Prerequisite Mathematical Skills for Entering Precalculus – Spring 2008
In order to successfully begin your Precalculus course, you must have a sound knowledge of certain mathematical
skills and concepts.
I have identified the items in the following list as those fundamental skills and concepts that all
entering Precalculus students must possess.
I
assume
that if you are taking this class, then you meet the following
minimum standards of mathematical prerequisite knowledge.
I encourage you to evaluate your own skills and
knowledge against the following minimum standard, and to work at eliminating any deficiencies before starting
Precalculus or as soon as possible after starting Precalculus.
Schaum’s Outline of College Algebra
is a good reference for these skills.
Some of these skills also appear in
Appendix A and Chapter 1 of
Precalculus, 8
th
edition
, by Sullivan (the Math 19 course textbook).
1. Real Numbers
a.
Carry out basic arithmetic calculations
, especially
those involving fractions and radicals.
b.
Understand and use percent in context.
c.
Compare and order rational numbers expressed as
fractions and/or decimals
.
d.
Solve problems involving fractions and/or decimals
in context
.
e.
Interpret and use ratio and proportion in context
.
f.
Use estimation appropriately
.
g.
Evaluate and estimate square roots
.
h.
Identify and plot real numbers on a number line
.
i.
Determine the absolute value of any real number.
j.
Represent sets of real numbers (such as those that
satisfy inequality or absolute value statements) using
interval notation, inequality notation, or a graph.
k.
Understand the nature of closed, open, halfopen, and
halfclosed intervals.
l.
Determine the distance between any two real
numbers, computationally and graphically.
m.
Be familiar with the important algebraic properties of
the real number system (order, associativity,
commutativity, identity, inverse, distributivity, zero
product).
n.
Write a number as a product of factors.
2. Algebraic Expressions
a.
Understand the meanings and roles of constants
and
variables
.
b.
Evaluate and interpret algebraic expressions
for
given values of the variable(s).
c.
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 Bergthold,Trisha
 Calculus, Algebraic Expressions, Quadratic equation, literal coefficients

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