Top Four Tips to Succeed in an Online Class

Enrollment in online education is at an all-time high. More students are going back to school to complete their degree or pursue higher education than ever before. Adult learners love online classes due to their convenience, flexibility, and cost savings. One of the main concerns a new student has is if they can handle an accelerated online class along with work and their family obligations. In this article we are going to discuss four tips to help a new online student succeed in a course.

First and foremost, make sure you have enough time set aside per week to complete your assignments. Many students are overwhelmed in their first couple of classes because they are not prepared. Students should ask their advisor how much time an average students spend per week in a class. If you are a new online student you should add 5-10 hours on top of that. Make sure to have a set schedule of when you will be studying and completing your assignments each week.

Second, students should have the support of their family and friends. Things will come up when you will have to ask for some help from loved ones. You may need a babysitter so you can concentrate on a big paper or just a friend to talk to. Make sure your family and friends know about your online classes and will support you throughout the program.

Before classes begin make sure to have all of the reading materials you need for the class. If you need to purchase a book, make sure you have it shipped well before the first day of class. If you need access to online lectures, videos, or articles make sure you know how to access them prior to the first day of class. Also, make sure you have all of the up to date computer software you need to be successful. If you have a MAC make sure the online course is compatible. If you have a PC make sure you have updated windows and Microsoft Office.

Once classes begin you should have easy access to important contact information. You want to be able to call or email your professor, academic advisor, and classmates. You also want the number to the IT helpdesk in case you experience any issues.

As you can see online courses are very popular but can be a very daunting experience if you are not prepared for them. Each class is a little different, but hopefully these tips help you along your journey.

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Nurture Can Do a Lot for You

Despite investing a lot of time and energy, you are not able to get a better grade. Do not worry about that because you are not alone. There are a lot of people like you. The problem is competition. Everybody out there is competing with you. The people above you are investing time and energy and constantly trying to move ahead of you. The people below you are also trying to move ahead of you. As more people move to higher grades the standard of test is set higher. The fact is that you have to invest certain minimum amount of time and energy just to maintain your status quo. It is like a red queen’s race. If you have to move ahead, you have to invest extra time and energy. The world wants efficient people.

The expected level of efficiency is increasing day by day. If you want to survive the severity of competition, you need to understand the fitness landscape of learning. Learning started from the time first human beings appeared some 2 million years ago. It doesn’t mean that other organisms are not learning; their learning is in a rudimentary form. Once we learned how to think then learning became faster and faster that we are exploring other earth like planets in the universe and of course finding the gene that is responsible for our intelligence.

Competition

Competition is either natural or designed. Individuals of a species are competing with each other for the limited resources and a species as a whole is competing with other species for survival. The struggle for existence is ubiquitous. When natural resources are scarce and demand for such resources are high then competition to acquire them will be more. This competition is natural in any ecosystem. In the institution of education, the competition is designed in order to increase the efficiency of the students. The number of seats to higher education is limited or the top ranked institutions may prescribe a higher level of standard for the applicants. It means you have to be more efficient to get a seat for higher education. There is pressure acting upon you from outside. You will have to tackle this pressure with a positive mind.

The competition is intended to grade you in order to find your fitness for higher education and for better institution. There may be some flaw in the way the grading is done by the institutions (a lot of research is being done to perfect the grading method), but competition per se is not undesirable.

Grading

Grading is arrangement of people or things in groups according to their ability, quality, or size, etc. Grading in education is used to find your fitness level at a particular point of time. If you are getting a poor grade then it implies that your fitness is poor at that point of time. It does not imply that you will never be able to improve your grading. The problem is our mind set or the way we think. Once the institution labels you poor then somehow it sticks to your mind. You have to remove this stickiness from your mind. If you identify yourself as poor you will remain poor for life. The grading is done at a particular point in time and tells your existing ability and skills. You can always improve your analytical skills and expand your knowledge base to get a good grading. Grading is an opportunity to know your competency level, strengths and weaknesses. You should get rid of your weaknesses which will take you to higher achievements.

