Can anyone recommend a good resource to refresh myself on College Algebra. It has been 12 yrs since I took it and got a C back then. I would like to refresh myself before starting Chem I this fall. I have considered taking a College Algebra class online throgh the CC here to have a thourough refresher, but am concerned about how it would look to repeat the class (but it is the only C I have on my transcript thus far, I hope to keep it that way!). Any suggestions? Thanks a bunch :0)
I would recommend taking the class–general chemistry and physics are two areas where you need SOLID math background to do well. Over and over again I saw students in these two classes struggle to even maintain passing grades because they didn’t have a firm foundation in their algebra and trigonometry.
You are wise to be thinking ahead on this and not waiting until you’re in your gen chem course. It will look far worse for you to get a C in your gen chem class, or worse, to have to repeat, than it will for you to retake a course you took 12 years ago. Plus, taking the refresher will likely boost your confidence as you head into your gen chem course. Again, there is TONS of math and manipulation of equations in gen chem.
I agree with LDR that there is a lot of manipulating numbers in Chem 1 and that a strong background in math in general is necessary for a successful semester, however, in my personal experience, the College Algebra and Trig really come into play during Chem 2 (notably quadratic equations for equilibrium problems and logarithms for pH).
Brushing-up will certainly help with any physical science course, but I don’t think there are specific algebra topics really to address (for Chem 1). A strong grasp of the metric system helps a lot! Most problems in Chem 1 really boil down to multiplication and division. They can be tricky, the hardest part is organizing the given information in the problem and understanding what they are asking for. One thing I would strongly suggest is introducing yourself to/reviewing significant figures. You lose a lot of points on “sig figs” in the first couple of exams if you don’t master them.
Don’t take this as a deterrent, you should definitely be studying the Algebra/Trig, especially if you plan on taking Calculus. It will help in Physics as well.
Just my two cents.
In high school i took algebra in 10th grade (which i barely scraped by with a C). Took no other math courses.
6 years later i took some classes at a college. Took statistics, which was taught by an Indian professor that i could barely understand. I made D’s on everything but because of the ‘curve’ I made a B in the class.
When i transferred to go to college full time they took that statistics class as Algebra. 10 years after that 10th grade algebra course. I sat In General Chemistry 1 and made an A. I always said i dont know why they call chemistry a science class it should be a math class.
Maybe i just had an excellent professor, or maybe i just paid attention in lecture, but i had no problems without math.
Now that i am attempting to go to medical school. I have enrolled in a precalculus algebra class. Because i think i would suffer in calculus and physics without it.
And 3 years ago i took the FBI special agent test and i went and got 6,7,8th grade algebra workbooks. I am convinced that help me pass.
I tell my kids now, if you can just remember what they are teaching you in middle school you will fly through high school and college, its the same thing.
Not sure if it’ll help or not, but when I was thinking of taking the MCAT without first taking physics (which I’ve since decided not to attempt) I saw that MIT has archived lecture videos online. You can access them for free. It’s pretty neat…you basically can view an entire course, a lecture at a time, and have access to exams/quizes and the name of the text book they used. I saw they offered it for math, bio and chem aside from physics. Might be a good way to brush up on a few things or get an advance preview of chem. HTH!
Try this. I’ve used it some, but I’m thinking about retaking Algebra myself. It’s been a long time. You might be able to audit it as a pass/fail.
You might take a look at “College Algebra for Dummies” to see if it would meet your needs. You will need to be proficient at algebraic manipulation and have a very basic competency in trig to excel in Physics and General Chemistry. You might not necessarily need an entire semester of formal coursework to gain those skills.
Thanks to everyone for your advice. I have decided to just take the College Algebra online. It will be a good refresher (since it has been so long)and since I talked to the University. They recommended being up to date with my math when I start Chem. I. I Also, decided to wait till the spring to take Chem I because I am officially admitted to the University for the spring. I want to make absolutely sure that I have a good solid background before I take Organic chem, and I figure taking Chem I &II at the same school as Orgo, will give me a better basis for preparation then at the local CC which isn’t exactly challenging. Anyway, thanks so much for the input. I am LOVING this forum and LOVE reading everyones stories.