
Re: Failing Linear Algebra:
Posted:
Apr 27, 2004 4:00 PM


poohonlsd@yahoo.com (Acid Pooh) wrote in message news:<d7ba1f79.0404222006.1781727@posting.google.com>... > Anonymous wrote in message news:<c98b1ba0.0404221444.4623535e@posting.google.com>... > > I'm currently a math major and am taking linear algebra, but I'm in > > serious danger of failing. I just don't get it! Is this newsgroup a > > place to come to ask questions and get information about learning > > math? Or is there somewhere more appropriate to go? I've always had > > trouble with vectors, and I think I fell apart sort of right at the > > beginning of linear algebra (although, I did manage to get a B on the > > very first exam). I've got another exam next week. What can I do? I > > don't get all the terms, concepts, and jargon. Anyone know how to > > make learning linear algebra easier and more practical? Anyone got > > any practice problems? > > I'd like to help you, but some specifics would be necessary. What > terminology are you having trouble with?
Thanks for the reponses, to you and to everyone (not sure I thanked anyone yet). I've made a few more posts, explaining my problems in more detail.
> > At any rate, this is the perfect opportunity to see if you have what > it takes to be a math major (or mathematician, if that's your goal).
My goal is actually to go into either business or law. I'm a double major (economics/math). I wanted the economics major because I *was* always good at math in middle school and high school, and upperlevel economics is nothing more than basic differentiation. But, my parents kind of pushed math since I've "always been good at it", so I decided to do both, at least for the time being. Since I'll be a senior next year, I guess it'd make most sense just to stick with both majors. But, I'm not entirely sure math is for me anymore... Once I "get" a new math concept, I generally like doing problems on it and the problems come pretty easy. The same can maybe be said for proofs. For example, just this year (after having studied it in at least two other high school and college courses) I seemed to have mastered the concept of proof by induction, in algebraic structures; now, doing a proof by induction is a piece of cake for me. Maybe the same thing can happen with other styles of proof? But, I've definitely always had some trouble doing proofs, even since sophomore year of high school, when I first encountered them in geometry. Do you think I should just drop the math major, or is a math major supposed to be a challenge for most people?
> You need to learn a method to go over the material quickly and > thoroughly. You need to learn how to come up with intuitive > representations of the concepts involved to guide your thinking. You > need to learn how to apply what you know to problem solving. > > So, what I suggest is that you stick it out. Read the definitions > until your head hurts.
I've been doing this. It's starting to stick, finally.
Try to figure out exactly what the quantifiers > are telling you. Do problems until your head hurts more and you dream > about mathematical symbols. Don't let a problem intimidate you.
I'd love to do this, but I can't necessarily find many problems about the type of stuff we're supposed to be studying. It really annoys me when a textbook that doesn't have a lot of exercises doesn't include ALL answers in the back of the book. The text book seems to have just too few examples that it's not quite possible to "get" any one type of problem without other sources, like Schaum's.
> > If this sounds appealling, you probably have what it takes. If not, I > would suggest another majorit's not going to get any easier after > linear algebra.
It sounds appealing, I'd say. Will it get any *harder* after linear algebra?
> > 'cid 'ooh > > (I'm not trying to scare you. I'm a student too, and I'm really > excited about facing new challenges in grad school. But I often have > to work for 48 hours straight to figure out a few measly problems. > Realistic expectations are important in any endeavor of this sort)
Right. I've probably made the mistake of saving a few too many homework assignments till the last minute.

