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Old 12-17-2013, 01:06 PM
 
9 posts, read 14,195 times
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Hi, I'm looking to go back to school for a Computer Science degree. Some of the courses have Math prerequisites up to like Pre-Calculus/Calculus I/II. Math has been perhaps my greatest weakness, and I've not had a course above intermediate algebra before. The last time I took that course was in community college maybe 10 years ago now, and I had to withdraw from it due to work demands at the time.

Rather than take a math assessment test at a community college, and getting placed in a low-level math class, working my way up semester by semester to where I need to be, would anyone instead recommend independent self-study to at least the intermediate algebra level or slightly higher? I'm considering of devoting a semester to self-study, starting with elementary/intermediate alegebra, and then taking a placement test to take the rest of my needed Math course work in-class. Maybe starting with pre-calculus by fall 2014, if I take all of spring and summer 2014 to self-study and get take an assessment exam.

If you recommend going that route rather than starting with elementary algebra or below, and then taking maybe 4 semesters (2 years) to get to pre-calculus (which I think would be too late given my degree goals), is there a good online resource/site for structured self-study? Or would textbooks be the way to go? I have my old intermediate algebra textbook still.

Also, I've been looking at reputable universities that offer online bachelor's and master's degree programs, like Penn State University World Campus, which also offers some programs in computer science. I was wondering if anyone can recommend any others on the same level? I'm not really wanting to consider Devry or the like, in part because the credits are not transferable and because it may be perceived by some employers as a lesser-valued degree. If you know of other universities with full online degree programs that have good acceptance rates, I'd appreciate if you could share.

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by ET_phonehome; 12-17-2013 at 01:16 PM..
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:41 PM
 
Location: Hampton Roads
3,032 posts, read 4,703,503 times
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i would get an old edition of all of the books that your school uses for those courses, maybe track down a professor for it and ask for a copy of the syllabus....

if you need help on anything, i would actually recommend youtube. there are loads of math teachers/professors who love what they do and have taken videos of themselves sharing their knowledge to the world.

I'd also use: Khan Academy
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Berkeley Neighborhood, Denver, CO USA
17,647 posts, read 29,443,741 times
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Default Do some more research

1. Your profile says you live in California. Have you looked at the public college system?
2. The cost of the Penn State program is $60K and they do not offer a computer science degree.
3. Don't even think about a for-profit "school" such as DeVry.

4. First, determine what college you will attend.
5. Find out their exact requirements and how can satisfy them.
6. Hire a math tutor to push you and guide you.
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Old 12-17-2013, 01:48 PM
 
210 posts, read 154,005 times
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I am in a similar situation, as my last college math class was college algebra in 1996. I am pursuing a BS and I still need to take calculus, business math, and statistics. My county requires that I take a placement test since it's been so long, even though calculus is the next class in the sequence. I have opted to work with a tutor (a high school math teacher) to get me up to speed. I have been doing that since May, reviewing ALLLL of algebra from the beginning. I need to take the placement test in a month, before the spring semester starts. I'd recommend a tutor if you can swing it.
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:38 PM
 
49,924 posts, read 35,508,413 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcsangel2 View Post
I am in a similar situation, as my last college math class was college algebra in 1996. I am pursuing a BS and I still need to take calculus, business math, and statistics. My county requires that I take a placement test since it's been so long, even though calculus is the next class in the sequence. I have opted to work with a tutor (a high school math teacher) to get me up to speed. I have been doing that since May, reviewing ALLLL of algebra from the beginning. I need to take the placement test in a month, before the spring semester starts. I'd recommend a tutor if you can swing it.
I second that! Math as never my strong suit, and I had to take statistics in a compressed 6-week summer course in order to meet the requirements of the program I was transferring into in the fall, and I never would have passed without the professional tutor I hired.

If you are good at self-learning and find math comes pretty easily for you, then maybe look at online courses (there are many, often free) but for me, I have problems with math and I really needed to ask questions and have my hand held to a certain extent in order to really learn the concepts enough to do well on the tests. I ended up with an A!
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Old 12-17-2013, 07:39 PM
 
1,049 posts, read 2,992,411 times
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I would try to test into college algebra and go from there. Any reasonably intelligent person (certainly anybody considering a computer science degree) should be able to test into that. Also, FWIW, most community colleges will allow you to take college algebra even if you tested into a lower class. I also don't believe its possible to test higher than college algebra, before you will be required to have the credits to get the degree.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:42 PM
 
9 posts, read 14,195 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davebarnes View Post
1. Your profile says you live in California. Have you looked at the public college system?
2. The cost of the Penn State program is $60K and they do not offer a computer science degree.
3. Don't even think about a for-profit "school" such as DeVry.

4. First, determine what college you will attend.
5. Find out their exact requirements and how can satisfy them.
6. Hire a math tutor to push you and guide you.
Hi, regarding #2, my work would pay for it.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:44 PM
 
9 posts, read 14,195 times
Reputation: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcsangel2 View Post
I am in a similar situation, as my last college math class was college algebra in 1996. I am pursuing a BS and I still need to take calculus, business math, and statistics. My county requires that I take a placement test since it's been so long, even though calculus is the next class in the sequence. I have opted to work with a tutor (a high school math teacher) to get me up to speed. I have been doing that since May, reviewing ALLLL of algebra from the beginning. I need to take the placement test in a month, before the spring semester starts. I'd recommend a tutor if you can swing it.
Hi, would you mind sharing how much it cost you to hire a math tutor? and how often you meet? do you feel it is advantageous compared to independent study?

also, do you think brushing up on algebra will be enough to get you placed where you want to be after taking the assessment test?
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Hampton Roads
3,032 posts, read 4,703,503 times
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Honestly, if you don't want to pay for tutoring, use khan academy or youtube for help. I don't think tutoring is necessary if you can learn on your own and stay dedicated to it.
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:59 AM
 
4,059 posts, read 5,572,601 times
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Math textbooks suck all the life and fun out of math.

They're probably useful for making a list of topic areas you might need to cover, but I wouldn't just sit down with one. Something like 'Algebra for Dummies' (or the 'Idiot's Guide...') is going to be better.

Ignore the insulting moniker - that series at least tries to integrate topics and explain 'why' you'd want to understand them. Depending on the specific author they may or may not succeed, but at the least it won't be worse than a textbook, and your local public library may carry it.

And Khan or other interactive online resources may suit your learning style better than sitting down to read, as others have suggested.
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