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Took the Accuplacer, Didn't Score High Enough

InnovativeBoxxInnovativeBoxx Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
edited January 2009 in College Life
Yesterday I took the College Board's Accuplacer exam for mathematics, since it had been a few years since I took a math course on the college level. I took the exam to register for a College Algebra course for the Spring semester. My other option was to take a remedial course (Intermediate Algebra) before 'advancing' to College Algebra.

It turned out that on the two sections of the exam, I scored very high (nearly a perfect score) on the elementary algebra section, but didn't score high enough (although I passed) on the college mathematics portion to get 'accepted' into college algebra, so I'm forced to take a remedial course.

I feel really stupid right now. I thought I had it. I even purchased a supplementary book on algebra to help me, but the exam was substantially more difficult than I thought it was going to be.

What's really eating me is that my former friend (now turned rival), Rob, who graduated from Notre Dame probably didn't experience this level of stupidity, and I have constant thoughts of "I bet Rob didn't have to take a remedial course in mere algebra."

I've even been thinking that my hopes of becoming a computer scientist and patent attorney are too unrealistic and unattainable.

I feel really stupid.
Post edited by InnovativeBoxx on

Replies to: Took the Accuplacer, Didn't Score High Enough

  • DuperDuper - Posts: 1,125 Senior Member
    Readjust your priorities.
  • cewillmcewillm Registered User Posts: 153 Junior Member
    If you have to start with baby algebra, so be it. I started in Algebra 1011 and am well on my way to graduation just fine.
  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Registered User Posts: 22,762 Senior Member
    If you feel that you were just having a bad day, ask to take it over again. If you don't understand the material, then you'll have to take intermediate.

    As far as going for a CS major, you'll need to be able to get through Calc I and II at a minimum. I think that the better programs require Calc III. Then you get into the really heavy-duty math stuff.

    Calc I and II are usually done in Freshman year and usually require Precalc (either one
    or two semesters). I guess that you could take College Algebra and then Trig instead
    of the Precalc sequence.

    I found course lectures for a Patent Law course at the University of Pennsylvania and you can download the whole thing on iTunes. Perhaps that would provide a glimpse into doing the schoolwork towards getting a law degree.

    Patent Law - Professor Polk Wagner
  • lollybolollybo Registered User Posts: 776 Member
    Dude, after reading some of your previous posts, you seem to have an unhealthy obsession over

    1. Your intelligence
    2. Your friend Rob

    This seems really unproductive for your development as a person. Please stop worrying about Rob and your mental capacity- this worrying adds stress which is the last thing you need.

    Realistically speaking, do you think you will catch up with Rob, even given a time frame of 4 years? Stop worrying about him, and worry about your own life. I have had similar problems before- going to college exposed me to a lot of really smart people. Some people are truly geniuses, and others have had more opportunities than I have had- I am big on research, but some of my friends have professor parents, who hook them up with research opportunities in high school, so they are a step ahead of me in terms of grants, opportunities, etc. But right now I don't care, I am worrying about my own growth, not that of others.

    You can keep posting about your insecurities, and you will keep getting the same generic answers. Stop worrying about all these trivial matters, and you will do better.
  • CC AdminCC Admin Administrator Posts: 32,336 Senior Member
    I agree with lollybo. Stop worrying about your friend Rob. Get in there and do what you have to do to come out on top one day.

    I have a learning disorder and I had to take remedial Algebra. Did I feel embarrassed that I had to take that class? Yes. But I had to do it, and I did all I had to do to pass the class. I got accommodations through the disability resources center, hired tutors, spent hours each night studying at the library. I passed with a B+, which is better than I expected.

    My major is Kinesiology Pre-Health Professions and I am only required to take College Algebra and Quantitative Reasoning as far as mathematics is concerned, but for my sciences I still have to take Anatomy/Physiology I & II, Chemistry I & II, and Physics I & II. As someone who struggled with a learning disorder all throughout grade school w/no accommodations and have always done poorly in mathematics and science, I was terrified when I learned I had to take those classes. I just knew I wanted to become a physical therapist. And I didn't let my fear stop me from proceeding with my major because I knew there had to be a way. I passed remedial Algebra and Biology I which I thought I could never pass before, and now not only am I not afraid of the sciences I have to take, but I look forward to them because with all the time I spent studying I learned more about myself and my capabilities and I discovered a new interest and fascination for science.

    Don't let the Accuplacer exam and whatever else tests you take (e.g.: left brain test) tell you what you can and can't do. If I had listened to the psychologist who suggested that I change my major because of my learning difficulties, I would never have found a fascination for science, I would never have gotten over my fear, and I would never have grown. But I love it now, and you know how they say the more you like something the more likely you are to do better at it.