Knowledge vs. Intelligence

While knowledge is the information, understanding, and skills that you gain through education or experience, intelligence is the ability to learn, understand, and think in a logical way about things. Howard Gardner has argued for a theory of multiple intelligence that recognise each talent like fluency in music, language, and sports or the ability to understand other people’s mind as a separate ability. Robert Sternberg has suggested instead that there are essentially three separate kinds of intelligence – analytic, creative, and practical. School exam is mostly a test of your analytic intelligence. Analytical problems are ones formulated by other people, clearly defined, have only one right answer. Practical problems require you to recognise and formulate the problem itself, and poorly defined, lacking in some relevant information, may or may not have a single answer but spring directly out of everyday life. Whether intelligence is hereditary is much debated. We do not know exactly that there is an intelligence gene in your body that works for you.

We get some idea from the research of genetics that intelligence is the work of many genes located somewhere in chromosome 6. However these intelligent genes do not work alone. They respond to stimulations of the environment. It will take many years before we understand how exactly they work for your intelligence. What we know is you can learn and store your knowledge and skills that can be retrieved for your future use. Your ability to remember things is memory. Our brain has some mechanism to store the information we learn through education and experience, and our brain has some other mechanism to forget information that we learned earlier.

‘Although we are pretty good at storing information in our brains, we are pretty poor at retrieving it. We can recognize photos from our high school yearbooks decades later, yet find it impossible to remember what we had for breakfast yesterday’ (Gary Marcus, Cognitive Humility).

The more you use the information the more quickly you can retrieve it. If you don’t retrieve information for a longer time then the information is either deleted or not easily retrieved. There are two kinds of memory; they are long term memory and working memory. Knowledge and skills which are useful for future requirements and can be retrieved can be called long term memory. Working memory is where you store information temporarily for the purpose of processing and giving an output. While long term memory is closely associated with knowledge, working memory is closely connected to your intelligence. Your intelligence can be improved through the practice of working memory. Improved working memory means improved analytical thinking, space for memory, etc. Some research suggests that the space for working memory is limited. However, you can reach your maximum potential.

It is not your problem

You are born into a family. Your family has a location in a particular social environment. It means your social capital is more or less fixed. You cannot change this position or in other words you cannot change the status of your father or mother or uncle or aunt or close friends of you and your family. Social capital is acquired through generations. To some extent, it changes within a generation. Some has the ability to acquire social capital exceptionally. It is rarer than often. A better social capital gives a better head start to some people. Social evolution somehow created this difference. But it is not in your hand. You should improve your social maturity to understand the social relations. This constraint should not let you down. Trust your knowledge, intelligence, and skills. It will never let you down.

Your family has a culture. You acquire this culture or orientation through socialization. Your success partly depends upon your family culture. Again it should not be a constraint. Good culture can be learned. Hard working, sincerity, honesty, respect for each other, discipline, housekeeping, neatness are some of good family culture. As a family member you can be instrumental in cultivating good habits. The best thing is, understanding your family. Many have achieved good positions due to cultural legacy. In certain societies, people are naturally hard working or good in business. Identify and cultivate such legacies. Nurture can do a lot for you.

Your appearance is not your problem. You are born with a beauty. But some people cannot appreciate your beauty (appearance bias). Nowadays, the concept of beauty is standardised. Books, mass media, organisations, etc play an important role in standardising beauty. As far as appearance is concerned you should be neat and presentable. What is important is your inner beauty. That is what matters ultimately. Appearance seems to be giving a head start to some people for getting a job in certain organisations. Again that should not be a constraint. You have plenty of opportunities in other fields of work.

