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What to do if Math II is way over my head?

waitingforcalwaitingforcal Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
So I've been using a Barron's Math II book that has been absolutely no help to me. I've been getting 400s on the practice tests, I don't understand any of the concepts whatsoever (my highest math is Pre-calc, got an A). I knew that Barron's was harder than the actual test so I looked online and did some of those practice tests (collegeboard and random sites): still, way too hard! I didn't understand any of it!

I'm taking Math II in October and will be apply to many UCs and CSUs these coming months as a computer engineering major. I NEED to score as high as possible obviously. What should I do? I don't even understand the basics, where do I start? Is there some kind of online (free, preferably) study guide that I just haven't found?

Thank you.
Post edited by waitingforcal on

Replies to: What to do if Math II is way over my head?

  • niightingaleniightingale Registered User Posts: 99 Junior Member
    how in the world did you end up with an A in precalc if you're lost on these concepts?!?!?!
  • waitingforcalwaitingforcal Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    I have no idea. I mean, I've used most of these concepts, I've done problems LIKE these but on a much less complex level. And even then, I had the formulas in front of me and I knew which direction to take.

    This is what happens when I do a practice problem:
    I read the question.
    I don't know how to answer the question.
    I try to work it out, but with no success.
    I look at the answer and explanation.
    I recognize the path they took to come up with the answer but there are so many steps missing that I wouldn't know how to end up with the answer.

    I just wish there was much more explanation, someone to dumb everything down for me.
  • YAHAYAHA Registered User Posts: 359 Member
    "where do I start?"

    1) You start with possibly reconsidering your major choice.
    2) There is nothing in Barrons book that cannot be done with Precalc knowledge (well, only conic sections maybe a little stretch). I am not implying anything, but this is exactly the reason why standardized tests exist. If you cannot get a 700+ on Math II, it will put a serious question mark behind your A in the pre calc class (once again, not implying anything, but have you ever heard of grade inflation?). The test is doable, you just picked the wrong book IMHO. Barrons is a good book to serve as a refresher for those who are good with math, but it can be confusing for those who find math somewhat challenging.

    P.S. I dont see why everyone considers Barron to be "harder than the actual test". Although I havent taken the actual test yet, I find Barrons tests very comparable with other prep books.
  • waitingforcalwaitingforcal Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    I know I can DO this stuff; I've done it before, just usually with more guidance. What book should I use then, if not Barron's?
  • lotm30923lotm30923 Registered User Posts: 24 New Member

    I noticed your post and realized I too have the same issues. The following are a couple web sites I've found to be quite useful in alleviating somewhat that manichean struggle between literacy and numeracy.

    Chicago undergraduate mathematics bibliography

    Teaching Yourself to Learn: Study Smarter, Not Harder

    Best of luck and do not ever give up.
  • YAHAYAHA Registered User Posts: 359 Member
    I cannot issue a recommendation on the book. I am using Barrons only and thats why I drew the conclusion written above. There has to be a book out there thats more explanatory. Do your research or ask on this board.
  • noimaginationnoimagination Registered User Posts: 7,054 Senior Member
    Barron's is more challenging than other books I've seen, but it isn't that bad. You might try working up through the levels of these contests. The higher grade levels are far more difficult than Barron's, but the lower ones might help you out.
  • waitingforcalwaitingforcal Registered User Posts: 231 Junior Member
    Thank you, lotm, for those articles and the encouragement! Especially the studying one, I now know exactly where to study!

    And thank you, no imagination! That is exactly what I was looking for to refresh!
  • Mamooie312Mamooie312 Registered User Posts: 294 Junior Member
    Dude, Barron's is screwed up. They ask questions like what is the curvature of the humerus of the hyperbola.
  • firestormfirestorm Registered User Posts: 8 New Member
    Yeesh. Admittedly, conic sections I have all but given up on, and logarithms are a close second. However, I'm still easily scoring 700+...I suggest going to your teacher with some questions. I've done that with my chem and math teachers, and they've both been quite helpful.
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