How to Study Math After Twenty Years

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Whether you’re going for your Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s, or Masters, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to take a mandatory math class as part of your studies. Math class may have been stressful the first time around in high school, but for those of us going back to study after a substantial amount of time out of school, it can be especially daunting.


If the idea of studying math again after a few decades out of school makes you nervous, here some ideas on how to get you get back in the groove.  You’ll find that in preparing for college math, you will also sharpen your general study skills and academic acuity – getting you in the best mental shape before starting on the path towards your new degree.


Know What Math Courses Are Required for Your Degree

The first step towards preparing for college math is to know what you’re up against. Check out the required courses for your chosen degree program and find out how many math credits are required of you, and what exact type of math you’ll need to study.


Here are some examples of different degree programs and the math courses required for each:


Business Administration

To succeed in today’s business world, math is key!  Math will be a part of any Business Administration student’s studies as they learn the fundamentals of accounting and economics.

Required Courses: Statistics, Algebra, Calculus, Economics and Accounting.


Computer Science

Tech is the meeting place of science, math, and design.  Naturally, a strong base in mathematics will be a part of any Computer Science degree program.

Required Courses: Algorithms and Calculus, as well as other courses that will involve mathematics like Databases, Programming, and Artificial Intelligence.


Health Sciences

As part of a health sciences education, students learn to gather and evaluate important data pertaining to public health, utilizing math for practical application in this field.

Required Courses: Statistics and College Algebra. 


1. Prep for College Math with University of the People

University of the People created a “Prepare for university” section where we offer our own preparation guides for students to prepare for their upcoming classes. These guides can also be used if you are not a prospective student at UoPeople since the material is pretty similar everywhere. In the preparation for university section, you can also find prep for Math courses, including the prep guide for college algebra and prep guide for statistics


Working with a study guide on your own time is also a great way to practice independent study skills, a skill that will be very important one for a UoPeople student as well as in your future job. 


2. Read a book for College Math

There are many great books that are designed to help you refresh your math abilities. Math books are very well distributed and you can find them in almost any bookstore. You can also search for books to purchase online, in a paper format or in an e-textbook version, the later one is a good way to save you shipping time and money.


Here are some links to some good study guides for college math:

For College Algreba, try “College Algebra Demystified.”

For College Calculus, try “The Calculus Lifesaver.”

For College Statistics, try “Statistics for Dummies.”


Independent study requires self-motivation and discipline, so make sure you take this practice seriously. Select the best book you can find for the type of math you need to study and determine how far you want to get each week.

Make a study calendar and stick to it!  Set aside an hour a day to work through the exercises in your guidebook. 


3. Form or Join a Study Group for College Math


If college math is a challenge for you, chances are it’s challenging for some of your peers as well.


To form a study group of your peers, use your universities social network.  For example, UoPeople uses Yammer to connect students to encourage them to solve problems together. Even before beginning your studies, you can offer to your fellow peers to create a study group to prepare for college math. This is a great way to discuss difficulties and share insights.  


4. Find a Math Tutor

If you still feel overwhelmed and anxious thinking of your upcoming math class, and are willing to put the extra money on it, paying a personal math tutor is another option you can consider.

For math tutoring online or in person, Check out University Tutor.