It is your problem

You do not focus on what you are doing. It is because your mind is elsewhere. A mindless job will not produce the desired result. Control your mind and concentrate on what you are doing. A five-minute work with total concentration will produce a great result than an hour of work without focus. ‘Willpower is really about properly directing the spotlight of attention, learning how to control that short list of thoughts in working memory. When we properly control the spotlight, we can resist negative thoughts and dangerous temptations’ (Jonah Lehrer, Control your spotlight). Focus meditation can improve your concentration. Sit erect in a quiet place, close your eyes, relax and focus on your breathing for five minutes. You can extent the time as you progress. Thoughts will come and go. As you focus on breathing, the thoughts will fade away. Alternatively, avoid negative thoughts and focus on a single good thought.

You are not a good observer. You don’t give attention to details. Seeing is not observation. Observation involves knowing the smallest details. For example, in practical work/learning, good observation will help you to do things in the correct way. You should see what others cannot. Try the steps of the dancer, while watching a dance program on your TV. It requires good observation.

You are not a good listener. Listening is an important tool of learning. If you don’t listen properly you will miss very important points. While conversing with people, allow the other person to speak completely. Interruptions break the flow of thoughts. Working memory practice will help improve your listening power. Ask your friend to tell some words in any order and then you try to repeat the words in the same order. As you progress, increase the number of words. It will improve your listening and memory power.

You are not a good organiser. Any activity can be split into its sub activities. The sub activities are executed in a sequence. If the sequence is wrong the whole activity will get disrupted. You waste a lot of time and energy. So, before executing any activity, you have to plan and organise your work. Give priority to the work which is to be done first. That means you have to identify the work which requires immediate execution. Perhaps you can list all your works and give numbers and deadlines according to the priority of the work. Sometimes, your priority might change according to the nature of the activity. Be flexible and reschedule your work to your convenience without upsetting the whole activity.

Immediate gratification might disrupt your long term goal. If you focus too much on that you will have less time and energy for the goal you set for your life. For example, you might take up a part time job for your immediate requirement. While your spirit of earning while learning is appreciated, you have to manage your time for your long term goal.

Attention expectation is an attitudinal problem. Do not always expect attention from your teachers or parents or friends. They don’t have a lot of time to pay their full attention to you. You have to understand the nature of their work/profession. Probably you can share time with them when they are free. When their mood is good you can learn a lot of things from them.

To sum up, if you want to get better grade you will have to invest extra time and energy. Competition per se is not harmful; rather it is intended to test your fitness in the landscape of learning at a particular point of time. Therefore it is not a constraint.

Though grading is not always perfect it is an opportunity to know your strengths and weaknesses. Grading as poor/good is a problem of binary thinking of the human beings which is somehow hard wired in our brain. Overcome your weaknesses.

Through intelligent reading you can acquire right knowledge which is stored in your long term memory. The more you use the information in your memory the faster you retrieve it. Intelligence can be improved by activating the working memory region of your brain.

Certain constraints of learning like social capital, family culture, and your appearance are not your problem. They are social problems. You should develop your social maturity to understand such problems in the relevant context.

There are certain constraints of learning which are self created. You can remove such constraints by focussing on what you do, distinguishing seeing and observing, being organised, listening attentively, not succumbing to immediate gratification, and understanding attention expectation.

Focus meditation will help you to improve your concentration and relax meditation will help you to relax your body and mind after a hectic work. Physical exercise like yoga is helpful to get a good body – mind coordination.

Last but not least, be determined to achieve your goal. Where there is will there is a way.

The Relevancy of Cultural Competency in the For-Profit Classroom

More than ever before, population demographics have a major impact on the business dynamics of for-profit institutions. Ethnic composition of students has increasingly become diverse. For-profit institutions have focused on this fact and actively engage in efforts to recruit and retain a diverse student body.

Practitioners who teach from all fields in the classroom would benefit greatly from systematic plans for integrating cultural competency components into learner-focused environments.

Definitions of cultural competency are varied, but generally describe intelligence, respect, and knowledge to respond to diverse bodies of people and their cultures. Diversity trends authenticate the need for addressing cultural changes through specific curricula enhancement, identifying key curricular components, and evaluating existing didactic learning experiences.

