You should KNOW

        1.  How much review of basic arithmetic and algebra you need, including how you did on the Placement Exam.  
        2.  How to use the two course texts. 
        3.  Your instructor's name and office time/location.
        4.   Where to find course information (this web site!).
        5.   How to use the Calendar/Syllabus page and the Learning Outcomes.        
        6.   That the  way to succeed in this course is by consistently doing the homework, and coming to class. 

You should be ABLE TO

         1.   Get started with a focused review of  arithmetic and algebra as needed.

Introduction and Self Assessment 

MTH 111 is called PreCalculus for a reason---it's designed to prepare you to take further courses in calculus, for work in the sciences, engineering,  etc.  But whatever your math background, and whatever your reasons for taking MTH 111, we want to help you to be as successful as you can in this course.  If we can make it enjoyable, so much the better.

There are two texts for this course.  the Just-In-Time book (JIT) is chatty and informal, while Fundamentals of Precalculus (FP)  is a more traditional systematic textbook.  We will use them both,  and you may find that for any given topic one of them makes more sense to you than the other.  There is also an assortment of on-line features (quizzes, games, tutorials, videos) for each topic.   Your instructor may assign some of these, but they are mostly optional.  But check them out---especially for topics that you feel you need a little extra help with.   

THE SECRET TO SUCCESS!! OK, here it is:  Your instructor, the textbooks, the tutors available at the Academic Enhancement Center, etc.  are all here to help, but YOU need to take responsibility for learning the material.  The most important thing is to make an honest effort on the homework problems.  You learn much more from a problem that stumps you for a while than from one you can do instantly.   Don't expect your instructor to pour the contents of this course in your ear!   Use all the resources at your disposal. 

The main reason that students have trouble with MTH 111 (aside from insufficient time studying!)  is difficulty with  arithmetic and elementary algebra.   If you did well in a good high school Algebra II course and remember most of it,  you'll do fine. But maybe you forgot some of this stuff, or maybe never really learned it well enough the first time around.  In any case, it will be very useful to make sure that you have the basics down and won't be constantly tripped up by errors in arithmetic (like proper handling of parentheses and fractions) and basic algebra.   We will use the  Just-In-Time  book (JIT) that is one of the two texts for this course to help with this.  Obviously, we can't  reteach you all of arithmetic and algebra in class (although we'll try to hit the famous problem spots) so you will need to figure out where you need more work.   In many cases, this will be a matter of identifying bad habits or misconceptions before they result in errors throughout the course.   For example, each of the following is WRONG.  Do you see why?


1.  Look at your results on the URI Math Online Placement Exam.   Remember that if you didn't take this already you should take it as soon as possible.  If you got somewhere near 20 out of 26 right on Part I and your Arithmetic/Algebra subscore was at least  8, you will probably breeze through the review problems--but you should look them over anyway.  If your score was much lower you will need to spend more time, BUT IT WILL REALLY PAY OFF!

2.  Do the assigned problems for this topic and check your results at the back of the book.  If you made an error try to figure out what you did wrong.  Look at the examples in JIT.  Ask a friend.  Ask your instructor.

Uh, will it be on the exam? 

Good question.  The exams problems will resemble homework problems.  So doing ALL the homework problems and making sure you really understand them is excellent preparation for the exams.  The homework problems also provide good indications of what we consider most important.   If there is no problem about some topic that appears in the texts, we won't ask you about that topic.  You will find this reflected in the Learning Outcomes as well, which you should think of as a check list at exam time.  To help you even more, we will provide sets of practice problems before each exam that will closely resemble the problems you will see on the exam. Be sure to review these practice problems. .  But these will only be helpful if you have been doing the homework and if you actually work them out yourself,  before looking at the solutions that we will also provide.  It's really pretty simple--if you can't do the problems while sitting somewhere pleasant you will certainly not be able to do them during the exam!