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Math Learning Center (MLC) Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Frequently Asked Questions:

General Questions:

Q: Do students do well in the semi-independent courses? Does this method of learning really work?

A: There are many different types of learners. Your success in your semi-independent course will depend on what type of student you are and how much time and effort you put into your  course. Some students are visual learners and prefer having an instructor who lectures on every topic covered in the course. If you are this type of student, a lecture course would better fit your needs. Also, if you are a student that is not self-disciplined and needs a rigid class schedule to make sure you study, the MLC is not for you. Semi-independent learning  does work for many students. Several students have ended up in semi-independent courses by chance and then end up loving it and taking all their math courses in this format. Some of the  common reasons students prefer semi-independent courses over lectures are:

1) They like the flexible schedule. Students do not have to come in at their particular class time and can come in during any day or time the MLC is open. The MLC is open Monday through Friday for a total of 52 hours.  Semi-independent courses work well for students with busy lives whose schedules are constantly changing.

2) They like the one-on-one attention they receive from instructional aides and instructors. When you have a question you can come into the MLC and there are instructional aides and  instructors that will sit with you and address your specific concern. Many students feel that they understand the material better during one-on-one tutoring rather than in a lecture  course.

3) Many students also like taking an exam for every chapter. This is better for them for a couple reasons. First, there is no more than one chapter of material on each exam (excluding  the midterm and final). Students are able to learn the material in smaller chunks. They like that, other than on the midterm and the final, they can learn the material for only one chapter  and take an exam on only that chapter. It is easier for them to remember the material when there is not a huge amount of material on each exam. Another advantage of having several exams in your course is one or two low exam grades will not greatly affect your course grade. Most lecture courses have only 2 - 5 exams in a semester. One regular exam, with multiple  chapters, usually counts for about 15% of your course grade. In a semi-independent course, one exam may count as low as 5% of your course grade. In most semi-independent courses, you also get to drop your lowest exam grade (excluding the midterm and the final).

4) Students like being able to go at their own pace. They can go through material they already know quickly and take more time on topics they find more difficult. In a lecture course,the pace of the course is determined by the instructor. In a semi-independent course, the pace of the course is mostly determined by the student. We say mostly because there is a schedule of exams. We expect you to stay on or ahead of schedule. If at any time, you are behind schedule, you may be dropped from the course. Most students work ahead so that when they get to a "difficult" topic they can spend more time on that material and not fall behind schedule.


Q: Do I have to come into the Math Learning Center during my class time?

A: No, you can come in any time the Math Learning Center is open.  The Math Learning Center is open Monday through Friday for a total of 52 hours.


Q: Do I need to check-in when I come into the Math Learning Center?

A: When coming into the MLC, you need to check-in/check-out at the front desk.   Please take a seat and begin working. When you have a question, raise your hand.   If you are coming into the MLC to take an exam, you will need to go to the front counter, with a Cerritos College I.D., to check out an exam.


Q: Does the Math Learning Center take attendance?

A: The Math Learning Center takes attendance based on you being on schedule with your exams. If at any time you are behind schedule, you may be dropped for lack of "attendance."


Q: Do I have to bring a Cerritos College I.D. every time I take an exam

A: Yes.


Q: Do I have to have a Cerritos College I.D.?

A: Yes.  A Cerritos College I.D. is the only accepted form of identification.


Q: What happens if I'm behind schedule?

A: If you are behind schedule, you may be dropped from the course.


Q: When can I see an instructor?

A: You can see an instructor during your scheduled class time. To ensure that the instructor is available at that time, please email your instructor and arrange a definite time.


Q: My friend has a textbook for this course, can I just use it or do I have to buy your textbook?

A: You must buy the textbook indicated on your syllabus. Not all textbooks are the same. Some textbooks have the material in a different order or they may exclude certain topics. To  make sure you are studying the correct material you need to have the textbook we have assigned to the course. We have also taken time to pick these particular textbooks so that they assist you in your semi-independent learning.


Q: Where can I find the study guides or supplements?

A: You can find study guides and supplements on our website, Find your course on the left side of the page, then click on "Study Guides and Supplements" for your course.


Q: When is the drop date(s)?

A: The first drop date is during the 2nd week of the semester. We will have drop dates frequently, about one every 3 weeks. Please check your email, Canvas, and the MLC for information about upcoming drop dates.


Q: What are the Math Learning Center's hours of operation?

A: The hours of operation are located on the homepage of the MLC website and at the top of your course syllabus.  We are open Monday through Friday for a total of 52 hours.


Q: What happens if I get dropped from my course?

A: If you are dropped and would like to discuss your status in the course, please see an instructor in the MLC as soon as possible.


Orientation Questions:

Q: Do I have to complete an orientation?

A: Yes. Every student that wishes to enroll in a semi-independent mathematics course must complete an orientation.


Q: What if I'm a former MLC student, do I still have to complete an orientation?

A: Yes. You must complete an orientation to remain enrolled in the course.


Q: What if I cannot make my orientation time?