Cultural competency is an important component of education yet cultural competency remains daunting to many faculty practitioners largely because they have not received training to emphasize moving from mere exposure to diversity and fostering cultural awareness to acquisition of cultural knowledge and skills to transfer knowledge attained to the actual classroom.

Practitioner faculty can only become accomplished in this important educational endeavor by earnestly working and promoting an understanding of culture and its importance in enhancing educational experiences for all students. A major accomplishment in this area will prepare students to meet, address, and succeed in their careers by acquiring cultural competencies to meet the multifaceted needs of ethnically diverse patients, customers, employees, vendors, community groups, and other areas where human services, human capital, and human resources play a significant role in business culture, business strategies, and business planning.

Cultural competency enhances team building, collaboration, and cooperation between worker groups and departments, joint ventures and mergers as well as acquisitions, and on a global note-geographically positioned operations.

Taylor (2009) proposes that “the work of emotional development and growth of self may have a positive impact on educators in their relationships with diverse cultures by transferring some of the competencies and skills learned through emotional intelligence to inform their work with diverse populations” (p. 311).

Cultural competencies are transferable to all fields because they are universal. Such competencies enable practitioners in the classroom to attain the ability to:

• Practice personal reflection and self- correction to assure continual professional development;

• Recognize and manage personal values in a way that allows professional values to guide practice;

• Recognize the extent to which a culture’s structures and values may oppress, marginalize, alienate, or create or enhance privilege and power;

• Gain sufficient self-awareness to eliminate the influence of personal biases and values in working with diverse groups; and

• Recognize and communicate their understanding of the importance of difference in shaping life experiences. (Phillips, Peterson, Bakko & Clark, 2011, p. 36).

Academic institutions are in a position to promote cultural competency training by making a commitment to include it in faculty training. Practitioner faculty who have acquired a high level of cultural competence are better able to deal with the challenges and issues of culturally diverse classes (De Beuckelaer, Lievens, Bücker, 2012). Academic institutions are skilled at appreciating and valuing multiple cultures and work to subdue differences in cultural backgrounds, expectations, education needs, and academic traditions (Bodycott & Walker, 2000).

Practitioner faculty have an important role in advancing cultural competency in the for-profit classroom. Cultural competency training for faculty to enhance the classroom experience can promote advantages for constructive dialogue in developing strategies to address prejudices, reach comfort levels in confronting misunderstandings about cultural differences, and advance a more civil and accepting society.

References

Bodycott, P., & Walker, A. (2000). Teaching abroad: Lessons learned about inter-cultural understanding for teachers in higher education. Teaching in Higher Education, 5, 79-94.

De Beuckelaer, A., Lievens, F., & Bücker, J. (March/April 2012).Role of faculty members in cross-cultural competencies. The Journal of Higher Education, 83(2).

Phillips, A., Peterson, S., Bakko, M. & Clark, T. (2011). Promoting cultural competencies through use of growth groups in predominantly white classrooms. The Journal of Baccalaureate Social Work, 16(2).

Taylor, B. (2009). Emotional intelligence and cultural competency: Implications for pedagogy. The International Journal of Learning, 16(9).

The Impulse To Widen College Access Continues Unabated

College costs have been rising quickly during the past two decades, and tuitions are rising even faster-much more quickly than family income. Such widening gaps cannot be sustained much longer, and our entire postsecondary education system may have to change radically to survive this economic upheaval. Our response to the current crisis will determine what kind of system develops in its wake. To envision a truly reformed system, we have to consider what has happened in recent years, what is likely to occur if we remain on our accustomed course, and what we must do differently. Prices have been rising even more quickly than costs. For several decades, prices-mainly tuition and fees-have risen by approximately 3 percent per year more than the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Moreover, federal and state appropriations and other subsidies have not risen as quickly as the costs they defray. Those two trends-rising unit costs and a growing share of those costs being borne by consumers-explain the scary price escalation of recent years.

