How to Pass College Algebra?
Algebra, created by the Persian mathematician Al Khwarizmi in 810 AD, is one of the toughest disciples of mathematics. Understanding college-level algebra is a prerequisite for higher-level mathematics and science programs, and varies with school systems.
Mastering the basic concepts of Algebra is necessary, despite them being tricky. How to pass college algebra is a key question. Don’t worry, we will be covering that today so stay with us, and find out tips and strategies to pass college algebra.
A Word of Caution!
Acquiring complete command of algebra is not a simple task due to its confusing, lengthy, and tricky nature. It all comes down to attending classes, practicing it daily, and discussing your problems with your professor. Plus, you should not only rely on your college professor to help you out. If algebra intimidates you, it is cool to get outside help just like you are now by reading this article.
Procrastinating and solving some questions the night before the exam will be of no help at all- you have been warned! Most students have a habit of working on their algebra problems at the eleventh hour. Even you might be guilty of leaving things to the last minute!
Every college has a different syllabus for college algebra. That said, the basic algebraic operations, linear and quadratic equations, inequalities and graphs, algebraic exponential, and logarithmic functions are a part of most syllabi. It is essential to grasp these concepts to do well in your college algebra examinations.
Let us now walk you through the strategies you can use to mend your relationship with algebra and pass the subject.
Revise the Basics
In algebra, the power of each number is called an exponential. When a number is written without any power, the exponent of that number is 1. The following rules of exponents are observed throughout algebra:
With each passing algebra level, the formulas and the equations tend to become difficult and tricky. The most basic algebraic equations are as follows:
- Algebraic identities:
- Quadratic Equation:
In order to solve the quadratic equation
we use the quadratic formula.
As easy as these seem, it is essential to brush up on these.
Prepare Beforehand Please!
You must prepare for most mathematics subjects, including algebra, in advance. Here are some ways to do so:
- Read, and read some more: Reading the chapter on your own is generally the simplest way to get the hang of what the chapter is trying to tell us. Please go through the different processes and steps, and practice them independently. If you do not understand it on the first read, give it another read. The more you read the chapters, the better you will understand them. Keep a highlighter with you at all times. Highlight anything you don’t understand, need help with, or would like to practice more.
- Algebra rules and tricks: In order to understand algebra properly, you will need to know the basic major rules. This includes the concept of PEMDAS (Parenthesis, Exponents, Multiplication, Division, Addition, Subtraction), which is used in almost every algebra problem, one way or the other. Algebra rules and tricks need to be practiced on a daily basis for them to become second nature, as lack of practice will cause numerous confusions.
- Take notes: Taking notes when studying helps you prepare well for every subject, especially algebra. It also helps you study better on your own too. When taking a class, jot down notes in your notebook, and discuss them with your classmates, or the professor later.
- Watch tutorials: The internet plays a vital role in our lives, even when studying. You can easily find many videos on the web explaining college algebra, including linear equations, quadratic equations, etc. Find some helpful algebra tutorials, and watch them keenly. For better results, practice an equation and formula while the instructor teaches it in the tutorials.
- Get the manual: Purchasing the student manual for college algebra is a good idea too. Manuals generally have the answers for questions in the coursebook and explain the steps performed.
- Join an online study group: Joining online groups related to algebra can help you out a lot too. You will come across many people who can offer much help in resolving your queries and brushing up your algebraic concepts.
- Knowing your calculator: When it comes to algebra, having a scientific calculator can solve almost all your problems, despite seeming tricky. A scientific calculator can look confusing as it has numerous keys for over 50 different functions. However, you can always learn new and cool calculator shortcuts to solve your answer quickly and efficiently.
Take Casses Regularly
Once your classes begin, make sure to attend them regularly. Many students struggle with passing college algebra because they miss out on too many classes.
Make sure you take care of the following things:
- Always be the first person in the classroom: Being the first person into class is always a good move as most students take time coming to the class. In that time, you can easily tell your professor about the questions you solved and ask for his/ her help regarding the questions you struggled with. Teachers also often hint about the questions they plan to ask in the upcoming tests and quizzes, and if you’re the first student there, you will not miss it. Coming to the class on time also allows you to choose your own seat in which you feel most comfortable.
- Leave the class after everyone else: Being the last person to leave is another good move. You can easily discuss your algebra ambiguities with the teacher before he/ she leaves.
- Sit at the front: Choosing a seat near the front of the classroom helps you stay focused. Students often chat more at the back, resulting in massive distractions from the lecture. Sitting at the front helps keep your focus intact and allows you to easily ask questions from the professor.