    As for your obsession with surpassing Rob... you'll get him one day. Do whatever it takes and some day you'll succeed in your own way.
  • gplayer745gplayer745 Registered User Posts: 142 Junior Member
    This is one of the major complaints I have about these placement tests. While they are designed to assess an individual's capability to handle the "advanced" level course, they simply don't do so very effectively. So if you haven't taken the class in awhile and are a bit rusty with your math skills, you are at a huge disadvantage. Don't feel stupid just because you did not achieve the result you wanted on the exam, you're simply a victim of the poorly thought out test assessments. If someone gave me a test on calculus right now, I doubt I'd be able to remember enough material to pass even though I have taken several calculus/multi variable calculus courses.
  • InnovativeBoxxInnovativeBoxx Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    Thanks everyone for your input. Your various responses are very much appreciated.

    I have in fact registered for and began my Intermediate Algebra class today. From all initial feelings, I will have no problem with this class (as in making an "A"), and it will be a good 4 month review of algebraic concepts that will further strength my math skills, which will be beneficial for my more difficult math courses down the road (Calc I/II/III, Statistics, etc).

    I should also add that I have no given up my desire to become a computer scientist and a IP/patent attorney. I look at this 'dilemma' of mine as just another opportunity to display my intelligence and will to learn and ultimately succeed.

    BCEagle, thanks for the link you provided for the course lectures on patent law. I do appreciate this invaluable information you provided.

    Lollybo, you may be right in about me having an "unhealthy obsession" with my intelligence and my former friend Roberto. However, I do hope the "obsession" stays and never loses its momentum. Why do I say this? I view my drive into becoming more intelligent and 'outdoing' Roberto as a double-sword. On one side I am forced to suffer the consequences of the additional stress it brings me, but on the other side, it acts highly-motivating 'force' that will aid me substantially in becoming successful.

    Roberto's accomplishments, primarily being accepted and graduating from Notre Dame, are a constant reminder of my own personal failures. If I can just outdo him, I will then be satisfied knowing that I have achieved something notable, especially from my humble beginnings. However, this will only be witnessed until I get into a top law school since I'm attending (hopefully as a transfer student) mere SMU in Dallas, Texas for undergraduate studies.
  • Rachel_DawesRachel_Dawes Registered User Posts: 77 Junior Member
    Roberto's accomplishments, primarily being accepted and graduating from Notre Dame, are a constant reminder of my own personal failures. If I can just outdo him, I will then be satisfied knowing that I have achieved something notable, especially from my humble beginnings. However, this will only be witnessed until I get into a top law school since I'm attending (hopefully as a transfer student) mere SMU in Dallas, Texas for undergraduate studies.

    Dude, that just sounds creepy.

    I think the philosophy should be "I need to do as well as I can, which means I take advantage of opportunities and work as hard as I can" and NOT "I need to do better than X and work harder than X to be better than X."

    The objective is to beat "yourself"-- or outdo what you think you can do-- and not obsess over trying to one-up someone else, who probably doesn't even care about you near as much as you care about them. Otherwise, you just sound, you know, creepy.
  • randomgrandeurrandomgrandeur Registered User Posts: 671 Member
    Your posts read like Patrick Bateman.
  • meltymervinmeltymervin Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    If you really wish to catch up, take 2-3 maths per semester. Right now I am taking 3 at college and teaching myself another. Computer science is very math intense, so 3 courses might be standard for a semester.
  • InnovativeBoxxInnovativeBoxx Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    ^Yeah, taking this remedial course has rerouted my matriculation plans a bit, so after this semester, I will be taking College Algebra, Trig, and Pre-Cal over the summer (May Term, Summer I, and Summer II). With the next regular semester, Fall '09, I can begin with Calculus I.

    I guess when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. I didn't plan on taking a remedial course for algebra, so I have to adjust a little to stay on track.
  • BCEagle91BCEagle91 Registered User Posts: 22,762 Senior Member
    Why not just take Precalc I and Precalc II? I think that a year of Precalc includes college algebra and trig. This path should be on the sheet of paper with your Accuplacer results. Check the course sequence - no need to take an extra course when it isn't needed.
  • InnovativeBoxxInnovativeBoxx Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    ^I wish I could do that, but my college has specific preqs for these courses and it's nearly impossible to overcome their 'methodology'.

    Anyway, I'm taking College Algebra, Trigonometry, and Pre-Cal all over the course of the summer (May/SI/SII), so I'll be on track for the fall semester with Calculus I.
  • inspiringmindinspiringmind Registered User Posts: 63 Junior Member
    I have to add to this thread. In high school I failed Pre-Algebra twice.(I am older and before the time of having to Geometry or whatever to graduate.)

    When I went to college the second time I took Pre-Algebra so that I would know what the heck I was doing, because believe it or not, I was PLACED into Elementary Algebra. I got an 89 in the Pre-Algebra course. I still had a heck of a time with EA and I still have yet to complete that course.

    Luckily, the college I am going to in the fall has the math courses cut into 6 1 credit hour courses. (They last a month each semester, so I can do up to three in a semester.)

    Personally, I don't like math and I am actually never going to end up doing Polynomial functions or inequities in my major (nursing).
  • InnovativeBoxxInnovativeBoxx Registered User Posts: 193 Junior Member
    ^I recommend you pick up the book, The Idiot's Guide to Algebra by W. Michael Kelley. It's because of this author, that I am miles ahead of the other students in my remedial class for College Algebra.

    Do yourself a favor and get that book!
This discussion has been closed.