# Math weaknesses

I guess I might as well pop the question since it seems like a possibility at this point but is AdComs going to particularly care if you get crappy grades on a few of the pre-reqs out of all of them? The reason I ask is to put it bluntly, I simply suck at math and as a result, it seems as if I’ll probably end up with a “B” for pre-calc and since I’m having a hard time understanding it, it wouldn’t surprise me if I got "B"s or "C"s in calc. I’m not sure if it’ll matter since they aren’t science classes (which I don’t have a problem with) but I figure I’d check.

Well, the math classes DO count in your math/science GPA, so I would try for a B if at all possible.

Does your school have a math lab or free tutoring available? The math lab was a great help for me. Also helpful (often available in the math lab) are the solutions manuals that accompany the textbook. I was able to teach myself calculus by sitting with the solutions manual and figuring out how they worked through the problems. Calculus is all about working problems, so the more practice problems you do, the better off you are.

Dude,

I know excatly how you feel. I SUCK at math, and my first precalc test was a disaster! The good news is that I’ve figured out what I need to do to correct the situation. I totally agree with the last post about working problems. I hate rote memorization, but there are just a handful of important concepts and formulas in section that get applied over and over again. The key, for me, is to make a few index cards with the important snippets of information, formulas, or whatever else & then just do as many practice problems as I can get my hands on. It is a sort of brute force method of learning this material, but it is already working well for me. The more bored I become with solving the problems (rather than anxiety-ridden), the more my confidence that I can handle the material on the next test increases. I just set goals for myself each day that coincide with the course syllabus. It is important to hit the problems a couple times each day to refresh & reinforce the two struggling neurons that seem to be carrying that load!

Good luck & don’t let it wear you down… math is your friend.

Other Tim

math is what ruined my first gen chem class! Oh how I struggled to compete with my brainiac-classmates!

I hate it so bad. In fact, it was the deciding factor of whether to major in Biochemistry or Microbiology! Of course I chose the latter…algebra based physics, non-calc biochem series, and only one quarter of calculus required!

I was performing so poorly in the first calc class I had to withdraw, and I took it the next quarter at a different school and got a 3.6 (i am not sure how that happened). The second quarter I remained at the same school and attempted the second calc, decided to stick with it and do the best I could, math-lab, many many problems…got a 1.5! It certainly stands out amidst all A’s elsewhere! I laugh about it now but at the time I was mortified. Never in my life have I ever done so bad…

I guess that one subject didn’t really matter because I got accepted into the 2007 beginning year. I would say if the grades concern you, mention it on your secondaries, as most applications have a “misc” spot for special things to consider for your application. A couple of mediocre grades may lower your science gpa, but hopefully not so much that it will hurt the responses to the secondaries.

Rock on the MCAT and they will overlook a lot.

If I could succeed at getting into medical school, pretty much anyone can.

Thanks for the responses guys and yeah, math may be my friend, but I’m treating it like a significant other…as in it’s a love/hate relationship. I actually did go to the math lab as it turns out because the teacher offered to show up in the evening there for anyone who wanted to ask questions, work problems, etc. and that’s basically like handing gold-coated candy to a student if he/she is having trouble with the material so I jumped on that…took the exam today and I think worst-case scenario is a B+ so that ended up working itself out after all.

I would just like for once to see where math any higher than algebra has relevance to medicine though for doctors…algebra is used in everything so that’s a no-brainer but are we ever going to actually use calculus?

I’m so glad to see this posting and find that I am in good company. I like math, but only if I understand the concept and process to get the solution. Then it is like doing some kind of puzzle. I found however, that after 13 years have past since my algebra, the precalculus review of algebra problems is more than challenging. I had a person with a masters in mathematics tell me that they work very hard to create difficult math problems for the text books and that as the math level increases the problems are actually easier. Also, later in life, there really are few instances that we have to jump through these math hoops again. I am taking the same approach of flash cards for formulas and lots of practise problems until it seems perhaps not easy but less difficult.

• dreamchaser Said:
I'm so glad to see this posting and find that I am in good company. I like math, but only if I understand the concept and process to get the solution. Then it is like doing some kind of puzzle. I found however, that after 13 years have past since my algebra, the precalculus review of algebra problems is more than challenging. I had a person with a masters in mathematics tell me that they work very hard to create difficult math problems for the text books and that as the math level increases the problems are actually easier. Also, later in life, there really are few instances that we have to jump through these math hoops again. I am taking the same approach of flash cards for formulas and lots of practise problems until it seems perhaps not easy but less difficult.

