Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Preparing For College

I have taken this whole college preparation very seriously lately. A co-worker of mine is currently working on her bachelors, already successfully completing her associates in business management with the help of Comcast's tuition reimbursement program. She can confirm that the reimbursement program works well. She has even been so wonderful as to have given me her old "Basic College Mathematics" text/ workbook. It has certainly helped!

I went so far as to break up the 10 chapters into the 12 or so weeks until the first day of class for the summer semester at Edison. I originally got the book from her to help study for the placement test I have coming up on the 23rd, but realized it is completely impractical to assume I can learn all of that information in about 2 weeks. This text book was designed to be spread over a full semester after all; most semesters are 15 weeks long! So I decided to just take the test- I get what I get, it is what it is. If I don't understand something in the test, I will just do my best from what I can remember and not stress too much about it. The whole purpose of a placement test to be ensure that I am placed in a class that is based around my current knowledge.

I think that is where math and high school went so wrong. In high school, you get pushed up a grade level each year unless you fail. You could have a whole year of "D's" but as long as you pass you are good to go to the next grade level whether you completely comprehend what you were expected to learn or not. That was my problem. I didn't fully understand what I was already learning, yet I still went further and further. I graduated without really understanding what I just spent 4 years of high school working on. Heck, I think it might have started in middle school (AKA junior high to some of you). I blame myself to, for not applying myself to trying to learn it either. If I only knew then what I know now....

By anyways....

I have an advantage to having the book is now, for the next 12 weeks, I can be learning what I will probably be learning in whatever math class I am placed in. My advantage is that the information will be fresher in my mind than some that have not seen some of this material since high school (for me it will be about 9 years!) or haven't used for about as long. Anyhow, since the book, as stated before, is suppose to be broken up into 15 weeks and I only have two, I jumped ahead a bit in the book, skipped the first few subjects since they were very easy, even for me. Right now I am on Chapter 1, Part 5 which is "Multiplication with Whole Numbers". Basically its multiplication and its various properties (like the distribution property: if a, b, and c represent any three whole numbers then a(b+c)= a(b)+a(c)- that kinda thing). Its been so long since I have done any math without the help of a calculator that even some of the regular multiplication table is a bit difficult. And doing long multiplication, like trying to figure a problem like 8295 x 93 for example, sure was easier when it was just a matter of typing seven buttons into a calculator!

I worked my little study course up so that each day, I work two parts of the chapter. For example, today I will be focusing on Chapter 1 parts 5 and 6. This was I work the whole text book right up to the first day of class. Each part is only a few pages long- its working the problems in the book that take a long time. The book also came with a CD ROM with additional "tests" I can take as well as has a video of a professor explaining each part in detail. So if I get stuck on how to do something, I can always review the CD ROM and get a better understanding of what I am to do to solve the problem. Working thru this text book is also preparing me for what to expect when class does start as far as time management is concerned. I have dedicated myself to work on this just as I will dedicate myself to work on my actual lessons.

I am also really grateful to have Nils backing me up. He is pretty good in math, so I know I can go to him for help and he is patient with me. Maybe I can convince him to drill me with some good ol' mulitiplication flash cards just like in grade school! But at least I know he won't laugh at me or think I am stupid or anything. And to further supplement what I am learning, I found this great website called that has lots of printable worksheets complete with an answer key to provide me with more problems to test my knowledge.

And to further encourage me, Nils has agreed to buy me a Edison State College sweatshirt for Valentine's Day. I know, I know, it doesn't really sound romantic but I really want it. I have this old gray hooded sweatshirt I got as a hand-me-down when I was living in New York that says "City Tech College" which was a technical college in the city (obvious, right?) where my ex-boyfriend's mom and step-dad worked as professors. I love that sweatshirt- even if I never attended the school itself. Its worn, the pouch pocket is falling off and there are a few stains up the sleeves, but I still wear it with a great pair of comfy jeans. Well, this Edison sweatshirt is just like it but I will actually be able to say I attend when I wear it!

1 comment:

Neabear said...

I am so proud of you for taking this one. I wish you lots of luck with the schooling. Good luck with the math stuff. I found I understood it better when I got older than I did when I was in 9th grade. Made more sense I guess. Also HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! Yay, it has been two years. Also two longs years since we have seen you. I sure hope we can make it there sometime this year.