I am starting an undergraduate pre-med course of study in spring 2009 and I am going to need help with getting my math up to speed. I never focused heavily on math in high school, I stopped at geometry and algebra II but I remember nothing of either of them. Can anyone give me any advice and/or recommend any books for personal study that would allow me to educate myself from algebra I/II through geometry and trig? Thanks in advance!
Math is good to know, and I’d hope that anyone on this process develops a familiarity with at least algebra, if not statistics. Trig will also be necessary for physics. So yeah, math is pretty useful.
It’s also not impossible, of course. I think that, for many people, math anxiety is a bigger problem than math itself.
No, it’s not required for admissions, but if you don’t have a solid foundation in algebra and trig, it’s going to make life much more difficult in your gen chem and physics courses. I think brushing up on your math skills before attempting those courses is a wise choice.
I decided to retake college algebra when I returned to take the pre-reqs as it had been nearly 15 years since I took a math class. I was very glad I did. The math part actually came back very quickly, but I had absolutely NO idea how to use the graphing calculators (very helpful for physics).
I concur with the anxiety piece… the comfort with math for gen chem and physics in what seems to get to most people (as opposed the actual complexity of the math). Also with the reliance on calculators solely without applying common sense/logic with the concept being calculated.
My gen chem book came with a really thin small booklet for math review and most of that wasn’t even needed. dimensional analysis, scientific notation, maybe 1 variable unknowns. Physics had some trig functions, (lots of triangles, angles) 1 and 2 variable unknowns, quadratic equations. It is much more important in being able to develop a process to understand and setup word problems than the math itself
- fullitaliandmr Said:
You know, that's kind of a narrow view. If you last had math in high school, and didn't pay much attention, you are going to DROWN in general chemistry and physics. It's not that the math is hard - it isn't - but you do need to be comfortable with it.
Keep in mind that there are at least a few schools that do require a semester of calculus and/or statistics.
I liked algebra, geometry and trigonometry in high school, and took calculus in college. Then I didn't do any more with math until I went back to gen-chem twenty years later. I didn't have any trouble at all with it - but again, I was a math geek in high school, I really loved all that stuff. Those who shied away from it, barely tolerated it, or got downright phobic about it in high school will feel a whole lot better in chemistry and physics if they take a college math class.
And I do use basic algebraic functions in my daily work as a physician, to calculate narcotic equivalents, kids' antibiotic doses, and the like. So it's not a waste of MY time.
I decided to do a math self-study/review to get my head back in the academic game before enrolling for credit classes in the fall. (Also because I could use the math review!!) I have been using Precalculus Demystified and have found it very clear and useful. Explanations that make sense, good example, practice and review problems. My only difficulty has been that there is only one set of problems–the final–that covers more than one chapter–it covers the whole book. So I’ve had to scout around for ‘prelim’ or ‘midterm’ problem sets to make sure I’m retaining information from previous chapters. I’m on the second-to-last chapter now though, and I feel like I have a good grounding in all the material I’ve covered so far. There are many books in the “Demystified” series; you might be able to pick one that is targeted towards your needs?
For additional explanation, helpful hints and further practice problems, I found this algebra site useful www.purplemath.com
Hope that helps!