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Independent-study classes vs. Regular classes

What types of class to register for?

Students register for regular classes, in most cases. Independent-study classes, however, have long been an excellent option for many of our adult students. Whether it is good to do independent studies depends on studentsí personal situations.

One of our recent studies finds that the score averages in independent-study classes are lower than those of regular classes; and the score distributions are not as even as in the regular classes. For instance, it is possible that there are eight As, ten Bs, three Cs, one D, and two Fs in a regular class; but, it is not strange to see ten As, seven Bs, three Cs and twelve Fs in an independent-study class. Certainly, there are various reasons behind these numbers. Our primitive assumption is that the well-disciplined, well-organized individuals successfully completed all requirements while enjoying the time flexibility of these independent-study classes; but those less disciplined and less organized students found no luck in these classes. Independent study does not only mean time flexibility; it also means self-discipline and commitment.

Tips for Success in College Algebra

College Algebra is required for many students because it opens the door to many fields. It is a demanding course, which covers many topics within a limited time frame.

If you are required to take College Algebra, you should do some homework before registering for it, making sure you can survive or complete the class successfully. The following are some tips for success:

  1. Complete the diagnostic assessment to make sure you are academically ready to take College Algebra, or you place into this class. Otherwise, it is highly likely that you will waste your time and money due to dropping, withdrawing or failing the class.

  2. After knowing that you are academically ready for this class, plan your schedule carefully. Donít register for too many other classes at the same time. Remember this class requires a lot of work outside of class.

  3. Try to avoid missing class for travel or any other reason during the semester you take College Algebra. It is not easy to catch up after missing classes because each class covers a number of topics and each topic requires many exercises.

  4. Get a graphic calculator as soon as you have registered for the class and attend a workshop on how to use the calculator before class begins. Knowing how to use this calculator will reduce anxiety, especially at the beginning of the class.

  5. The techniques for teaching mathematics have changed quite a bit recently. Donít panic if it looks different from what you may have seen many years ago. In general, the changes have reduced the amount of computations. This has allowed more time to concentrate on concepts and problems solving techniques that link mathematics with the real world.

In short, youíll succeed, or at least survive, if you are academically prepared, will not miss classes and do homework after class.

    P.S. Many students are anxious about College Algebra. An advisor who hadnít touched math for many years decided to experience what students go through in class. She took the math assessment, placed at College Algebra, registered for the class in Spring 2000, attended every class meeting, did the homework, took the exams and received a letter grade at the end. This advisor wrote the above tips.

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