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Anyone teach themselves higher level math and test out?

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by kgard7777, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. kgard7777

    kgard7777 2+ Year Member

    Apr 27, 2008
    I am trying to think of a way to get to Calculus as quickly as possible .. I need Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, Trig, Pre Calculus and then finally Calculus. My question is, what if I taught myself all the classes that lead up to calculus and then test out on my placement test at the CC school I am attending.. Possible? Or no?
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  3. pharmpilot

    pharmpilot P1! And surviving! 5+ Year Member

    Dec 13, 2007
    There was a 19 year old in my upper level math courses (Abstract Algebra and Real Analysis) who had taught himself just by reading his high school math teacher's books. The university I attended was letting him work on a masters in math while he was working on his bachelors. Unfortunately he didn't do well in any class but math because he just wasn't interested.

    He actually understood everything better than those of us who were majoring in math, so YES, if you get along with math, IT IS CERTAINLY POSSIBLE.

    Good luck. :thumbup:
  4. tharper14

    tharper14 P1.5 2+ Year Member

    Jan 19, 2008
    I tested into college algebra, so I had to do college algebra, precalc, then calculus. It's possible to test into calculus but I'm sure it's really hard. I had no previous math experience so it was hard enough for me to test into college algebra. Thing is, I took all those classes online, so when you think of it, I really did learn it by myself, so it's doable. Give it a go, if you don't get in then take the classes. Doesn't hurt to try.
  5. Odublar

    Odublar 2+ Year Member

    Feb 21, 2008
    Let's just say I'm beyond awful in math. I was away from school for 7 years, and tested into math 70. So I have to go through Math 70, Math 80, College Algebra, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and then Calculus.

    Although, I must tell you I am learning stuff in Math 70 that I never knew in High School. I'm putting together concepts and realizing why things go where they go and all that stuff. It probably sounds geeky, but Math has become fun. It's probably the teacher though.

    Anyways, the point is I have to wait on General Chem until I get into Mat 161, and until then I am taking CHM 131, Intro to Chemistry so I can build a strong foundation in it. I was trying to do the pre-reqs in two years, but I have time. I'm gonna get myself in a position for success and spend all the time in the world with family.

    To answer the original question though, I tried teaching myself it but I would think I would not catch on to things entirely and that would hurt me in the long run. It's not a race, just remember that. I hope you succeed in it, if you try. Good Luck!
  6. medicalCPA

    medicalCPA PhD to be Moderator Emeritus 7+ Year Member

    Mar 26, 2007
    In lab
    I didn't teach myself math. In my opinion, math requires constant practice if you are to be proficient at it. I did, however teach myself two classes and I tested out of them. To be frank, taking a placement test may be fine, but remember that tests usually require a low level of competence. My school requires a 50th percentile score on CLEP tests, for example. I don't think the knowledge that could get you a 50 on a CLEP test would be enough to get you through the PCAT, especially since you would naturally forget a lot of what you learned previously. JMO.
  7. UTPharm

    UTPharm 2+ Year Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    It is possible. I had to take a math placement test, and I tested into calc I. I took Alg I, geometry, and Alg II in high school, and no math my senior year. I tested out of college algebra and pre-calc, and was put in calc I.

    Honestly, I wouldnt recommend doing that. I got a B in calc and had to retake it because the avg GPA to get into pharm school was a 3.84 at my school. seriously, maybe test out of some lower classes but i would def want to take precalc if i could go back in time.
  8. The highest level of math I took in high school was Alg II/Trig. I took a placement test before entering college and tested into Calculus I. My only preparation was the work I put into my math courses while in high school. So, it's possible. I got a B+ my first quarter of calculus (and I think its because of those darn online homework assignments), then an A during the second quarter, and an A- in multivariable calculus.
  9. PharmApp2008

    PharmApp2008 2+ Year Member

    Mar 9, 2008
    I just registered myself for calc I knowing that I didn't have the trig prereq. I had to cram using Schaums outlines for the first few weeks to get myself where I needed to be. Not sure if it was worth it but I got a B in the class (but had to work really hard for it).
  10. cystapharm

    cystapharm 5+ Year Member

    Nov 28, 2006
    you should take all math courses leading up to Calculus because you will be missing a lot of important concepts that you need to build a strong foundation for Calculus and this class is super hard...there are so many bright students in calculus from all areas of studies - math, bio, physics, engineering, etc since its a prereq for many. hence you would want to be up to par and not flunk out the first week.
  11. Sparda29

