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  1. #1

    Is it possible to be an Engineer if you suck at math?

    Title says it all... i always liked Physics and for some reason these past days i've been reading about Engineering and i got really interested about it... I actually wanted to learn it, but, as the topic says, i'm rEdiculously terrible at anything with a number on it...

    So i was wondering, is it possible to graduate and work as an Engineer if you suck terribly at math? What steps should i take if i wanted to learn Engineering? *inb4 jokes about just go to the trainer -_-"

  2. #2
    The Patient ADman319's Avatar
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    You will just have to work harder then the rest. i do tho recommend trying to get into a school somewhere in Scandinavia, German/Austrian schools relating to those subjects are a bit dated.

  3. #3
    Not really.
    You can stop sucking at math and then be an Engineer.
    It's not that hard.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archangel Tyrael View Post
    Title says it all... i always liked Physics and for some reason these past days i've been reading about Engineering and i got really interested about it... I actually wanted to learn it, but, as the topic says, i'm rEdiculously terrible at anything with a number on it...

    So i was wondering, is it possible to graduate and work as an Engineer if you suck terribly at math? What steps should i take if i wanted to learn Engineering? *inb4 jokes about just go to the trainer -_-"
    How do you enjoy physics if you suck at math? Last I checked physics had a lot of math involved.

    I'm not an expert on the subject, but I guess it depends on the type of engineer you want to be. Different types of engineers rely on math to varying degrees.
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  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by haxartus View Post
    Not really.
    You can stop sucking at math and then be an Engineer.
    It's not that hard.
    People think differently, that's why not everyone is good at maths, but excell at other things.
    Last edited by Stefy; 2011-11-30 at 04:39 PM.

  6. #6
    Problem with math is that it allways seems more complex than it is, find a good book or a good teacher, you'll find out that math is not complicate (well it can be at high level) but explaining math in a comprehensive manner is a forgotten art.

    You wont succeed has an engineer or any other science without mathematic its the essence of every form of science.

    Stop saying you suck at math don't build a wall around your mind.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stefy View Post
    People think differently, that's why not everyone are good at maths but excell at other things.
    Doesn't matter. To be a professional engineer, you MUST get at least a bachelors in some sort of engineering. For all of them, this means taking calc 1-3, physics 1-3 (which means relativity, quantum physics, light), linear algebra, numerical methods and differential equations. If you're doing electrical engineering, you need even more math than that. PDEs, linear algebra for engineers, signals analysis...

    You won't make it through if you aren't at least somewhat good at math. Tutors will only take you so far - also they're ridiculously expensive for higher level maths, because there aren't many of them.

    I also don't buy into the whole "you can be good at math if you set your mind to it" bullshit. It's very hard to completely change the way you think about things.
    Last edited by Flustered; 2011-11-30 at 02:59 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Stefy View Post
    People think differently, that's why not everyone are good at maths but excell at other things.
    like Grammar and Video Games

  9. #9
    You can suck at math and still be an engineer, sure, but you wont be succesfull.

    im an engineer, and work at VW manufacturing plant whit docens of them, all kinds, mechanical, informatic techonologies, mechatronics, you name it, and we have seen a lot of "Engineers" that are bad for math or physics, they dont last long.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Tapaj View Post
    like Grammar and Video Games
    Well put mate, kept me laughing xD
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    Take my advice.......I don't use it. :P

  11. #11
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    I agree with some of the more helpful responses here; try not to box yourself into believing you suck at maths, find a teacher/course and try to build your confidence in it. A lot of the time maths is a series of rules and structures, knowing the rule means you know how to get the answer, even if you can't formulate it in your brain; that's what calculators are for ^^

    I'm not a very confident person in general and even more unsure about maths yet I surprise myself by knowing the answers (sometimes!). When I was at school I struggled with the subject and that was mostly due to not understanding the way it was being taught. When I returned to school as a learning support assistant I was really hesitant to support students in maths as I felt like a hypocrite "how can I help somebody else understand this, when I don't understand it myself?" Yet the teachers that I supported with had much better ways of explaining things and I ended up learning (and remembering!) much more than when I was a student.

    Good luck with whatever you choose to do and I hope you find an Engineering placement that suits you

  12. #12
    Probably define "suck" first.
    I found the first 2 year of math to be really hard and i thought i sucked. You just gotta get over the hump. There are ofc courses like linear algebra that are just really hard,but a normal dude like me were able to get by after like 5-6 attempts so just hang in there.

    Ive heard that most people know pretty advanced math but not when it is put in an abstract way. There are probably courses and junk to help you maximizing your study techniqe.

    Get a good study partner and never settle with "sort of" getting it. You need to fully understand or you havent understood it at all.

    Also at least in sweden there are other engineering programs that are a bit lighter like envoriment engineer or something like that. Nothing bad about them, they just focus on biology and stuff that i really do suck at.

