Math is one of the most dreaded courses many students face while attending college. But with a little help, it doesn’t have to be.
Many students assume they are terrible at math and won’t be able to pass the required classes, no matter how much help they get. This thought often delays students from taking math early on.
“So many students wait to take their math courses until the end and that forces them to stay in school longer just to get through it,” says Salt Lake Community College academic and career advisor Faye Leapai. “We recommend [students] take care of any math courses in the first couple of semesters … if problems arise, they have time to correct it.”
Study for the Accuplacer
Leapai also encourages students to make time to study before taking the Accuplacer so they can place into the proper level. Students who have not taken math for a long time may underestimate how much they have forgotten.
“Many have to start in remedial math and it can take 2-3 semesters to just get to the required math course,” Leapai says. “Prep courses for the test can be done online though the student testing services page.”
SLCC offers a free 30-minute Accuplacer Preparation Workshop throughout the year at Taylorsville, South City and Jordan campuses.
There are also videos and exams available online for review.
The free online tutoring program Khan Academy features practice exercises, instructional videos and a personalized learning dashboard designed to help students learn to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom.
For those willing to pay for the help in placing higher on the Accuplacer, a company called AcerPlacer offers a paid program designed for students attending any state college in Utah to place at least one course higher in their Accuplacer with a full money back guarantee.
For students who are performing under their desired level, SLCC offers the ability to transfer into Math 0001 within the first five weeks of the semester.
“Depending on where you enter the Math 0001, 0002 or 0003 sequence and how fast you get through the material, you should end up where students exit Math 1010 and take the final, to move to Math 1030, 1040, 1050 or 1090,” says SLCC math professor Joseph Gallegos. “You do have to take the LE 1020 class as a co-requisite if you have not already taken it.”
Incentive to start early
SLCC actually provides tuition help for those who take math during their first year. For each class successfully completed during the first year, the school will pay anywhere from $100-$300 depending on the level as a reimbursement.
Why math matters
Leapai stresses the importance of starting early and using the resources the school provides because there is no way to test out of math; students who fail a required course will have to take the course again.
“Many students end up taking math over and over because they are not prepared,” Leapai says. “Waiting until you are almost done with school to take math courses can really put you in a bind when it comes to graduating.”
Bottom line, students who prepare or get help as early as possible have a better chance of getting through college math without unnecessary hurdles.