I took my first test in my Finite Math class yesterday. I have not been so nervous about a test in years. This was the test that reviewed previous college-level math courses (mainly algebra) that are a prerequisite to this class, in order to see if we were at the right level and competence to proceed with this course. I will find it appropriate at this time to point out that none of this will actually be used or covered for the rest of this course, as has been told to us by our instructor. In fact, I am really not sure why we have wasted the first couple of weeks of class reviewing a previous math course we have already taken (as a prerequisite), and then take a test over it, even though we will not use any of it for the course. In my opinion, it shows a real lack of confidence in the instructors that taught the previous course. Sure, there may be transfers from other schools (I am, in fact a new transfer this year), and it may just be a check system to make sure that we are all on the same level, but it would honestly make a little more sense if what we were reviewing and testing ourselves over had any relation to the current course – other than the fact that they are both math courses. In other words, teach me what I signed up for, not the course I already took. That is just wasting my time, and I’m not too keen on that – given the amount of money I’ve spent on this course that I HAVE to take. The reason, anyway, that I was so nervous about this test was that I had a really hard time with algebra when I took it. It is required, and I took it, and I have to take 1 more math course to satisfy my core requirements. I chose this class because it was the furthest from algebra. So, if the class doesn’t have anything to do with algebra, (1) I didn’t really understand why we were reviewing it, and (2) why we were being tested on it. Why is a previous, unrelated course allowed to affect the grade of this course? So, for the past two weeks, I have been studying more of the same course that I thought I was through with so that I could keep it from affecting my grade in an adverse way. The tests are graded immediately (online, multiple choice format), so I could check my grade once I got home. When I was through taking the test, I thought I had really bombed. I don’t know if it was the confidence that I lacked in myself, because I studied as much as possible, but I really felt that I had failed the test. Even so, I couldn’t wait until I could get home and check my grade. I live approximately 15-20 minutes from campus, but that evening it really felt as if the drive home took hours. Every stoplight turned red on my arrival. Every driver in front of me seemed to drive at a slower-than-average pace. I felt as if something were purposely intervening to keep me from getting back home to check my grade. In fact, someone sliced through an intersection (their red/my green light) and almost collided with me. It seems really arrogant to think that, out of all things in the world that could be happening, something was focusing on keeping me from my grade, I will admit that, but that is what it felt like. When I got home and checked my clock, I had made it home in 18 minutes, which was average. Granted, I live only 5-7 miles from campus, and 15-20 minutes does seem a little long for that drive, but on a normal day I wouldn’t even realize it. In fact, when I am driving to school, it seems as if I am racing the clock to arrive on time. Anyway, I am happy to report that I passed my test, and am thrilled to finally be done with college algebra.
September 8, 2007