Taking pre-calc in college w/ a weak algebra background?

NotASerialKiller

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Full story is kinda TL;DR. To put it short, was a horrible student in high school, not SDN standards of horrible, but actually horrible. Now I'm a very new freshman at a CC. Literally didn't even apply to school until today and my late track classes start later this month.

Somehow I managed to test into pre-calculus despite doing poorly in high school/being years out of a math class/not studying for placement testing at all... I know how important it is to do well in your classes (BCPM especially) and I'm worried that my weak background in algebra will impede my ability to do well in pre-calc/calc + chem and physics.

Would I be okay taking pre-calc while I concurrently self-study algebra or would I be better off taking algebra as a refresher this semester and pre-calc next semester?
Depends, if you're not confident then take the refresher. I got a 35 in high school math (many unimportant reasons) and then 5 years went by before I took calculus in university, and I ended up with a 95 in the course. There's nothing wrong with taking it slow and going with the refresher, but if you're willing to put in a ton of work to catch-up you can manage without. No one else can really tell you if you'll be okay, it's about knowing yourself and knowing why you struggled in the past. If you have any reason to believe that it might not be different this time around, go as slow as possible to not ruin your GPA.
 

gothicfoxes

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I remember pre-calc being more trigonometry based. You might want to include this in your self-study (but look it up first; it's been a while since I've done trig and calc).

I don't see anything wrong with self-study, especially if you've already successfully passed the placement test. I recommend Khan Academy.
 

gothicfoxes

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Guh, I don't remember trig beyond SOH CAH TOA either. Adding that to the list immediately. I've been using Khan along with some old textbooks actually! Hopefully that's enough.
soh cah toa just brought back high school trig memories haha.

And don't hesitate to reach out to your professor if you need help! Tell them that you're self-studying on the side. Your pro-activity will look good, and they might be able to recommend any other helpful resources. Best of luck this semester. x
 

Turkishking

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Full story is kinda TL;DR. To put it short, was a horrible student in high school, not SDN standards of horrible, but actually horrible. Now I'm a very new freshman at a CC. Literally didn't even apply to school until today and my late track classes start later this month.

Somehow I managed to test into pre-calculus despite doing poorly in high school/being years out of a math class/not studying for placement testing at all... I know how important it is to do well in your classes (BCPM especially) and I'm worried that my weak background in algebra will impede my ability to do well in pre-calc/calc + chem and physics.

Would I be okay taking pre-calc while I concurrently self-study algebra or would I be better off taking algebra as a refresher this semester and pre-calc next semester?
That's why you become a non-traditional student. Take stats instead of calc, however, calc wouldn't hurt. If you do well in it at least. Especially if you do poorly in it in a CC then I would get out of that asap. But I'm not sure how CC's work.
 

gonnif

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I would strongly suggest refresher algebra before precalc, whether self-study or formal course. Success in Calculus is being solid on algebra. Obviously, chem and physics have sufficient math to make it important
 

GiveMeThatMD

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Pre-Calculus was 99.998% Trigonometry. The last 10 minutes of class for the semester they were like "oh yeah, matrices". If you feel confident enough, go for it. The test did throw you into the class so you've probably got a decent background.
 

Fedekz

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Don't worry, I haven't taken math since algebra 2 in high school almost 10 years ago and am taking calc 1 this semester. Help. Help me. Please.
 

altblue

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You didn't do too hot in high school (neither did I), so you'll want to wean yourself into college then as carefully as you can. If you put the work in, you'll probably still end up adjusting your study habits; this is easier to do if you take classes you're more certain you can succeed in.

I was borderline on a math level, and am glad I took the lower level class. As was a friend. This might be the case for you too :) also, don't be afraid to remediate things like physics and chem too if you don't feel comfortable w the high school level.

While Cc is harder than high school, you can still learn to be an awesome student and do great, just take it slow. Good luck! :)