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F^*$!^g Test Freak-out

Discussion in 'Nontraditional Students' started by Rady Ruck, Sep 22, 2014.

  1. Rady Ruck

    Rady Ruck

    Apr 1, 2014
    I came out of a math exam earlier today that went terribly. For starters:
    • This was my first ever test at a 4-year, so I felt tremendous pressure to do well and "set the tone" with an A. Along with that, I had not had a math class in several years (many of you know the feeling!)
    • I was terrified and started shaking immediately, it was extremely hard to focus and recall information.
    • I looked through the exam and at the beginning, was confident that I knew how to do everything. Unfortunately, our time was fairly limited and I ended up guessing 4 of the heftier problems due to the professor having to leave. There were >5 of us left, so I was by no means the last one out.
    • The ones I guessed on were the ones that stumped me after I freaked out, and of course I know what to do now that there is no time crunch and I'm typing to you guys. It may have had quite a bit to do with mentally trying too hard to manage my time that backfired.
    • Toward the end, I found myself going back to problems and going, "Oh yeah! I forgot about..."
    • Math has always been my Achilles' heel. I see my child now having the same frustration that haunted me, and I want to be able to set a good example.
    I did the right things leading up to this exam. Got plenty of sleep, studied the material every day (book, notes, Khan, MyMathLab and HW), made a quick reference sheet of equations to study at random/down times, handled my caffeine intake, took deep breaths and tried calming/centering exercises during the exam, tried to ignore classmate chatter beforehand...

    I'm hoping that maybe it was just the first test jitters. Even if I completely bombed this one, if the other ones and the comprehensive are high-scoring I may be able to salvage this. For those of you who have been through or are going through this and improved, is there anything I can do to better this situation? Should I just wait it out and hope this was a fluke?
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  3. Polkadotfan

    Polkadotfan 2+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2014
    What math are you taking?

    I am waiting to see how I did on a pre-calc exam. It's been wayy to long since I took a math and I think I set myself up for the same situation so I am going through this also....but if I drop it I get a W and I have quite a few :(

    Are you taking anything else other than just math this semester?
  4. Rady Ruck

    Rady Ruck

    Apr 1, 2014
    mrsS, I'm in Trig and Physics (Algebra-based) this term. Thank goodness, because mentally I am counting them both as math classes. I am trying to stay calm because there is another test (first Physics one) in a couple of days, and it is really important to NOT have a repeat of yesterday. Should be getting scores for the Trig test tomorrow.

    My intention is to not drop either of these classes, but there's something going on in my noggin whenever numbers are involved. Whatever it is has to get turned off so I can concentrate and put all that study time to use. Hopefully this hard work pays off, and I can advance to Calc with confidence next term. How do you deal with dusting off the math skills? I spent oodles of time on Khan today, doing exercises.
  5. edgerock24

    edgerock24 5+ Year Member

    Jul 28, 2012
    I would honestly recommend that you drop Trig, regardless of how you did on your exam. It is not necessary at all for algebra-based Physics (all you need to remember is SOH CAH TOA). Use the extra time to spend on more important classes.

    Also, you stated that you plan on taking Calculus in the future. This course is useless as well for premeds. Very few medical schools have this listed as a required course. Even at these schools you can interview and be accepted without having the course taken. You'd just need to complete it before matriculation.
  6. Rady Ruck

    Rady Ruck

    Apr 1, 2014
    Hello edgerock24!

    Unfortunately, I have close ties with two states that require and/or strongly recommend Calc. Since it had been so long that I took any prior math, my school required that I either had to retake College Algebra, then do Trig, or just go forward with Trig. Our catalog also states the prereq is Algebra and Trig and/or Pre-Calc, so with a lack of background on the subject I couldn't really see a way to comfortably go straight to Pre-Calc. My aim is to skip it and eventually go straight to Calculus. Thanks for the advice though, I did consider whether there was any way to do it.

    Also, I already have a W and an F on my transcripts from schooling several years ago. The F was in math, but I was in no way focused or motivated and my prior experiences with the subject still kind of haunt me. It's doubly hard to watch my kiddo struggle so much, but we both have amazing resources that are put to use.
  7. Polkadotfan

    Polkadotfan 2+ Year Member

    Jul 9, 2014
    I have 3 pre-calc books that I study from. I need to be taught 3 different ways in math apparently. I still have no idea how I did and might have to drop the class if I get punished for the test being turned in late (I am an online student and over 1500 miles from the nearest school testing center and apparently they couldn't read what my school here sent :( ) on top of a bad grade.
    Do you have another test to before the W period ends? Can you go to the professor and ask for extra help or extra credit? My teacher so far has not been much help.
    If it's between a C,D,F and a W I will take a W, especially if the teacher is unresponsive and I have an opportunity to take the math elsewhere :)
  8. Morsetlis

    Morsetlis I wish I were a dentist 7+ Year Member

    Jan 22, 2010
    The "Garden" State
    It's either a behavioral issue or a personality issue.

    For me it's a personality issue and I freak out before, during, and after every single exam unless I know I aced it. As you go further on your education to become a physician, the tests get harder, your competition gets smarter, and the uncertainty level increases.

    As for Math, its main purpose is for you to be able to publish papers and parse data. Clinically, unless you go into radiology or something similar, the most math you'll do is multiplication and division.

    However, this may be an allegory for future difficulties in school. Imagine if the tests were Physiology Final or the USMLE Step 1. Can you afford to be so perturbed when the tests REALLY matter? Better to sort it out now ;)
  9. Shjanzey

    Shjanzey Rocket Scientist 5+ Year Member

    Jun 30, 2012
    Hey guys, let me give you the secret to Math. It is all about practice. Practice practice practice. Nobody is good at math at first. During my Engineering curriculum, the guys who were the best at Math spent a lot of time mastering it. After I finished my undergraduate curriculum, I came out with the belief that I was only mediocre at Math. That changed when I went back to re-take Physics to help study for MCAT. I didn't realize there were 2 different physics classes (Calc vs. Algebra). I ended up topping out the class. I say that not to brag, but to illustrate that the practice I gained doing a much harder and higher level of math gave me greater skills than I was aware of. Although the material seems dry and boring, if you spend the time to master and understand it, you will get the score you want on the test.
  10. Drogo

    Drogo hakuna matata 2+ Year Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Trig killed me for some reason and I ended up getting a B after bombing one exam. I was working way too much though and had been taking Gen Chen 2 and a Bio 2 course. Later on I went on to get an A- in calc 1 and 2 though. :)

    Go speak with your professor as soon as possible. Do you have access to a tutoring center? I found that I had to literally sit for countless hours hammering problem after problem, while asking many tutors 'Why or What about problems I got stuck on'.

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