Tricky Bastards

I found out some information in my math class this morning that's important, but it made me angry. Our final exam is going to be multiple choice. Okay, that's fine. I knew this a couple of weeks ago – they need statistics, everyone has to take the same test, they want the numbers to be exact, etc… It actually will probably work in my benefit as I'll have a slightly better chance of getting questions right if I have options. Of course, we all know the four choices will be like:

a) x = 4.223
b) x = -4.223
c) x = -4.122 and
d) x – 4.122, right? Right. They'll take into account those of us who constantly make sign errors, who don't follow through or make a little goof. So my chances of getting a question wrong are probably just as good.

But this also means we get no partial credit, which has really helped me in the past. We also don't get an index card for shortcuts, long equations, and problems we've worked out in the past as an example. They are, however, putting three equations on the test for us. This is good. Except I have those three memorized. You know, y = mx+b; slope-intercept form or whatever? I don't need that.

Then I find out today that the answers won't necessarily be the ones we come up with. Say we do a graphing problem and a student goes through three or four different steps to get two points on a line: x = 4 and y = -12 or something. He said the question might actually be something like “What is the sum of the two points?” Or you have to find the difference, multiply them, divide them. So the answers may read:

a) (4, -12)
b) (-4, 12)
c) -48
d) 16

And that's the easy part. I apparently have a major problem factoring. I've found a couple of Web sites geared towards youngsters ('cause I need the basics), but I don't have to work too hard to determine that x^2+6x+8 is factored out to (x+4)(x+2) or whatever. It's the problems that have exponents and variables and division with fractions that go on for days that make me panic.

I hate this kind of shit and I really don't want to take this class again. So I'm cracking down, people. I'm taking a break now from the 50-question study guide for mindless updates, I have my study group this afternoon, I'm off tomorrow at 11am, so it's on to the math lab, and then just cramming tomorrow night.

If there is an Algebra God, please pray to him or her for me.

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