Many students have questions about their preparation when entering a math and science heavy program. We’ve set a precalculus prerequisite for M&M so if you have any significant trouble with problems in algebra, geometry, or trigonometry, you will need to find time and resources to fill in this background. In our experience, students who can take advantage of the Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QuaSR) Center (our math and science tutoring center, located in Library 2304, in the main part of the Library in the Library building) can make up for quite a bit of math gaps, so consider how you might adjust your schedule during the year to take advantage of the QuaSR Center.
All students should be proficient in algebra, which is the prerequisite for general chemistry and algebra-based physics. Here are some General Chemistry Math Proficiency Problems that provide examples of the mathematical notation, math operations, and algebraic thinking you will be expected to be able to use upon entering M&M. There is an Intermediate Algebra diagnostic available at the WAMAP Precalculus course, described and linked to below.
You can download some sections of our calculus textbook below. The Preview of Calculus whets your appetite for what is to come (spoiler alert! Calculus is awesome! and useful!). Chapter 1 reviews much of the material from precalculus (with the notable absence of right triangle trigonometry). If the material from Chapter 1 (perhaps not necessarily the material from section 1.7) is familiar to you, then you’re in good shape and should just work some problems from the Review at the end of the chapter to get yourself warmed up. If you find the material from Chapter 1 unfamiliar, please don’t panic! See below for many other resources.
Some algebra review materials (there are many other good sources available):
- Algebraic Thinking for Sciences (Vauhn Foster-Grahler): Chapter 1 – The Numbers of Science
- Algebra Review, available at http://stewartcalculus.com/media/9_home.php
- Understanding Algebra http://www.jamesbrennan.org/algebra/
Precalculus review materials (including algebra, functions, and trigonometry):
- Precalulus: An Investigation of Functions is a freely available book http://www.opentextbookstore.com/precalc/
- WAMAP Precalculus self-study course: I have modified a self-study course that include freely available open-source textbooks, interactive exercises, and targeted video lectures and examples. To access, go to https://www.wamap.org/, Register as a new student (or Login if you already have a wamap account) and use the Course ID: 14851 and the Enrollment key: precalculus. You can use this rich resource to do targeted review at any point you like over the year.
- UC Irvine OpenCourseWare Pre-Calculus video lectures http://ocw.uci.edu/courses/math_1a1b_precalculus.html. The video lectures here are of a different quality than the ones available through the wamap course above.
- Chapter 1 of the freely available Calculus book by Strang introduces the main ideas of calculus but also reviews the idea of a function and reviews trigonometry http://ocw.mit.edu/resources/res-18-001-calculus-online-textbook-spring-2005/textbook/
- If you’d like a preview that includes Highlights of Calculus, Professor Strang has created a video series of that name http://ocw.mit.edu/resources/res-18-005-highlights-of-calculus-spring-2010/
- Advice on how to learn, with particular relevance to learning math and science, based on up-to-date research in cognitive science and learning theory; free on-line course started on May 14 and you can just view lectures on your own by enrolling https://www.coursera.org/course/learning