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Thread: Maths advice for someone not great at it

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    New Member Derkl's Avatar
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    Maths advice for someone not great at it

    I'm a mature age student (not THAT old, but not fresh out of school) who didn't do maths in high school compounded by the fact that it's been years since I've ever taken a test or studied formally for it. I've been learning in my own time and have covered a good amount of integral and differential calculus, so I enrolled into MATH1011 and MATH1002 for this semester. I plan on taking MATH1005 and MATH1013 in second semester.

    Is there any way I can gauge whether I'll be fine in these classes? MATH1011 had a diagnostic quiz at http://www.maths.usyd.edu.au/u/UG/JM/MATH1011/ which I could do about all of (except 1 question that I needed to review), and I also looked at MATH1011's past exams which I could do about 1/4 of on my own (I haven't covered multi-variable functions like f(x,y) so I couldn't answer any of those questions). MATH1002 I have no idea of except for the introduction to matrices I did on khanacademy which was just things like multiplying, finding inverses, and solving basic linear equations with them. I was thinking of doing MATH1014 do make it easier on me but I need 6CP maths for semester 1 and MATH1014 only runs in semester 2.

    My main worries are that I've been focusing mostly on calculus in my self-study so I'm very weak on any questions relating to geometry (let me know if this is a problem, esp in MATH1002. I saw some geometry-related questions in past exams) and statistics/probability. I basically completed 92% of KhanAcademy in about 3 months over about 350 hours so I'm quite stressed hoping I've learned what I needed to.

    I also tried getting into MATH1111 to make it easier on me (maybe too easy with my preparation!) but for some reason I got denied and they take forever to respond to e-mails and it seems like it'll be too late at this point to get in.

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    Senior Member sida1049's Avatar
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    Re: Maths advice for someone not great at it

    Just relax. I'm certain you'll be able to cope in those classes, especially given your tenacity to prepare for them.

    With regards to MATH1011 and MATH1013, since you've been focusing on learning differential and integral calculus in your preparation, you should be fine. Your calculus knowledge will be on-par with 2U students who take those courses.

    For MATH1002, again, I think you should find it alright. This is because linear algebra is something that is essentially not taught at all in the HSC syllabus (except for Extension 2 students, who would have had a glimpse of vector geometry), so the content in the course don't really relate to the topics in any HSC mathematics courses (except for some very basic geometry, like the equation of a line). So for this unit, you're not behind any of your peers at all.

    For MATH1005, similar to MATH1002, most of the things in this course will be fresh for any HSC graduate. The HSC 2U course does go through some very basic probability, but that will be covered in class.

    The main thing is to just keep up with the work in your maths classes, and make use of your time with your tutors. The online forum Edstem is often excellent for getting your questions answered by lecturers, tutors or your peers. I guarrantee that as long as you keep, you'll find these courses not beyond you at all.

    Oh yeah, if you really feel that you need to get ahead in your preparations, you can purchase the MATH1011 course notes from Kopystop in the city for $22. I'm sure you'd find them useful to study ahead or as a complement to your lectures, but by no means are course notes necessary. MATH1002 has no course notes, but there is a textbook written specifically for the course by David Easdown called 'A First Course in Linear Algebra'. It's a relatively short textbook, and I personally thought the textbook was excellent when I read it. But once again, not necessary, and the lecture notes by your lecturer(s) should suffice.

    Best of luck!

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics) III, USYD

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    New Member Derkl's Avatar
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    Re: Maths advice for someone not great at it

    Thanks. I guess I just get scared when I look at some of the past exam questions and keep forgetting that they're obviously going to test you on things that you don't know before taking the subject.

    (I'm also aiming for D or higher so I wouldn't be satisfied if I just struggled and got a pass or low credit)

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    Senior Member sida1049's Avatar
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    Re: Maths advice for someone not great at it

    Quote Originally Posted by Derkl View Post
    Thanks. I guess I just get scared when I look at some of the past exam questions and keep forgetting that they're obviously going to test you on things that you don't know before taking the subject.

    (I'm also aiming for D or higher so I wouldn't be satisfied if I just struggled and got a pass or low credit)
    I'm certain even an HD is possible for you as long as you keep up with the work and don't be afraid to approach your tutors or the online forum.

    The maths tutorials are usually what they call 'board tutorials', where you get into small groups of 3-4 to work on tutorial problems together. I found this to be really useful, because it means your peers can explain things to you, and you can explain concepts for your peers when they need it, which helps to solidify your understanding. Try to find students who are keen on doing well and/or are interested in maths (at least more so than the usual student who enrols into the unit simply because they have to).

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics) III, USYD

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