- Stay focused: Staying focused in classes, especially algebra, is crucial for understanding the lectures. Since algebra classes have long and confusing questions, minor distractions tend to disrupt your attention. Apart from sitting at the front, avoid fidgeting with your phone or other things. Also, sit with attentive students who are good in algebra and don’t talk unnecessarily during the lecture.
- Have the essential stationery: The main resources needed for an algebra class are pencils, pens, erasers, sharpeners, rulers, graph paper, and the specified calculators. If you have these essentials, you can easily practice the equations during the lecture and not get distracted. Having all your resources will allow you to compete the given assignments on time and work quickly.
Never Skip The After Class Studying
Drill this one rule in your mind: studying is a MUST after class! Just because you have attended a double Algebra class on a Monday morning doesn’t mean you’ve perfectly understood the material. It is best if you daily revise the lectures you had in class to better understand the concept. If any doubts arise, you can always ask the teachers for help the next day.
Do not hesitate to ask your professors for extra help. They are there to guide you and would appreciate you approaching them for further assistance. You can also plan after-school study groups with your friend to refine your algebra concepts and pass the subject easily.
Passing The Actual College Algebra Exam!
The complete semester has passed. The final exams are upon you. Have you followed all the steps mentioned above? Are you ready for the exams?
You have nothing to fear if you have answered “yes” to the above questions. We are steps away from making sure you pass college algebra and move on to the more difficult algebra.
The following points will enable you to have a pleasant exam:
- Remain calm: The first thing to remember is to remain calm. Being tense about exams will only shake your confidence and cause stress during the exam. A good strategy to maintain your calm is to remember that you have pace yourself, one step at a time. Worrying about the future only makes you stressed in the present, which can mess up the future. Algebra is tricky, but it is not impossible to pass.
- Put in more hours: Give more hours to your algebra practice by cutting down your leisure time and extracurricular activities for some time. Cutting down on your leisure hours is not permanent. Instead of allowing leisure time of two hours, cutting it down to 1 hour will not affect your mental health much, but it will certainly increase your focus level in the upcoming Algebra exam.
- Stay motivated: Try to stay motivated and focused on your subject. Staying motivated is easy for you if you have followed all the steps mentioned in the article For the entire semester, you have taken Algebra seriously and focused on each and every lecture. You have watched countless YouTube videos, asked your friends and teachers for help, and even taken extra classes. Countless students have passed and aced Algebra before; you will ace it now too.
- Keep yourself well-fed: Keep yourself hydrated and well-fed to avoid any illness. Keeping yourself well fed in exams is a difficult yet necessary task. When the exams approach, students tend to get tense and skip meals. This affects their mental and physical health which leads to underperforming in the exams. If you are guilty of neglecting your health during the exam phase, make sure to address that. Eat three square meals a day. Have healthy snacks and fruits in between meals. Drink lots of water and fresh juices.
- Rest properly: Exams stress us out to the point that students often disregard something that they look forward to the most: sleep. A good 8 hours sleep is enough for the mind and body to work efficiently. If you have trouble dozing off, take deep breaths to clear your mind of undue worries about the upcoming Algebra exam. Inhale to a count of 4 through your nose, and exhale to a count of 6 through your mouth. Breathe deeply in this manner for about 10 times, and you’ll feel relaxed. You may find your thoughts wandering off to your algebra exam. When that happens, tell yourself, ‘I can do this’, and divert your attention to your breathing. If you have followed our steps to the letter, you will be able to ace the upcoming exam.
- Recheck!: While attempting a tricky exam, we tend to overthink and make silly mistakes. In order to avoid making silly mistakes, always remember to recheck every step of the problem right after solving it. This will save your time when compared to checking the entire answer after solving it.
Are You Ready To Ace College Algebra?
It is understandable if your answer to this question is still, ‘Erm, I don’t know, I guess I am.’ Some nervousness is bound to remain. It is a part of the process of trying to do better. Despite the anxiety, remember that if you have prepared well for it, you will pass your college algebra exam for sure!
The grade for your algebra exam all comes down to how much you practice algebra. If you are well prepared before the classes, attentive in the classes, work hard after the classes, remain motivated and stay calm during the exams, you will easily ace your algebra exam. If you have passed the college algebra exam with hard work and proper concentration, the next algebra level should not be too difficult for you, provided you keep following all the rules.
Remember we are here to guide you constantly. Return to this space every time you struggle with basic algebra, linear algebra, calculus, or any other field of mathematics. You will always find help here.