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I was never fabulous at Algebra and have always studied the arts. However, now I have to take Math 30 pure 12 years after I finished my last required high school math class.

If anyone has thoughts on how to help me re-learn some of what I used to know and help me build upon that knowledge before my class starts please let me know!

Thanks in advance. J

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Could you tell us what the syllabus of "Math 30" is? – Zev Chonoles Apr 15 '11 at 17:36
Wiki-hammered; the question is asking for advice. Please try to provide more detail about what math classes you are familiar with and what math class you are about to take to make this question more concrete. – Willie Wong Apr 16 '11 at 17:38

If you have any problems with Mathematics from grades 9-12, this includes Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus then I suggest going to and searching Khan Academy. He has great tutorials on very many topics inside and outside of math. Another great website is I was able to learn all of the topics that I was confused about during Calculus in High school. Below is the link to the two resources.

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Practise, Practise, Practise.

Maths is not a spectator sport and you only get the hang of it by experimenting with it yourself. Even if after reading a question you think "I can do that" don't skip it - you might find it was more complicated than you first thought, and if not, you will gain confidence by doing it.

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In class, I make sure my students get practice with their calculators by having them do the calculations (I teach physics). I can do the numbers in my head faster than they can work the calculator. This is partly because they are extremely slow with the calculator and badly need practice with it. See Undercover Mathemati's answer.

One day one of my students got the answer faster than I knew a calculator could provide it. I stared at him briefly and asked "how did you get that". He said that he'd followed my advice. If you want your brain to be good at arithmetic, use it while you're driving. Look at the license plates and do multiplication or addition or division or subtraction problems. You will find yourself getting better and better each day.

The same thing applies to any other type of math. You will slowly become fabulously good at the thing you spend your time doing.

What I'm saying is that the head shapes of mathematicians are not significantly different from those of the general public. What's different is what they find interesting. Make math interesting for yourself and you're halfway there.

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This is somewhat similar to Greg Harrington's comment,but I suggest that for mathematics for grades IX-XII, look no further than the the Art of Problem Solving texts

I'd recommend the 3 books except the Intermediate Counting and Probability one. You'll probably need a revision of your high school math.Without that, you'll have trouble taking advanced math classes.

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