I am terrible at math and I am desperate to learn and understand it

<pre><code>I really am sick and fed up with being so bad at math and I want to improve and get to know it really well. I am a geoscience major and I need lots of math and I will actually use it once I get out in the field. So far I have taken up to calc I successfully, now I am struggling with calc II, I have to take calc III and physics II. I am to the point where I am tired of struggling and being frustrated at math, and I refuse to give up on it. I actually enjoy math when I understand what I am doing and why I am doing it. For example, I took trig 4 times, but now I can honestly say I know it by the back of my hand and I can confidently help people in trig.However, I have trouble with these upper level maths like calc I, II, III because it requires hairy algebra sometimes. Physics also requires these skills and I am just not strong enough.
You may be reading this and wondering "Why do you want to be good at math"? There are a few reasons:

<p>1) I have struggled with it for so long, I'm not going to give up on it and and just try to pass my classes and never think of it again. I actually want to understand and learn it.
2) I love my major and I don't want math to defeat me where I end up changing my major "just because math is hard"
3) I honestly think math is a very important and useful tool/skill and I want to be able to understand figures better and understand numbers in general.
4) I actually have a drive to WANT to learn math and UNDERSTAND it. I don't want to major in it, I'm not saying I love it, but it is important to learn and it will be helpful to me in the future.
So where should I start? I have all of my old college algebra books, should I just try to teach myself the most critical skills over the summer, reteach myself trig, and calc and understand the concepts? My problem is is end up spending so many hours working homework problems and studying, but I realize that my algebra skills and very weak and it keeps my from being able to do problems. I was studying calc II with a classmate and I realized how incredibly weak I was in algebra and I couldn't figure out basic rules for exponents and what not. Needless to say it was really embarrassing because that is high school stuff. So that is another reason why I want to get better, so I am not shamefully bad at math. Do you think my approach is a good one by going back and reteaching myself these key concepts and relearning material completely? Do you recommend any other methods? Thanks a bunch!!!</p>

<p>Yeah, you should probably re-learn some topics in basic algebra. I have tutored students in calculus and other advanced subjects, who have not had enough algebra or trig experience (e.g. forgot the quadratic formula, or a simple trig identity), and it is difficult.</p>

<p>There are many resources online (e.g. Khan Academy). AoPS also has really good resources.</p>

<p>Start with algebra/advanced-algebra and move on to cal (If you know Trig well, geometry probably wont be necessary)</p>


<p>That’s the foundation, without algebra you’re not EVER going to go anywhere.</p>

<p>Geometry too (if you care about life applications)</p>

<p>Another vote for AoPS, although it takes a long time to truly work through and understand all the concepts.</p>