    Sparda29 En Taro Adun Pharmacist Classifieds Approved 7+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    New York, New York
    I tested into Basic Math, but I had already taken Pre-Calc in high school for college credit, that allowed me to jump right into Calculus.
  12. eric4321

    eric4321 7+ Year Member

    Aug 26, 2007

    I used that to test out of geometry, algebra and intermediate algebra (at home, in 4 days, many years after bombing out of those classes at OSU)

    Just had to do Trig (prereq for physics) and Calc after that.
  13. stateXsweetie

    stateXsweetie 2+ Year Member

    Jun 19, 2008
    Can you do that? I just took A.P. Calc in high school, then at CC I just took the class over again, skipping over all the pre requisites.
  14. BacardiGirl

    BacardiGirl Go Gophers! 2+ Year Member

    Dec 26, 2007
    Boy, I wish I were math-smart enough to teach myself those courses...unfortunately, math (of any kind) is my worst subject!!!
  15. eric4321

    eric4321 7+ Year Member

    Aug 26, 2007
    I got the A's i needed in both trig and applied calc but it was not easy - i worked out every single assigned homework problem and saw the Calc teacher a few times. This is the last year UF takes applied calc.

    Also saw the (algebra-based, non-Eng) Physics 1/2 teacher several times. She was shocked to hear that i tested myself out of college algebra. Got A's in Phys1/2 as well. Again, worked out every single homework problem plus most of the "example" problems from the chapters.

    If you like to watch TV or go out to nightclubs, this is not the plan for you.
  16. compassion813


    Jun 24, 2008
    eric4321 was it really difficult to pass those math courses with an A? I'm in pre-pharm and hoping to get into UF in St Pete. But it seems like there's so much competition to get in. I read that that UF requires minimum of 2.5 GPA but the applicants are above 3.3. Was it a lot of hard work and studying?
  17. eric4321

    eric4321 7+ Year Member

    Aug 26, 2007

    It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to do what i did. But it's not a big mystery or a situation where you never know if you're ready for the tests.

    At some point, hopefully in your 1st semester of tough science/math, you will discover the level of effort that lets you LEARN enough to make A's on TESTS, which should become the focal points of your life. You start to schedule [mostly, postpone/cancel] everything else in your life that doesn't help you get A's on all those tests. Time management is the whole thing. You are shooting for 3.5 science.

    For sure the level of effort is way, WAY higher than almost all your classmates. That's why 80-90% of the test questions will seem easy to you, the rest you can predict pretty well before your get your grade back. Okay I guessed on 3 questions, i think i will miss 2 of those, my grade is either ___ or ___ (say, 91 or 94...) and again, most of your classmates will be shocked to hear you even talk like that, much less be right.

    A big reason why i tested out of college algebra [and actually knew less than 50% of it] is that these are 13th-grade classes. Where you're surrounded by 18/19-yr-old kids whose mommys are making them "take some college classes". Look in a fall class schedule. It funnels down, from 22 college Alg sections to 12 Int Alg sections to 4 Trig classes to 2 Calc classes.

    That's the drop-off in a state school. Similar deal for Intro to Chem, Chem1, Chem2, Org1, Org2. If you can skip Intro (chm1025) and go straight into chm1045, like i did, that will help get you out of the sea of slackers. Those kids are very cool for 2 to 4 years, and then will make literally millions less $$ than you over the rest of their lifetime.

    My $.02
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2008
  18. mrblah

    mrblah 2+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2008
    Off topic:
    I hate placement tests. I took calculus back in college 10 years ago, and when I went back to school, they made me take the placement test, and it placed me in ELEMENTARY ALGEBRA or some equivalent. Thats like equivalent to like junior high math or for people riding the short yellow bus. Anyway, I showed them my old transcript from 10 years ago, placed me into calculus. I end up choosing pre-calc because I seriously don't remember any of the trig functions or or anything. Anyhow, I end up with A's in pre-calc and the subsequent calc class. Moral of the story: I HATE PLACEMENT TESTS.

    On topic:
    You want to place into calculus, that is a tall order. Algebra is cake, simple math. Trig is pretty much covered in pre-calc. A good tutor and a good pre-calc prep book might be able to get you placed into calc. The thing is i wouldn't want to. There are a few topics (such as trig functions) that are introduced in pre-calc that will make calc1 and calc2 alot easier if u learned it in pre-calc. I would just fit in the extra class into your school schedule, and make your life a little bit easier in the long run.

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