As prices rise, institutions do more discounting-student aid-to maintain enrollments, access, and diversity. Fewer students pay full tuition, and posted prices grow increasingly distant from actual or net prices. As institutional aid grows more quickly than external aid programs, universities spend more on student assistance, and each tuition hike generates less net revenue-creating ironic pressure to raise tuitions even higher. Fewer people can afford college out of current income, so individuals and institutions try to spread those costs over more years through prepaid tuition schemes, tax-advantaged savings plans, and, of course, loans, loans, and more loans. Instead of four or five years of payments like an auto loan, today’s students will be burdened with something more like a thirty-year mortgage.

Nonetheless, the schools have to recruit enough bodies to keep the revenue flowing. Admissions offices become marketing centers, and schools lure students with new programs, amenities, and services which push costs even higher.

To sustain enrollments and serve social justice, the impulse to widen college access continues unabated, but as a growing fraction of each age cohort is allowed in, the colleges have to teach rising numbers of poorly prepared students. This has already changed higher education significantly: many colleges are now providing the sort of education that should have been provided in high school, and the willingness to accept ill-prepared students undermines their dedication in elementary and secondary school. That, in turn, exacerbates the preparedness problem and increases costs for the colleges.

Cost and price escalation are affecting enrollment patterns, shifting students from private colleges to heavily subsidized public institutions, to community colleges, and to nontraditional schools that manage to charge whatever the federal grants and loans provide. The industry is starting to display a distinct market segmentation. Brand-name institutions are selective, high-status places that cater mostly to full-time students from traditional age groups and that have traditional academic values. Their students usually graduate with conventional degrees in the traditional number of years. This group comprises institutions such as Duke, Williams, and Berkeley.

The “mass provider” institutions are not selective, and they enroll many students, including nontraditional ones and part-timers. They do not have high status, but they emphasize traditional degrees in fairly traditional fields, and they subscribe to the familiar academic values. The “convenience” institutions are highly user-friendly and responsive to market forces. This category includes community colleges, technical institutes and some branch campuses of more traditional institutions. It also comprises unconventional providers of just about any collection of skills and credentials anybody wants to obtain at practically any time through just about any medium of instruction. These schools serve many nontraditional and part-time students, and their values derive more from the business culture than from academe. The price burden is accelerating these changes, and the convenience providers grow ever more varied. A consumer can now get the desired skills and knowledge, and often the credentials, from corporate training schemes, audio and video courses, Internet courses, and adult education programs delivered through school systems, nonprofit organizations, and for-profit firms. Eventually, educational entrepreneurs will find ways to serve students who want to take exams and submit papers via e-mail to earn degree credit and marketable credentials without ever coming near a college campus.

Clearly, higher education is changing rapidly, and there is more to come. The following scenario outlines what will probably happen during the next decade if U.S. higher education continues on the course it has taken in the past twenty years. Barring major productivity enhancements, mission shifts, or external constraints, college costs will continue to soar. State and federal policymakers will be reluctant to raise subsidies to cover those costs, and prices charged to higher education consumers will therefore ascend even more rapidly. As prices rise, enrollment in traditional institutions will stagnate or decline. College enrollments today already exceed the nation’s total high school enrollment, and although it is too early to infer that the nontraditional market is saturated, it is clearly approaching that state.

People will seek affordable alternatives. Community colleges and other institutions that keep their prices down-or even cut them-should enjoy enrollment gains. Convenience campuses will thrive. The brand-name colleges will look after themselves, though they may experience some slippage. But the public and private mass providers-places with traditional values, rising prices, not much prestige, and no great convenience-will encounter trouble. Some will try to boost themselves up the status ladder; others will behave more like convenience institutions. Those that do neither can expect significant grief. For those attending traditional institutions, our jury-rigged student aid system will struggle to provide access, and Congress and state legislatures will undergo annual battles over grant and loan expenditures. Loans will become larger and longer-term, and parents will shoulder even more of the load.