A: Please check your email a week before the start of the semester for information on how to complete the orientation online. If you do not feel comfortable doing an online orientation, please email your instructor. You may be able to attend one of the 6 orientations we offer in the first two days of the semester.


Homework Questions:

Q: What is the homework for my class?

A: The problems you are expected to do for homework is listed in your course policy. For most courses the homework is all odd problems and any available  supplements, chapter reviews, chapter tests, and practice exams. Please check your course policy for your specific course's homework.


Q: Do I have to do the homework?

A: We highly recommend that you do the homework to prepare yourself for the exams. In some cases, depending on your previous grades, we will require you to show homework to be able  to check out an exam. (See Question below.)


Q: Do I have to turn in homework?

A: If you are passing your exams (70% or above), we will not ask to see your homework.
The MLC will ask to see your homework under the following circumstances:
a) You received below a 60% on an exam and wish to retake it.
b) You received below a 60% on an exam and wish to take the next exam.
c) You have received below 70% on two or more consecutive exams.


Q: Can I just do the problems on the study guides or do I have to do all the homework problems?

A: It depends on what kind of student you are and whether you are passing your exams. Most students should do all the homework problems, all the study guide problems, any  supplements,  and any available practice exams to ensure they are well prepared for the exam. If a homework check is required, you must show all the required homework for your course before you will be given an exam.


Exam Questions:

Q: Can I take more than one exam in a day?

A: For the most part, yes, you can take multiple exams in one day. There are a couple of situations in which you may be only allowed to take one exam per day.  One situation where you may only take one exam per day is if you did not pass an exam and wish to retake it.  When retaking an exam, you must wait at least until the next business day after the first attempt to retake an exam.  You cannot do the first attempt of an exam and its retake in the same day.  Another time that you will not be able to take multiple exams is on a drop deadline.  Every student may only check out one exam on a drop deadline.  There are no exceptions to the above policies.  As long as you are not attempting to do a retake on the same day or it is a drop deadline, you may take multiple exams in one day. 


Q: What is a retake?

A: During the semester, you will be allowed a total of five retakes, unless you are in Math 80A or 80B, in which case you will be allowed a total of three retakes. Below are the guidelines for retakes:

1) You may only retake exams in which you received a score below 70%.


2) You may only retake any given exam once.


3) You may not retake the midterm or the final.


4) You may not do a retake in the same day as the original attempt.

    (In other words, if you decide to retake an exam, the earliest you would be able to do so would be 

      the next business day after the first attempt.)


5) When doing a retake, the original attempt and the retake attempt will be averaged to become your

     new exam score.


6) If you decide not to do a retake, you will not be allowed to do so once you have moved on to the next



Q: If I don't pass my exam, do I have to retake it?

A: You do not have to retake an exam. However remember if you decide not to do a retake, you will not be allowed to do so later once you have moved on to the next exam.


Q: Do I get the higher score if I retake an exam?

A: Both the original grade and the retake score will count in your average. We will add both scores, divide by two, and the new average grade will be your exam grade.


Q: Can I take my exams home to study?

A: No. All exams are to remain in the MLC.


Q: Do I have to take the exams exactly when my course schedule says to?

A: You can take an exam on any day the MLC is open. You can take an exam ahead or behind schedule. However, remember if you are behind schedule you may be dropped.


Q: Do I have to take the Midterm during the week indicated in my course schedule?

A: A midterm works exactly like a regular exam in that it can be taken ahead or behind schedule. It must be taken in the order it appears on your schedule. Remember, if you are behind  schedule you may be dropped.


Q: Do I have to take the Final during finals week?

A: You can take the final on or before finals week. MW classes must take the final on or before the Monday of finals week. TTh classes must take the final on or before the Tuesday of  finals week. All finals must be started no later than one hour after the start of your class time.


Q: What is the last time for me to check out an exam?

A: Exams need to be checked out no later than 1 hour and 45 minutes before closing. All exams are collected 15 minutes before closing.


Q: Can I take a restroom break during an exam?

A: You can take a restroom break but you may not return to finish your exam. Remember, once you check out an exam, you may not leave the exam room without turning in your exam to be graded. As a college student, you need to be responsible for taking care of your restroom needs before you check out an exam. If you require special accommodations during your  exam, please contact DSPS.


Q: What if I need to take an important phone call during an exam?

A: All phones need to be turned off and put away while in the testing room. If you are expecting an important call, we suggest that you wait to take your exam when you are fully  available.


Q: Is there a time limit when I'm taking my exam?

A: The only time limit is that we collect the exams 15 minutes before closing. You can usually take as much time as you need on an exam. Just remember, you cannot leave the exam room  without turning in your exam to be graded.


Q: Can I take a practice quiz before I take my exam?

A: It is up to the discretion of an instructor or instructional aide as to if a practice quiz is administered. Practice quizzes may not be requested.


Q: Why do you take ½ of the points off when I just made a minor mistake?

A: Since we have several instructional aides and instructors grading exams, we use this policy to ensure our grading is consistent. If you have questions about your exam grade, see an instructor within two business days.

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