Oct 12, 2013 03:42am
Tips for making math easier
Date: 
October 11, 2013 - 12:50pm

Math is simple in general. But in college, math becomes a big deal, a monster even, especially for non-science major students. 

Math becomes a big monster because you have to retake it if you mess up. Otherwise, you cannot finish your Associates Degree and go to a University. It is all about money and time. 

While you are looking at your transcript, you find out that you have to take a math class. You may think back to all the bad times you had with math in high school. Then, you start talking to a friend.

You tell your friend that you hate math and don’t want to take it. If your friend also has bad memories, she or he may answer you, “Yes, I know that feeling bro.” And then, you both conspire ways to escape it.   

Here are some tips on making math a bit easier here at EvCC.

Instructors: Easy vs. Hardcore

A way to escape could be finding an easy teacher, and sticking with that easy teacher until you finish your math requirement.

From personal experience, there is no big difference between easy instructors and hard instructors.

“Math is hard to change in our level,” said Bob Killingstad, who has been teaching at Everett Community College for 43 years. Killingstad said the way he learned math and teaches math haven’t changed that much.

The difference between easy instructors and hard instructors would be the flexibility. No one hates take home quizzes and exams, but there are no differences between them and in-class exams. You have to do the math if you want to learn.

Why Math?

You could also wonder why you need to take math if you are majoring in music, graphic design or other majors that just seem like they don’t need it.

Education should not turn people down. In contrast, education, at least, should help humans to solve issues in reality. Why are we learning the math that we don’t need to use in stores or gas stations?

Mike Nevins, a math instructor at EvCC, explained that learning math can improve your problem solving ability.

“If you are the boss, you don’t want to hire someone who cannot calculate basic math,” said Nevins.

College math trains problem solving ability. While solving math questions and doing calculations, progress requires carefully thought out steps. Finding the right method to solve an equation resembles finding a tool to solve work issues.

Moreover, Killingstad explained that math in college can relate to all majors because math requires several skills which can be used in any kind of classes.

Critical thinking ability, organized information and decrypting symbols are used in every class.

“You have to identify the data by critical thinking before you use it because there [is] some wrong data,” Killingstad added.

What makes you afraid of math?

According to Killingstad, people are afraid of math because they are told that math is hard, and that stereotype makes math a roadblock. Students have an illusion to combine failure and difficulty together.

Carelessness, distraction and misunderstanding would be the reason for failure, not difficulty. 

“There are so many distractions and burdens that make the students not focus on college classes,” Killingstad said. The age range in community college is 16 to 60. To handle work and classes is by no means easy.

“Math needs practice,” Killingstad emphasized, “It is just like football games. If the Seahawks haven’t practiced, they cannot win the game.”

Doing homework helps regionalize the concept. It helps to practice the operation, so skipping the homework is a reason for failure.

International students who come from Asia will say math in this country is easy because math questions are a mandatory part of every day life. Practice works.

Failing is another reason why people are afraid of math. “In the beginning of the quarter, students step in the classroom [crazy] nervous.” Nevins explained, “So my job is to help them to set up their confidence during the quarter.”

Different Math Classes

Classes below 100, such as math 91, 92, 98 and 99, teach the basic algebra operations to help students get ready for the college algebra class. 

Calculator or no Calculator

In general, instructors will not allow the use of calculators in basic math classes because they want to make sure you can remember the basic concepts in the calculation progress.

“If you can prove that you know how to do the calculation process to the instructor, we might let you use the calculator,” said Killingstad.

A tutoring center is currently located at Index Hall. Student helpers and instructors are willing to help students with any academic problems. 

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