To get their kids through college, fifty-year-old parents will rifle their retirement funds and life savings-thereby worsening the burden on Social Security, Medicare, and other such safety nets. Employers and government agencies that pay for a person’s education will have a hammerlock on that employee for a decade or more afterward.

The traditional college degree will lose allure except at prestige schools. College graduates still earn more money over their lifetimes than those who do not attend college, but this edge is starting to narrow, at least for men. Universal access will erode it further. Thus, competition for entry into the prestige universities will increase. The market will favor two categories: brand-name institutions and convenience schools. The craving for students will increasingly shape each college’s decisions about what it is, does, and teaches. If students cannot afford to major in comparative literature, classics, and Asian history, those departments will wither, and those disciplines will languish or migrate to think-tanks and research centers. Tough-grading professors who cannot attract students will be replaced by ones who give automatic A’s. Demanding core curricula that frighten off large segments of the market will have to be forfeited. And if two-thirds of the students want to study business, the college will allocate its faculty, scheduling, and other resources accordingly.

Life on campus may grow more pleasant thanks to numerous amenities-recreation centers, food courts, and the like-but campus life will become much less a life of the mind. The proliferating amenities, student-centered culture, and enrollment-driven marketing demands will transform the average university into something akin to a resort or entertainment center-part multiplex theater, part guest ranch, and part love boat, with the occasional uplifting lecture or brow-furrowing seminar thrown in for no extra charge. Higher education will continue evolving toward a two-tiered faculty, especially at the mass-provider institutions, and schools will devote more of their budgets to non-teaching staff who deliver counseling services, tend those recreation centers, and enforce regulations. The convenience schools already feature such a bifurcation: their faculty know that they are paid to teach, not do research. At the prestige schools, professors will retain the traditional academic values, teach on the side, and aspire to a named chair at Harvard.

Institutional governance will be a shapeless mess involving continual power struggles among four sets of forces: diehard supporters of collegial faculty governance; modern marketers pushing the university to respond to shifting demand and community needs; diverse campus factions seeking greater resources and status for their sectarian interests; and external regulators and funders pressing for greater efficiency and lower costs while imposing costly requirements. These trends, of course, need not continue. The following seven recommendations provide an alternative scenario for the future-not a coherent master plan, just a few ways by which providers could serve students better and create a more rational system.

Institutions should embrace mission differentiation. The prestige campuses and convenience schools know what they are about and are likely to continue in their accustomed mode. But the mass providers, torn between their aspirations toward traditional status and their obligation to respond to shifting markets, desperately need to clarify their mission. This may be a heresy, but it would be best for all concerned if the mass providers agreed that their mission is to impart knowledge, not create it, and that their mandate is to impart it as effectively as possible at the lowest feasible cost.

Schools should set serious academic standards for both entry and exit. Real admissions standards may curb enrollments, but probably only temporarily.

Upon exit, institutions should confer meaningful degrees and certificates, perhaps including a warranty. An employer or parent should be able to trust that a degree signifies bona fide intellectual attainment, and students might be willing to pay more for one that is worth more in the marketplace.

To make these credentials meaningful, each school should adopt a reliable academic assessment system. Many academics fear such measures, preferring to gauge quality by expenditures rather than results, but this attitude boosts costs, and prices cannot continue to go much higher.

Then we should begin to view higher education in terms of paying for results-what students learn and (on certain campuses) how much knowledge the faculty produce. This is how virtually every modern enterprise, public or private (with the possible exception of churches), is coming to view its finances and management. The prestige institutions will probably continue to think of themselves as churches, and the convenience institutions already see themselves as businesses. The mass providers should be schools, organizations accountable for how much and how well their students learn.

After taking that conceptual leap, other changes become conceivable. Institutions could pay attention to actual costs rather than only prices. Administrators could outsource campus services-perhaps even some instruction-to more efficient providers. They could base hiring, promotion, and compensation on teaching effectiveness. They could close down surplus facilities and base their budgets on customer demand rather than producer preference. They might also adopt differential pricing, charging less for, say, liberal arts studies and more for professional and technical subjects. Prices should be based on a program’s cost and market appeal. Schools could also break down the term bills to allow payment only for services that consumers actually use. Rather than require everyone to support that fancy recreation center, for instance, an institution could sell memberships in it, like a health club. And schools could sell discounted blocks of tuition “tickets” to packagers, wholesalers, and families with several children.