Right, that's exactly how I am, if I understand the math then I'm content but if I don't then I'm beyond irritated. I'm finding index cards certainly help a lot since it's hard to remember all those formulas. My math teacher made an interesting statement last week though, she said no math problem is hard, just some are time consuming. I suppose that sort of makes sense since you either know the formula or you don't, and if you don't, then there's the index cards.

It’s the time consuming part that makes the math difficult for me. If I don’t understand the concept, it takes forever to solve the problem. Usually it sends me down a bunch of rabbit trails. As a result, I have a hard time getting through the homework since I also work full time. I suppose I will just have to sleep less.

As far as using math in medicine…It depends upon what you do as a doctor.

If all you do is see patients and prescribe meds, then algebra will suffice.

If you read research articles, it is important to know how the data was analyzed in order to decide if the trial was legit or not. But this requires more knowledge of scientific method and statistics.

Calculus will help you if you participate in research, as some types of projects will require it in data aquisition and analysis.

• misscompassion Said:
As far as using math in medicine...It depends upon what you do as a doctor.

If all you do is see patients and prescribe meds, then algebra will suffice.

If you read research articles, it is important to know how the data was analyzed in order to decide if the trial was legit or not. But this requires more knowledge of scientific method and statistics.

Calculus will help you if you participate in research, as some types of projects will require it in data aquisition and analysis.

Ahhh ok, I see. Well, I don't really plan on doing any research but I would like to go into surgery so maybe in some way it'll be useful. I would hope so atleast since I hate taking classes where I'll just forget what I learned because it wasn't useful.

Please be aware that not all med schools require calculus. Mine didn’t. Check the schools that interest you before you dig in that deep!

I am trying to transfer from a CC into UCLA. They have a contract agreement with the CC for a biology major transfer. A requirement is several physics courses one of which requires Calc III. Thus the need for Calc. Also some of the Bio and Chem I believe have Calc I as a pre or co-requisite.

Boo! for calc.

Chem I with a calculus prereq? I suppose a lot of chemistry is more accurate with calc. My own Chem I was all algebra, all the time (but lots of it. I recommend lots of practice with the math and doing the homework repeatedly in order to be fast enough to finish exams.)

I looked at probably about six or seven universities before deciding which one to finally go for and the one thing they all had in common was that to major in biology, you have to have a year of calculus. So even if it’s not required to get into medical school, it’s required for a biology degree and I would imagine a chemistry degree as well. Sucks doesn’t it?

I’m being a bad mentor here, though. Just keep practicing the problems over and over and get help if you need it, and soon calculus will be fearing YOU!

• samenewme Said:
I'm being a bad mentor here, though. Just keep practicing the problems over and over and get help if you need it, and soon calculus will be fearing YOU!

I just wanted to chime in here--I respect the views of those who fear and loathe calculus--but I would like to suggest an alternative view--calculus is BEAUTIFUL!

With a good teacher and textbook (and, in this internet era, a cool website) calculus can be taught in a manner such that most people can learn it well and in an enjoyable manner (my own miserable performance in college calculus notwithstanding).

The calculus is the basis for physics and most scientific and computational thinking and is well worth learning for anyone seeking to go into the sciences. Undoubtedly medical schools will appreciate someone who has studied advanced mathematics because it exercises your abstract thinking muscles.

I would say, for those who need calculus to get through a program, think of it not as a terrible obstacle to be surmounted but rather as an opportunity to become a mathematician, and shop hard for a professor who can actually teach, and as Denise suggests, hit the problem sets daily to built up your math muscles.

Best of luck,

Well, fortunately I do have a very good math teacher…as it turns out, she met us in the math lab in the evening the night before the test and helped us with any questions we had…only six of us chose to show up for the help but I bet we got the best scores in the class. I ended up with a 98 for my exam so I guess I’m not worried about bad grades yet for this class.

Well it’s 4:35 a.m. and my math homework still isn’t finished. I guess I will get a couple hours of sleep and devote most of tomorrow to it. Can’t wait till the old brain gets back up to speed and I can do these problems faster. I should probably get used to the long nights though.