MTH 103 Applied Precalculus Spring 2020
All Sections

  • Text: McCallum, Connally, Hughes-Hallett,, Algebra: Form and Function, 2th Edition, with WileyPLUS.
  • Online Homework: We will use online homework WileyPLUS. See information below.
  • Calculators: A graphing/scientific calculator is required but not all calculators are allowed. See information below.

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About the course

The language of science is mathematics, and functions and modeling are an indispensable part of science, technology, engineering, and other fields. MTH 103 is intended for students in life sciences and any other areas where applications of mathematics are important. This course will make precise and deepen your understanding of fundamental concepts such as algebraic expressions, equations, graphs, and functions, in particular, linear, quadratic, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions. You will master these functions in the context of applied problems and learn how to use them to model real-life processes. This course will help you to become an effective mathematics problem solver. In particular: understand concepts rather than merely mimic techniques, demonstrate understanding through explanation, explore the relationship between a process and the corresponding inverse process, and select the proper mathematical tool or tools for the task at hand.

Exams and Evaluation

MTH 103 is a coordinated course - all sections follow the same syllabus and will have common evening exams and the Final. There will be three exams during the semester and the cummulative Final Exam scheduled as follows:

  • Exam I: Wednesday, 2/19, 6-7:30 PM. Location: Chafee 271;
  • Exam II will be given online on Friday, April 3. Details can be found on MTH 103 REMOTE Spring 2020 Sakai site.
  • Exam III will be given online on Wednesday, April 22. Details can be found on MTH 103 REMOTE Spring 2020 Sakai site.
  • Our Final Exam will be given online on Thursday, April 30. Details can be found on MTH 103 REMOTE Spring 2020 Sakai site.

Your grade will be based on a possible total of 700 points, as follows:

  • Three exams at 100 points each -- 300 points;
  • Final Exam -- 200 points;
  • WileyPLUS Homework -- 50 points;
  • Classwork: -- 100 points.
  • Algebra Enhancement Project: -- 50 points.

Classwork will be prepared by your instructor. It may include in-class or take-home quizzes which may be taken individually or in teams. It may include applied team projects, readings, student's class presentations. Your instructor will provide you with detailed description of classwork required in your section. Classwork will include online quizzes given after March 23 except for Online Quiz 4 that will be handled differently.

Your letter grade will be determined following approximately the usual scale:

A (92% - 100%), A- (90% - 91%), B+ (87% - 89%), B (82% - 86%), B- (80% - 81%), C+ (77% - 79%), C (72% - 76%), C- (70% - 71%), D+ (67% - 69%), D (60% - 66%), F (0% - 59%).

WileyPLUS Online Homework System

We will be using WileyPLUS online homework system in this course. To sign up for the WileyPLUS system, you will need a WileyPLUS registration (access) code for our textbook.

If you buy our textbook bundled with WileyPLUS at the URI Bookstore, a registration code for WileyPLUS will be included in the bundle.

You can buy a WileyPLUS registration code only. A registration code will give you access to an electronic copy of the textbook.

If you buy a copy of our textbook somewhere else and it does not include WileyPLUS code, you will still need to purchase a WileyPLUS code separately.

You can buy a registration code and register for your section by going to WileyPLUS Course Finder and enering a 6-digit number specific to your section that your instructor will provide you.

Algebra Enhancement Project (A.E.P.) for MTH 103

How Does A.E.P. Work?

The Algebra Diagnostic Exam, worth 50 points toward your grade, will be given in class on:

  • Monday, January 27 for MWF classes;
  • Tuesday, January 28 for TTH classes.

If you receive 70% or better on the Algebra Diagnostic Exam, you are all set and you earn 50 points toward your grade. If your score is less than 70%, you will be added to the AEP for MTH 103 project. This five-week project will be offered entirely online between February 3 and March 8 through the separate Sakai Project Site "MTH 103 AEP Spring 2020". This site provides five weekly mini online lessons that afford you the opportunity to enhance your algebra skills and earn up to thefull 50 points of your course grade back through five corresponding online quizzes.

Why A.E.P.?

To succed in MTH 103 you need to have basic familiarity with arithmetic and algebra. In particular, you need to be proficient in the topics listed below. The Algebra Diagnostic Exam will assess your level of proficiency in those topics and if you need a refresher, the Algebra Enhancement Project will help you to brush up on your algebra skills.

Available Help

Thre will be help available during the semester.


A scientific calculator or a basic graphing calculator is required for this course. A scientific calculator costs approximately $10; it has buttons that say ln, log, sin, cos, etc and does not have the ability to graph. Graphing calculators are more expensive at approximately $45-$100, but you will be required to have one in the next applied course MTH 131. If you intend to take that course in one of the coming semesters, it is recommended to make the investment to obtain one now and get comfortable with using it (if you are not already).

Graphing calculators capable of symbolic calculations, those utilizing a computer algebra system and those that connect to the internet are not allowed on quizzes, exams and during teamwork in class for obvoius reasons. They are not allowed in MTH 103 or in MTH 131.

Here is a list of common graphing calculators that are acceptable in this course and in MTH 131 and those which are not allowed: Graphing calculators that are allowed and those which are not. In case of doubts, consult your instructor.

MTH 103 Learning Objectives

At the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Functions. Use functions defined algebraically, numerically and graphically, to determine properties and behaviors of those functions.
  • Linear Functions. Recognize the relationship between linearity and constant rate of change, identify slope and intercepts of a linear function, derive equations of straight lines and linear functions, and model real life processes by using linear functions.
  • Quadratic Functions. Identify different forms of quadratic functions, their geometric properties and graphs, and solve quadratic equations.
  • Power Functions. Relate basic properties of a power function to the properties of the exponent, use the laws of exponents to put functions in a form where the exponent can be clearly recognized, and model real life processes by using power functions.
  • Exponential Functions. Interpret different forms of an exponential function in terms of properties of the function, model real life processes by using exponential functions.
  • Logarithmic Functions. Use properties of logarithms to solve exponential equations, and use logarithms in applied problems.
  • Periodic Functions. Determine period and amplitude of a periodic function from a formula or the graph, or a verbal description of the function, use families of sinusoidal functions for modeling.
  • Written Mathematical Communication. Communicate effectively in written form mathematical ideas and solutions, by stating in a complete, clear, concise, and organized manner steps, calculations, solution strategy, conclusions, and when appropriate, interpreting results in practical or applied terms.

MTH 103 as a General Education course and as a Prerequisite to MTH 131

Recall that a MTH 131 pre-requsite is passing a placement exam or C or better grade in MTH 103 or MTH 111.

MTH 103 satisfies the A1 - science, technology, engineering, and mathematical (STEM) and B3 - mathematical, statistical, or computational general education outcomes.

Calendar and Syllabus

The link to the syllabus is at the top of this page. For your convenience, here it is again:

 Click Here for Calendar and Syllabus 

Page updated: March 23, 2020   Math Home