Public sector schools should continue the current trend toward full-cost pricing coupled with adequate need- and merit-based aid to students. This trend concurs with the common-sense notion that the primary beneficiaries of higher education are the students and that they should pay for it. If the government wants something-such as better special education teachers, research into nuclear waste disposal, or the mapping of the human genome-it should intervene in the marketplace with a subsidy targeted toward that specific result.

Educators-and states-should nurture new kinds of institutions. We have some variety today, but to encourage innovation and experimentation we should establish the postsecondary equivalent of charter schools. Innovation on existing campuses is hindered by outmoded governance mechanisms and budgetary assumptions that view all new ideas as cost add-ons rather than substitutions. “Charter colleges” should be free of customary restrictions and regulations and invited to innovate in curriculum, technology, budget, and other areas.

Finally, we should foment a revolution in institutional structure and governance, to yield productivity gains like those in industry, health care, and lately even in government. This involves decentralizing authority to the units of production, paring away middle management, and deregulating procedures while beefing up accountability for results. Schools should also consider altogether new forms of institutional structures and governance. Hospitals are merging and consolidating to gain crucial economies of scale, and we should encourage colleges and universities to do likewise. Imagine a high-prestige university, a dozen mass providers, and a couple-dozen convenience schools consolidating to produce organizational efficiencies and better customer service.

Basic Algebra Skills Render Support for Higher Classes

Due to its vast applications in various fields, Algebra has been considered as an important branch of Math. It is vastly used in civil engineering, architecture, industrial engineering, medicine, business, physics, animation, market research analysis and astronomy. Students who are conversant with algebraic skills pocket attractive jobs with handsome salaries.

Doing Algebra looks nightmarish for many students if they lack in the fundamentals of the subject. Gearing up Algebra skills starts with a review of the basic numeric skills like addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. Students should show their fine grip of these skills to come out successful in doing complicated Algebra problems at a later stage.

Unknown numbers or variables pose lots of threats to students when they start with Algebra problems in the middle school. Finding letters in the place of numbers flabbergasted students and they start feeling out of the track in Algebra classes. If they understand the essence of variables through simple examples and life situations, they will get on well in the classes.

Students should have a good understanding of the rules of negative numbers and work sums related to them. They should know how adding and subtracting negative numbers is different from multiplying and dividing them. They should have no confusion over the positive and negative values while attempting answers for sums in negative numbers.

Students should learn the basic operations like parenthesis, exponents, multiplication, division, addition and the subtraction in order (starting from parenthesis and ending with subtraction). The order is important and changing it would cause wrong answers.

Looking up symbols along with numbers would help students find variables with ease. It is just practice that makes students familiar with letters like x, y, a, b and theta in the place of numbers. Students should also understand that variables are after all unknown numbers.

When students get ahead with complicated sums in Algebra, they should know how to organize the long sums and do them without confusion. Using pictures to understand the problems also helps students greatly with right solutions.

Common sense plays a major role in doing word problems in Algebra. One can surmise the values of variables and apply them in the context and see whether they prove right. Same way, one should not expect all the answers to be integers and there are many answers which are decimals and fractions in Algebra.

When students go over to higher studies in Algebra, they should make sure that they are confident of solving inequalities and quadratic equations.It is practice combined with confidence that makes Algebra easy and hassle free.

Despite all their efforts, if students feel like fish out of water in Algebra classes, they need to contact some online Algebra tutor who makes things clear for them. The tutors with their customized classes weed out the struggles of students and help them work with ease in Algebra classes.

Learning Algebra with serious efforts is of paramount importance for a prosperous career and successful higher education.