By Mike Brewer; The Whetstone

   Many Wesley College students who take MA180, Applied Math Concepts, the only required math course in the college’s core curriculum, said they find it difficult to understand.

Students who struggle with it said they are not used to the speed of the course and come in assuming it will be similar with MA101, Fundamentals of Algebra.

MA 180 tutor Beth Manlove said it’s the speed of the class that seems to make it more difficult for students.

“In the beginning, you start off with basics such as rounding rules, place value, percentages, decimals, and then it quickly picks up to annuities, principal payments, car payments, dimensional analysis, and other elements,” she said. “So the pace of the class itself can be difficult for students along with the teaching style of their professor.”

She said students also come in with different problems dealing with the class.

“Depending on what the student needs, it might be just going over the content that they’ve learned in class, test preparation, or homework help,” she said.

Manlove tutors more students closer to the end of the semester.

“That’s when they start going in to using a mortgage card, and different formulas that are more complex,” she said.

Mary Jo Benson, an adjunct instructor who teaches MA180, said the curriculum and speed of the class has nothing to do with its difficulty.

“Some of them don’t come to class on a regular basis, some of them are not doing the homework assignments,” she said. “The Tuesday-Thursday class goes at a faster pace than the Monday-Wednesday-Friday class because we have to cover the same amount of material over a shorter period.”  

Sophomore Tyler Poulson said the pace of the class is fast.

“The work is easy once the teacher teaches you the material,” he said, “but the class is more fast-paced. “The amount of time that you have to process the information given to you is a big difference from my previous class.”

Manlove said she thinks some students struggle when they don’t take a refresher course first.

“If a student’s test scores were good and they didn’t have to take basic math like MA99, students can be placed into the class without having the skills they need to be successful,” she said. “It’s extremely hard, and if you don’t come prepared every day and don’t study outside of class, not just with tutors but by yourself you won’t do well.”

Senior E.J. Lee said teachers for this course have their own unique style of teaching.

“All of the teachers have different teaching styles, so it will take you maybe one or two times before you find out which teacher is for you,” he said.

Junior Darin Matthews said paying attention is key in the class.

“It’s hard, and if you don’t come to class and actually pay attention then you won’t understand the concepts that the teacher is trying to teach,” he said.