Best Way to Learn Math Quickly

I want to become an RN. However, math-wise, I know only basic math. I need to learn up through Intermediate Algebra. How can I do this? I called Sylvan, but they don’t tutor adults. Can I teach myself? Your first suggestion may be to get a high school student to tutor me, but that will be my last resort. What are my other options? Can you recommend any good self-teaching books? I need to start at about the 7th grade level to brush up, and then continue on from there.

How 'bout some math classes at the local community college?

Don’t learn it fast. Take your time. It will stick with you longer.

Buy a Schaum’s guide. I don’t think you’d have much trouble teaching yourself.

This isn’t a bad idea. Most colleges will allow you to audit a course; for a considerably reduced tuition fee, you can take the course just like any other student, however, you don’t get any grade or credits for it.

Most college campuses have flyers up for people who advertise their math tutoring services. Often these are people with years of experience, graduate students, or HS teachers looking for an extra income. I wouldn’t go with a HS student. You will get more benefit from someone who doesn’t just know the math, but has experience teaching it to other people. That would be my first recommendation. Start with a tutor, then maybe you’ll get on a roll and can learn more independently.

Schaum’s Outlines are a good series of books to teach yourself or review.

Your local community college may also have some online courses you can take.

Also, whatever route you take, from the very beginning know how your skills will be used or measured. Is there a specific test you need to be prepared for?

Good luck!

Sign up for the CLEP test in college algebra. Not only will it give you an incentive to learn, but you’ll very likely get college credit for it.

I don’t know which book to use or which course to take–but I can suggest one aspect of learning math, which is a bit different from learning most other subjects:

“Math is like playing the piano–the only way to learn it is to do it.”

Almost every other subject I’ve ever studied I learned by reading about it. But math just doesn’t enter your* brain by reading only–you have to do it, physically, with a pen and paper. And, like playing the piano–you have to practice. A lot.
(*well, my brain, actually :slight_smile: )

I have to agree with chappachula. Practice, practice, and then practice. I think I am pretty good with math and I had to put in an hour per day on my calculus classes for it to really sink in where I felt I knew it. Whatever you do, just plan to practice for an hour (or some other amount of time) per day. I personally don’t learn best in all day binge sessions. So instead of devoting 7 hours on Saturday to work, put in an hour every day of the week or something similar. That’s my best advice. Good luck.

Oh, and the community college advice is really good as well. I personally don’t like tutors. You can take the class and get all the tutoring help you would need from a good professor ( to see which would be best at local colleges).

Thanks everyone. Excellent advice. I’ll try it all.

I’d start with a book. When I wanted to test out of basic Algebra, I bought the Cliff Notes book and did that - got me through Basic. I didn’t try to pass out of Intermediate, took the course. Math books are notoriously hard to read if you don’t read “math” - which is a different language. But since a college course will take time and money (and since the semester starts for most schools on Monday - you need to decide NOW or you’ll have a while) you could try self study first.

The question to “can I do it on my own” depends on your math ability and discipline.

There are online algebra courses. Here’s one:

No idea how good it is, but it couldn’t hurt to check it out.

I only know basic math right now, so I figure there is no sense in trying to skip to something harder without getting back to basics and taking it step by step from there. I can still go to nursing school while I’m learning math, I just doubt I’ll be able to pass the test for license without knowing it.

You sure? you may need college algebra as a prereq for a lot of the coursework. Probably stats as well.