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I have never been good at math. In my senior year I failed algebra 2 in the first semester because the teacher would refuse to show me how to solve problems saying that it's my fault for not paying attention in 11th grade when that is simply not the case, I am just weak at math and have never really had a good math teacher. The second semester I had a better teacher in fact the best teacher I have ever had, but this only lasted 1 semester and it was not enough for me to develop confidence in my math skills at all. In fact my fear of math has kept me from applying to college, and I want to go so badly. I get A's in everything else (except chemistry due to math) so I know I am not stupid it's just that I don't have a strong math foundation.

I'm looking for a book or anything that can help me build a solid foundation when it comes to Algebra and Trigonometry and math in general, something that explains it in a way that I can fully understand it, not just the bare minimum to pass a class. Any help will be appreciated thank you.

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You might also want to review math.stackexchange.com/questions/256316/… Regards –  Amzoti Feb 17 '13 at 18:19
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This question concerns what mathematics is about. You should check it out, as high school mathematics usually doesn’t convey the true spirit of mathematics – even by mathematicians high school mathematics is often considered dull and boring. It differs greatly from university mathematics and probably any mathematics an amateur would find joy in. –  k.stm Feb 17 '13 at 19:06
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@K.Stm.: Even simple mathematics can be interesting if approached in the right way. –  Adam Nov 20 '13 at 22:54

3 Answers 3

I'd suggest that you look seriously into the Khan Academy. The link will take you to a page that lists all the math tutorials available on the site, topics covered, etc. For many of the topics covered, there are exercises you can do, and ways of measuring your progress.

The leader of the Khan academy is likeable, approachable, and the "leading" star in the videos, well respected for his "down to earth" approach.

I really think this site can help you out! It covers everything one hopes to understand from high school math, and more!


You might also want to read What is Mathematics? by Courant, Robbins, and Stewart. You can preview the book at the given link. It's a readable book, and helps many overcome their conviction that they are "not good at math".


As an aside:

Two of the sins of the rote arithmetics and rote-math, as taught in school, are the notions they instill that

1) every problem has a definite answer, (also usually conveyed: "there's only one right way to find the answer/solve a problem),

2) that you should be able to come up with that answer instantly or you're stupid.

Both are wrong.

The book Thinking Mathematically dispels these myths and presents a better way to learn mathematics and to think mathematically. However, note that learning how to learn mathematics from a book is a challenge. It is easy to miss the point, for instance by not doing the exercises. The Khan Academy videos will help to "model" mathematical thinking and problem-solving. But Math is not a "spectator sport"; it requires active participation in and ownership of your learning and education.

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The classic book reference is probably Polya's "How to solve it". Maybe have a look at it.

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The Khan Academy as mentioned above is a great recommendation.

In that you specifically mentioned algebra, you might consider Gelfand's "Algebra."

http://www.amazon.com/Algebra-Israel-M-Gelfand/dp/0817636773

It is a work by a real master of mathematics, yet presenting the topic at a level you can understand - giving you tremendous insights into algebra, and how to think in terms of math in general.

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Pinter's "A Book of Abstract Algebra" comes higly recommended, and includes lots of examples tying this very abstract subject to everyday situations. –  vonbrand Feb 18 '13 at 1:04

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