Beginning Algebra Tutorial 1
Beginning Algebra
Tutorial 1: How to Succeed in a Math Class
Learning Objectives
After completing this tutorial, you should be able to:
- Formulate a plan on how to approach your math
class.
Disclaimer:
WTAMU and Kim Seward are not
responsible
for how a student does on any test or any class for any reason
including
not being able to access the website due to any technology problems. We
cannot guarantee that you will pass your math class after you go
through
this website. However, it will definitely help you to better
understand
the topics covered.
Introduction
This tutorial will give you some helpful suggestions on
how you can
be successful in your math class. Hopefully this tutorial can
convert
some of you who are math atheists, or at least try to help you get rid
of some of your math phobia nightmares. Those of you who
are
lucky enough not to have a math phobia can also benefit from this
tutorial.
Now it's time to check out the "Tips on How to Succeed in a Math
Class"
listed below.
Tutorial
Tips on How to Succeed in a Math
Class
Yes, You Can Learn Math!!!
Note that these tips were written by Kim Seward and
revised by A.P.
'Sissy' Campbell, tutor coordinator and counselor for Student Support
Services
at WTAMU, and Kim Seward.
Get a “can do” attitude:
If you can do it in sports, music, dance, etc.,
you can do it in math!
Try not to let fear or negative experiences turn you off to math.
Practice a little math every day:
It helps you build up your confidence and move
your brain away from
the panic button at test time.
Take advantage of your math class:
If you are a college or high school student,
realize that most colleges
and universities require at least college algebra for any bachelor's
degree.
Some classes, like chemistry, nursing, statistics, etc. will require
some
algebra skills to succeed in them. If you are getting a
bachelor's
degree, then chances are you are going for a professional job. Most
professional
jobs require at least some math. Granted, some more than others, but
nonetheless
math (problem solving, numbers, etc...) is everywhere. So
make sure that you embrace your math experience and make the most of it.
Get help outside the classroom:
- Use the WTAMU Virtual Math Lab (http://www.wtamu.edu/mathlab)
as a reference as you go through your class.
Anytime you need to see some more examples, want to go through some
practice
problems or want to take a practice test on an algebra topic,
it is just a click away.
- See if your school has any tutors in math.
WTAMU provides the following FREE tutoring
services for WT students:
- Educational
Services Tutoring
- EST offers free one-on-one tutoring to
all WT students in a variety of subjects including math
- Located on campus: Student Success Center, 1st floor of Classroom Center
- SMARTHINKING
- SMARTHINKING is an online tutoring
service that WT has contracted with
to provide free live one-on-one and offline web-based tutoring in a
variety of subjects including basic math, algebra, trigonometry,
geometry, calculus I&II and stats for WT students.
- Located online: WT students can
access this service by logging into and
clicking on the SMARTHINKING link found on your WTClass homepage.
- Online whiteboards equipped with math
symbols and graphs are used to
communicate between the math e-structors and students. When
posting a math question to SMARTHINKING, make sure that you type in the
directions, the problem, how far you have gotten on the problem and
your specific questions about it.
- See if your school has a learning lab for
math. Here at
WTAMU, we have a Math Lab located in Classroom Center 411. It is a place
where
WT
students can work on math homework and, as problems arise, get
help.
The workers will be unable to sit with you one on one for long periods
of time like a tutor, however they can help you work on specific
questions.
Remember that they are not there to do your homework, but to answer
specific
questions that you have. There are also computer programs, internet
connections,
and videos in there to help you.
Attend class full time:
Math is a sequential subject. That means
that what you are learning
today builds on what you learned yesterday. Even problems based
on
a new math concept will need some old skills to work them.
(Think:
Can you work problems with fractions if you don’t know the
multiplication
tables?)
Keep up with the homework:
It sounds simple but your time is limited, you
have a job to go to,
etc.. Think of it this way: No homework, no learning.
Homework
helps you practice the applications of math concepts. It’s like
learning
how to drive: the longer you practice, the better your driving skills
become
and the more confidence you will have on the road. If you only
read
the driver’s manual, you’ll never learn to drive with confidence and
skill.
We suggest you try some of the unassigned problems, too, for extra
practice.
Try to understand the math
problems:
When you work homework problems, ask yourself
what you are looking
for and how you are going to get there. Don’t just follow the
example.
Work the problem step-by-step until you know why you are doing what you
are and have arrived at the solution. If you follow the what,
how,
and whys, you’ll know what to do when you see a similar problem later.
Use index cards to study tests:
Here’s how you do that: When studying for a test,
make sure you can
understand the problems on each math concept as well as work
them.
Then make the index cards with problems on them. Mix the index
cards
(yes, shuffle the cards to mix them up) and set the timer. Start
working the problems in each card as it is dealt to you. Oh,
yeah,
hide your textbook! This will simulate a math test taking
experience.
Ask questions in class:
Don’t be ashamed to ask questions. The
instructor WILL NOT make
fun of you. In fact, at least one other person may have the same
question.
Ask questions outside of class:
OK, so like most people, you don’t want to ask
questions in class,
OR you think of a question too late. Then go to the instructor’s
office and ask away.
Check homework assignments:
Make sure that when you get your graded homework
back you look over
what you got right as well as what you missed.
Pay attention in class:
Math snowballs. If you don’t stay alert to
the instructor’s presentation,
you may miss important steps to learning concepts. Remember,
today’s
information sets the foundation for tomorrow’s work.
Don’t talk in class:
If you have questions, please ask the
instructor. The information
you get from classmates may be mathematically wrong! And if it
isn’t
related to math info for this class, save it for outside the
classroom.
Read the math textbook and study
guide:
Yes, there’s a reason why we ask you to spend all
that money on them.
If you look carefully, you will see that your book contains pages with
great examples, explanations and definitions of terms. Take
advantage
of them.
Practice Problems
In all of the other tutorials at this Beginning Algebra
website, we will
have practice problems with links to the answers for you to go
through.
Since this tutorial did not have any math concepts there will be no
practice
problems for this tutorial only.
We do suggest that you go back to the top and reread the
tips on how
to succeed in a math class and think about which one(s) will help you
the
most to be successful in your math class.
Need Extra Help on these Topics?
In most of the other tutorials at this Beginning Algebra
website, we
will have links to other sources that help with the topics on its
respective webpage.
Since this tutorial did not have any math concepts there will be no
links.
Last revised on July 22, 2011 by Kim Seward.
All contents copyright (C) 2001 - 2011, WTAMU and Kim Seward. All rights reserved.