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You’ve probably heard the rumors: “MATH 1065 (College Algebra) is the most failed ECU course” and “There’s not even one good MATH 1065 teacher here.” If Math isn’t your strong subject, then these comments probably aren’t making you too excited to hit submit on your schedule equipped with this “terrible” course. It’s really not all that bad, and it’s only one semester. Get it out of the way and you’re golden. Here’s a few tips on how to get in and get out, and hopefully get a good grade.

1. Get a Good Teacher

There are good teachers for MATH 1065 (Unlike Art History), and it’s not hard to decide which one you’d learn best with. Use programs like RateMyProfessor.com to read reviews on all of the available options for professors. Some are more strict than others with work, some offer extra credit, find the one that you think will work best for you. If you like your teacher, theres a better chance you’ll like the class.

2. Don’t Make it a Burden to Go To

Basically, if you’re not a morning person, don’t sign up for the 8am class. That will only give you more of a reason to skip. Find a time in your day that’s not too early or too late so that the class isn’t a burden to go to. You don’t want to have MATH at 6pm on a Friday. When all your friends are already done their classes, they’re going to be the devil on your shoulder inciting you to skip and go out.

3. GO TO CLASS

Yes, it sucks. You hate math. But get this, the more class time you skip, the more work you have to do by yourself (and as college students we both know that Netflix sounds like a lot better of a past time than math problems when you’re sitting at home). A few teachers also have quizzes every single class day too, so missing a class could be detrimental to your grade. Even if you sit in class completely unmotivated and just stare at the same 3 problems for an hour, that’s still 3 more problems than you probably would’ve done at home, and at least you’ll get the attendance points.

4. If You Don’t Know, Ask/Make Use of Your Resources

You’ve heard this before, but it’s not as demeaning as you think to raise your hand and ask a question. Odds are more than half the rest of the students in your class are having the same problem. Your teachers are there to answer your questions. Joyner offers free tutors as well that can answer any of your questions whenever you sign up to work with them. They are a great FREE resource that ECU offers, there’s no excuse not to go if you’re lost with the material. The most satisfying feeling in the world is finally just getting something and having it “click,” and sometimes that only takes seconds of explanation to happen. You’ll never know if you don’t ask.

Another resource is “Amnesty Day.” Here at ECU we have one day of “amnesty” where every homework or assignment that you didn’t complete (or forgot about) will be accepted at little to no penalty. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS DAY. Little things like one homework can bring you from an 89% to a 90%. Do not use this day as an excuse to not do your work though. Soon that “one” homework you decided you’d do on Amnesty Day will turn into two, and then three, and then four; If you didn’t want to do one in the first place, what makes you think you’re going to do 13 homework assignments on one day??

5. Make Friends in Your Class

Study groups can be a saving grace. Working with other people to study and really working through a situation in a low intensity situation in a Joyner Study room is such a great way to get more comfortable with the material. Plus, you’ll make more friends which is always a plus.

Even if math isn’t your strongest subject, take advantage of everything you have and give it all you’ve got and it’ll be over in no time. It’s only College Algebra after all.

PSA: Calculus students, you’re on your own.


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Julia Morris


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