  13. #13
    To answer your question, no. The first two semesters of basically any engineering course are going to be incredibly math heavy. Also, I'm not sure how you can like physics but suck at numbers. Physics is completely based on math. Either way, if you are horrible at math you either need to find a way to improve or give up on engineering. Most universities use a bell curve for grading so if you are behind the other students in math then you will be failing the required math courses.

  14. #14
    Da du aus München kommst, antworte ich mal ganz dreist auf Deutsch.

    Nach meiner Einschätzung hast du im Ingenieursstudium an keiner deutschen Universität eine Chance, da mathematische Elemente fest im Fachgebiet verankert sind (plattes Beispiel: Ingenieure bauen Brücken, du musst also "Statik" beherrschen).
    Als Ingenieur kommst du an den mir bekannten Universitäten außerdem nicht um Physikvorlesungen herum, zudem besuchst du sowas wie "Höhere Mathematik für Ingenieure". Das ist zwar nicht auf dem Niveau einer Analysisvorlesung, aber wenn du jetzt schon weißt, dass du mit Zahlen und Formeln nicht klar kommst, erspare dir die unnötige Quälerei und orientiere dich in eine andere Richtung.

    Meine Meinung ist sicherlich nicht maßgebend, aber ich bin promovierter Physiker und habe bereits mehrere Generationen von Ingenieuren in physikalischen Praktika und Vorlesungen der Physik betreut, ein wenig kenne ich mich also aus.

    Viel Glück!

    Mod Warning: Post in English-only please.
    Last edited by Magekid; 2011-12-01 at 09:58 PM.

  15. #15
    Also tertiary education here is ''free'' so it's not like i have to worry about spending ridiculous amount of money studying... i just have to study.

  16. #16
    Mechagnome Sfidt's Avatar
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    I hate physics but like math. Still anyway being a soldier in Polish army is my destiny
    S.H.

  17. #17
    You need to define suck at math.

    If you can handle conceptualizing amounts, but fail to come to precise numerical calculations on demand, then you are ok. Calculators can handle the heavy lifting for you. But... If you can't even begin to hold concepts in your head, you will quickly find yourself in too deep. You need to be able to at least think about math, even if the base calculations you rely on a machine to do for you. They tend to be better at that sort of thing then we are, anyway.
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  18. #18
    Dreadlord
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    sorry but if you suck at math, it is going to be very very difficult for me

    A friend of mine sucked at math, and couldn't get past the first year. Let alone pass the more courses that involve difficult math in later years

    The only option for you is to get an engineering degree is to do it at a lower level and not at university level (dunno how the German system works but there should be some options for you)
    Last edited by bas; 2011-11-30 at 03:32 PM. Reason: fixed da typo mon

  19. #19
    I am also VERY interested in physics, I even studied it for 2 years in High School. The sad part is that I was also terrible at the math parts, because my teacher was absolutely HORRBILE at teaching you to understand what you were doing, and not just giving you the information straight out of the text book. 100% of all we did there had something to do with math at some point. Being an engineer is not as math heavy as a physicist, but it does require you to have a fair knowledge of the math you're dealing with.

    If you really want to follow engineering as a career path, I would suggest you to get a private tutor to help you along. It might seem like tedious work, but if you find a good tutor and make sure you ask him plenty of questions to help you with whatever you have problems with understanding, it will help your grades immensely. You might not go from an "E"/"2"/whatever grade system you use, up to the highest grade, but it will certainly give you a significant boost.

    The problem most people have with math is, understanding what you're being told and using it to understand other things. Being thrown more information in your face won't help. If your teacher tells you "The moon orbits the Earth.", that's not gonna tell you much if you're going to be an astrophysicist, cosmologist etc. But if you get the teacher/tutor to explain exactly how they draw that conclusion and helps you to maybe relate to how other things work, you'll do a lot better. Just try to figure out why math is hard for you and it will make asking questions a lot easier.
    Last edited by Drihan; 2011-11-30 at 03:37 PM.
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Tyrianth View Post
    How do you enjoy physics if you suck at math? Last I checked physics had a lot of math involved.
    I got asked the same question when I was in the US Navy, going through Nuclear Power training - I was a Reactor Operator on submarines for many years - I was doing great in Heat Transfer & Fluid Flow and Physics, but mediocre in Math.

    I was accused of not trying in Math, since I was doing well in all my other courses which require math skills...

    The problem for me is math was being taught at the rote memorization, abstract level e.g. ax + by + c = z

    I get bored silly while studying abstract math problems, but get me into another subject where I can use solve equations using numbers - not letters of the alphabet - and I am fine.

    Math has you doing lots of repetition so that you learn to recognize patterns while trying to simplify equations, while physics is teaching you interesting concepts and giving you actual numbers to calculate a result with.

    Math teachers trying to teach me calculus, when they can't explain why being able to calculate the area under the curve [or the slope of a line] is useful to me, didn't help.
    I take some solace in the fact that even though my snarky reply to someone's condescending rhetorical question earned me a 1-week ban, my post was not deleted. I was rather proud of that bit of snark, and I am glad it lives on.

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