


Thanks, I'm hoping it's something a bit easier to deal with and I won't have to consider medication, but I've been running out of alternatives lately, and I seem to have many of the symptoms. Been trying everything over the years without much consistant success. I have those exact same issues with the excessive mind noise, lol. I've greatly improved my scores on my homework, projects, and other things that aren't strictly scheduled down to the hour by letting distractions carry me to other projects I need to do. I might start with math, bounce to Chinese after it gets to hard to focus on that, then back to math, and so on. It's the main reason I'm at least close to passing now. Previously it was just hopeless. The frustrating thing is, I don't find math that difficult except for when I have to do it at a specific time within a short time limit :-P Luckily I tend to do a bit better on finals than mid-terms since the time limit is twice as long. Even though it's a lot more material it gives me more of a chance to get my focus back if I lose it ;-)
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#9 NeoTifa  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 15 March 2011 - 03:44 PM

It's okay. It took me 2 tries to pass calculus. ;)
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#10 WushuMonster  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 15 March 2011 - 04:00 PM

View Postmacosxnerd101, on 15 March 2011 - 04:25 PM, said:

Quote

It's just too much to remember especially when they start throwing in ALL of the trigonometric functions and expect me to have every trigonometric identity memorized.

I hear you on this. I'm don't like raw memorization of trig identities. I've often found in my integrals though, that trig substitution makes them so much easier than repeated uses of integration by parts. I have a tendency of making the problem more difficult than it actually is.

Also, I don't think it was clear that these issues were impacting multiple aspects of your life until your most recent post. I do have to agree with SpeedisaVirus though; if you're having trouble, keep practicing test-level problems. You might also want to talk to your instructor or a TA for the class to see if they can help you. :)


I didn't make it clear that these issues were impacting multiple aspects of my life because I wasn't asking for a diagnosis. I'm not coming to a programming forum for an evaluation on my mental health. Like I said, a professional in the field made the recommendation to me, so it could be something wrong with me rather than the method of evaluation. I guess I should have been think typing "out loud", as I know every forum for any subject has a fair share of members who like to think they're able to diagnose a person's mental state off a bare minimum of written information, lol. I know it's not the level of effort or lack of understanding on my part. I put in a LOT of time into this class, and I even helped a lot of other students with the most difficult problems out of the book and homework.

I just have to figure out some different ways of studying and recalling this stuff that works for me (and hopefully make medication unnecessary).
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#11 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 16 March 2011 - 06:21 AM

Again, calculus exams are hard. Lots of people can't finish the exams in one hour. They can't finish them because the mechanics of the problems and how to identify where to apply them is not ingrained. It requires practice doing exam type problems which are often different from something that you would do in your homework. These are not the types of questions that can be "sorta right." You have to know what is going on. If you can't look at a random problem in a chapter and work through it you don't know it well enough.

When I took calculus after six years of no school (or applying math professionally) I found it hard to stare and work through calculus homework beginning to end. I would regularly not have complete solutions, especially in higher levels. Sounds like the difference between you and the others is you are not practicing the problems enough and not seeking help from the TA's (or math tutoring center if you have one). These courses are inherently hard. Thats the way its supposed to be.
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#12 macosxnerd101  Icon User is online

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 16 March 2011 - 11:51 PM

If you're looking for practice problems, you might want to check out the AP Calculus questions. There are old multiple choice, as well as free response questions. You should be doing the multiple choice in about 2 minutes/question, and the FRQs in about 10-15 minutes.

If you're in Calc I, the AP Calculus AB questions might be appropriate. For Calc II, the BC Calc questions are probably closer to what you're covering.

I do agree with SpeedisaVirus though. Calculus exams are designed to test that you understand the material thoroughly, not just that you can crank out your integrals and derivatives, as homework often tests.

Beyond the trig identities, what are the differences in the types of questions from the quizzes to the tests?
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#13 baavgai  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 17 March 2011 - 04:24 AM

I kind of suck at math. I survived calc. Happily, I was a compsci minor, so that's as much as I needed to deal with.

Turns out, dyslexia isn't just for letters, it works for numbers too. Understanding can be different from implementing. I can stare at my work, see it is completely correct, and be wrong. Computers eliminate this problem; they cheerfully tell you when you're wrong.

The point is, everyone thinks differently. We all process information in different ways. The methods that allow us to excel in some areas can be completely useless or even detrimental in others. Strangely, there are many mathematicians that couldn't write a program to save themselves. The disciplines are related, but not the same.

If you have a major issue with learning something, you usually just need to bang your head against it long enough to figure out why. If not, then you just have to persevere. Good luck.
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#14 hookiethe1  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 17 March 2011 - 05:10 AM

Yep, math is all about practice practice practice, especially when you get to higher level calc type stuff. The joy of it is that every single question seems to have a slight twist over the last, so there's never a given process for solving every problem even though they're supposed to be the same concept. There's no way around that except to try to cover as many as possible and hope that the odds are on your side.
As for the trig identities, memorizing those is a bitch, but if you know the few most basic ones you can derive the others easily enough. As soon as you get into the exam just scribble down all the ones you can think of, then when you need a particular identity it can often be faster to derive it than to try to reach into the dark recesses of your memory.
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#15 SpeedisaVirus  Icon User is offline

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Re: I hate math class sooooo much (mini-rant)

Posted 17 March 2011 - 05:47 AM

Another point that needs to be made here I think is, what will you do when you get to higher levels of CS? There is a lot of theory. You will be expected to write multi page proofs in some cases to prove say, soundness of a compiler or whether some algorithm is correct. This is stuff that takes detail, focus, and time.

I think it's a big part of why a some schools (including one I attended) won't let you even declare CS as a major until you have passed calculus and other maths with a certain grade and overall GPA.

If you legitimately have ADHD go ahead. However, it is something that is EXCESSIVELY over diagnosed.
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