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Tips for College Prep Math


1. Begin at the proper level - If you "guessed" at most of the questions on the CPT placement test and got lucky, chances are you do not have the math skills for the level you were placed in. If you plan to take College Algebra, you should have completed a minimum of two years of high school algebra and have a math score of 20 or above on the ACT Enhanced or a math score of 450 or above on the SAT I.

·          Even if you took high school algebra, you may need to take one or more refresher courses, depending on the length of time you have been away from school.

·          If you have never taken algebra, don't set yourself up for failure! Begin with Basic Algebra I.

2. Know your strengths and weaknesses - Don't expect to acquire in one semester all of the skills you need for college. You cannot take prep math, prep reading, prep English, strategies, work full time, and meet family obligations.

·          If math was not your strongest subject in high school, concentrate on improving your math skills.

·          If you are working full time and have a family, begin by taking fewer courses. College courses place added stress and workload on students. Allow yourself at least one semester to adjust to the demands of college, work, and family.

·          Contrary to prevailing myth, you do not need to be enrolled full time to receive financial aid. Part-time students can receive state and federal financial aid. Consult with a financial aid counselor or visit the financial aid website.

3. Balance your course load - If you are planning to take more than one class, consider the combination of classes you select. It is not advisable to take more than two college preparatory courses in the same term or to take these courses in an express term. College preparatory courses cover more material than many courses taken for credit.

·          If you are weak in certain areas, such as math, reading, or writing, try to balance these courses with courses you are strong in. If you feel pressured, talk to your instructor or see an advisor. You may need to make changes to your schedule.

·          Students are more successful when they take sequential courses back-to-back. If you complete Basic Algebra I, immediately enroll in Basic Algebra II. Don't avoid taking the next level because you don't like algebra. Algebra builds on itself. If you wait, you may forget information that makes the next course easier.

4. Don't get discouraged and give up - A positive attitude helps! Tell yourself you can learn math.

·          Learning is a personal experience. Some people learn by doing, others learn by watching or listening. The way you acquire new information, how you process and recall it is called your "learning style."


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