If you were going to attempt to teach yourself pre-algebra up to and somewhat through college level algebra, where would you start?

My reasoning here is that I have gotten 3/4 of the way through remedial math that is one level below college algebra in two separate courses. So, twice now, I seem to

*just almost* get it, and then have trouble with the final concepts in pre-algebra and beginning algebra.

I have had tutors, various math teachers, various programs and textbooks. The one time I did the best and had the easiest time was when we used a complimentary computer program outside of class, called

**ALEKS**, and I have looked and discovered that I can use ALEKS again for $20 a month, so I am considering that as part of my plan of attack.

I also read a recommendation for a book,

*Practical Algebra: A self teaching guide* and I would love to hear other recommendations for someone with definite math "issues". It is likely I have dyscalculia but was not diagnosed (I am actually hoping to be tested this month), and I think that I can learn this stuff but obviously

* not* the way it has been taught to me in the past. So, I thought, why not try and teach myself with the aid of the internet, YouTube, and various other helpers? Maybe Khan academy?

It's certainly cheaper than spending almost a grand on a remedial math course at my school (again). Not to mention, if I can get past it without taking the test, it saves me a semester on finishing my degree because I have 2 other courses being held up by my math requirements remaining unfulfilled.

My goal is to re-take the COMPASS math placement test at my university and pass with a 66 or higher, to be able to skip the remedial class and go directly into college algebra but with confidence so I don't worry about failing it. My last COMPASS score was a 34! That was before taking any math though, when I first went back to school in 2008. I have six months or so to do this if it is going to benefit me by letting me go straight to college algebra, but if I could do it sooner that would be better, allowing me to take the college algebra over the summer instead. That may be a bit too ambitious though, considering the difficulty I have historically shown to have in this subject.

I don't even know if it will work, so I don't want to pay for some expensive program, but I figure it can't hurt to try and if it doesn't work I won't be any worse off than I am currently and I'll take the remedial class again. I would love to hear any book/dvd/program recommendations. Preferably inexpensive.

Edited to add:
I am 41 years old, a college senior (1st Bachelor's degree, transferred from community last semester), a high school dropout (got my GED the same year I quit school though), and failed Algebra in high school. Passed pre-algebra in high school but barely.

At my community college, I failed pre-algebra back in 1991 then quit community college for other reasons. I returned to school in 2008 (!), started at the beginning. The remedial math courses there are

*0300 Basic Mathematics, 0301 Intro to Algebra, 0302 Elementary Algebra, 0303 Intermediate Algebra* -- those are all "developmental" /remedial, and after that you can take college level algebra. I don't know why they label them "Elementary" and "Intermediate", to me they are just pre algebra, pre-pre algebra, etc.

I have taken all of those, you can see my grade go down each level.

Got an A, then a B, then a C, and then at the end a D and a grade of "IP", or "in-progress" -- my instructor said she gave me that grade because she didn't think I was totally lost, just that I needed a bit more time to grasp the concepts and move on to college algebra and the IP grade doesn't hurt your GPA like the others. Took the last one last semester (at my 4 year university, all others were taken at the community college) but withdrew when it became clear I was going to fail it again.