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Not sure if this is appropriate here but I am failing my calculus class and I basically have to take the last year of college over again. College I am trying to transfer to said I don't have the aptitude to do anything math related and they will not accept me to the college.

I have no idea what to do, I might just have to pick a major that contains no math at all. Regardless of what classes I am taking though I am going to attempt to learn math on my own. What is a good resource that I can use to judge where I am at in math skill? To be honest if I were to take some 6th grade math tests right now I would fail them, I forget math incredibly easily. I constantly forget everything I learn.

How can I figure out at what level I should start learning math again?

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I recommend Schaum's College Mathematics: Schaum's books are short lessons with lots of problems to work. If you find yourself knocking out the problems in a given section easily, then you won't need to spend much time there. I really believe that if you spent even an hour a day over your winter break in this book, you'd be well-equipped to handle Calculus in the spring. – Austin Mohr Nov 10 '11 at 20:46
Khan Academy has lots of exercises from basic math (not to mention excellent videos to teach it), and helps you track your learning. – smackcrane Nov 10 '11 at 20:49
Can someone please explain the votes to close? There are 3 votes currently. – Srivatsan Nov 10 '11 at 21:12
up vote 2 down vote accepted

I did take a look at Kahn Academy web site. It looks a pretty good one. I strongly recommend you to try it first. If it doesn't work for you, you might want to consider the method a friend of mine used, it worked for him.

He has a relative whose only kid entered college. The parents were going to get rid of all the high school textbooks and supplemental books their kid used. He picked them up. Starting from the easiest one(I don't know if it was the 7th grade or not), he read most of the books. He now teaches physics at a good university.

I strongly believe most people have the ability to pass Calculus in college. It's matter of how hard you study and how you study it. If you have trouble learning it, either you are not studying hard enough or you lack some skills you are supposed to learn while in high school. Judging from your current and past posts, I believe you need to make up the skills you missed. Thus, my suggestion.

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Very few intelligent people are good at remembering gibberish. If mathematics does not make sense, of course you won't get it, be interested in it, like it, or remember it, unless you are happy to simply remember and perform. Obviously you are not. Neither are many others of us.

Do you understand the need for having names and symbols for quantities? Do you understand the idea of combining two quantities to get a new one and the need to DENOTE that and to have a way to DETERMINE the new quantity? Do you understand that we can't keep making up new names and symbols for larger and larger quantities, that we need a system to reduce the number of names and symbols? ALL of mathematics proceeds this way. It is ALL completely sensible and purposeful.

The problem is that we should be explicitly TOLD the sense and PURPOSE; and we are NOT. Like you, I struggle to understand mathematics. I finally got a master's in mathematics but I was 79 when I finally did. First and foremost you should realize that everything in mathematics is sensible and that you have to look for the sense yourself. If many more of us were as honest and outspoken about our difficulty as you are, perhaps much more attention would be paid to making the sense explicit instead of our having to figure it out for ourselves.

Don't believe a word of what people say who claim that mathematics is abstract and about logic and reasoning and deduction and axiomatics and cognition and problem solving and skill. That's not true. Mathematics is the physical science of quantity and its amazingly prodigious aspects and developments. Quantity is as physical and concrete and real as whatever there is a quantity of.

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Khan Academy has graded exercises for almost every basic math topic. In addition to the informational videos, there are graded exercises provided. The website will tell you when have mastered the topic based on a pretty sophisticated learning algorithm. Here is a map of how the concepts relate to each other, and in what order to complete them.

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