Looking for a basic review of math (algebra, geometry, fractions, etc)
November 26, 2013 10:39 AM   Subscribe

I have to take a math placement test in the next two weeks that will determine which college class I will place into next semester (January). I have already taken Math 1010 (Intermediate Algebra) and 1030 (Quantitative Reasoning) long ago but those credits do not count any longer towards this current placement. I need to test to see where I fall now. I'm hoping to get into Math 1050 (College Algebra) ideally. My skills are rusty though.

Teachers or math whizzes of AskMefi, do you have any recommendations for good math overviews that will take me through the math basics (mini-lessons, practice problems and tests)?

I am going to get tutored by my little sister next week but I would love a running start going into this and practice practice practice. The results of my initial googling are a bit overwhelming to start. Thanks!
posted by rabu to Education (9 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Work your way through the problems on Khan Academy and if you get some wrong, watch the associated tutorial videos.
posted by Jacqueline at 10:41 AM on November 26, 2013 [4 favorites]

I'm just finishing up Forgotten Algebra by Barbara Lee Bleau (I had the 3rd edition) and it's really easy to understand and has a lot of great problems to work through. You can view the Table of Contents on Amazon to see if it's got what you need. Your local public library might have a copy available for checkout.
posted by jabes at 10:49 AM on November 26, 2013

Do you know what placement test your college uses? Some colleges use their own test, but a lot of them use a standard one like COMPASS or Accuplacer. If your college uses a standard one, there are a lot of test prep materials here.

Also, if you are looking to dedicate some time, ALEKS might be a good fit.
posted by mjcon at 11:08 AM on November 26, 2013

See if you can contact the organization at your school that administers the test and ask them to give you a practice copy or some study guides. That will help you get a sense of the kind of math skills that they're going to be testing on, so that you can study appropriately.
posted by Scientist at 11:29 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I just took the ALEKS! It is pretty exhaustive; it'll show you exaaaactly where you're strong and weak and help you brush up on stuff that's still in your brain, just long-dormant. And I cannot say enough good things about Khan Academy, once you've determined what you DO and DO NOT know - it's the only thing that got me through pre-calc.
posted by julthumbscrew at 11:39 AM on November 26, 2013

Thank you guys! It is the Accuplacer test so I will take that practice test on that link, mjcon.

I have put Forgotten Algebra on hold at my library, jabes, thank you.

And now I'm going through the lessons at Khan Academy. I feel so much better!

Now I've gotta check out ALEKS. Thanks so much for the suggestions.
posted by rabu at 11:41 AM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

I did the exact same thing a couple of years ago, and then last year because I had to take the COMPASS test twice (long story). After that, I placed into Pre-Calculus II both times.

This is what helped me:

1. Khan Academy! Definitely Khan Academy!

2. I also looked at Goodwill, and bought a used High School Algebra textbook. It was like $1.99 or something, but I worked through that one summer. I actually found it kind of relaxing.

3. If you're having to take the COMPASS test, there's a GREAT book out there: Chart Your Success on the COMPASS Test. It wasn't that hot for me when I hit PreCalc levels, but if you're aiming for College Algebra, it should be just fine. You're local library might have it, or you could get it through Inter Library Loan.

4. Talk to the college you're testing at; they may have some resources for you on placement testing. The Seattle Community College System even has orientations and classes you can take for free, where they talk to you about the test, and you go through some sample problems.

5. Lastly, find out what sort of calculator, if any, is allowed for your placement testing. A lot of people nowadays use their smart phones for their calculators, and testing facilities aren't going to allow that. They'll either let you use a regular calculator (which they may provide), or you're restricted to on screen one built into the testing software or the OS.
posted by spinifex23 at 2:46 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

Oh yeah - one last thing - work a little bit every (or nearly every) day. Don't try to cram it all in; you'll just stress yourself out.
posted by spinifex23 at 4:07 PM on November 26, 2013

One more suggestion. If your library has access to the Learning Express Library database, it has practice tests for the Accuplacer in arithmetic, elementary algebra, and college level math. Good luck!
posted by jabes at 4:56 PM on November 26, 2013 [1 favorite]

« Older Don't test me   |   Roots in my root beer: do you have a favorite... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.