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Algebra 2 + PreCalc (trig?)

  1. Aug 6, 2008 #1
    I just finished algebra 1 over this summer, pathetic I know. It's the price I gotta pay for messing up in high school and taking two years off afterwards. I start Algebra 2 in the fall and I'm going to take PreCalc over winter break. Does anyone recommend any books or materials I can use to further prepare for Algebra 2, especially PreCalc. My teacher told me it's a lot of trig. I have next to no experience with trig. In high school I took geometry but didn't do so good in it. Would Algebra 2 be sufficient preparation? The PreCalc class will be five days a week for twelve days. I know its overkill but it has to get done.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 6, 2008 #2
    Well I'm guessing that your goal in the long run is to be well prepared for calculus. Your knowledge acquired in algebra 1 + 2 will likely be much more useful towards that endeavor. This is hard to say since precalc varies from school to school.

    My advice is don't rush algebra 2 to get to precalc, especially if a lot of it is trig. Trig is important but no where near as important as a facility with algebra when it comes to calculus.
  4. Aug 6, 2008 #3
    this is the course description. I'm not really rushing. A2 in the fall and PC over winter

    GE MAT Prerequisite(s): Passing score on the College's Placement Test, MAT 014, at least two years of high school algebra, satisfactory score on placement examination, or permission of Department Chairperson Emphasis is on those topics from algebra and trigonometry that best prepare students for the first course in calculus. The areas of study are algebraic and transcendental functions and their graphs. Of special interest are polynomials, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions.
  5. Aug 6, 2008 #4
    Oh sorry, what I meant to say was pay especial attention in algebra 2. Well ok, the concepts in a typical algebra 2 class aren't difficult to comprehend. It's the sheer volume of exercises and problems that will help you get better at doing algebra quickly and accurately, which is very useful in calculus.

    Anyways, algebra 2 is pretty much the prerequisite for precalculus. There should be some overlap between the two classes (I know my precalc class reviewed polynomial and rational functions, since it is an elementary function). I think nearly half of my precalc class was spent on limits and derivatives, which are calculus topics (well limits can be considered transition) so you'll probably go very in depth with trig.

    For algebra 2, you can go here: http://www.purplemath.com/modules/index.htm

    Everything you'll encounter in algebra 2 will probably be contained in the intermediate and advanced sections. It also contains material on some of the other functions mentioned in the course description.
  6. Aug 6, 2008 #5
    I agree. Algebra II is vitally important in any and all math you will take in the future. Trig can help, too, but you can learn that anytime, and it is really easy, anyway.

    I never took a precalculus class, so I don't know what is involved. My Calculus I class covered anything I needed to know for Calculus, like limits and logarithms.
  7. Aug 6, 2008 #6
    Trig is just a bunch of geometric functions, which are awesome in that eventually you can represent a whole mess of stuff as a periodic function and thus as some combination of trig functions.

    Algebra...almost every bit of math you will encounter in college if you're not a math major depends directly on your ability to do algebra. Often fairly basic algebra. It's also extremely applicable to personal life, business, or about any job you'll wind up having. This is the core tool of math that lets you ask a question and distill an answer. Take your time and make sure you understand as much of this as you can, don't just approach it with intent to pass the class and nothing more! If you've got this down pat, trig is really just a collection of a very small number of useful functions and rules for transforming between them.

    And it's not so much where you start...it's how hard you bust your *** to catch up. ;)
  8. Aug 6, 2008 #7
    well I did well in that algebra class. And have had some experience in algebra 2 so I
    pretty sure I'll be alright with that. Plus I love this stuff and I plan to get outta this cc with a 4.0. But I can skip precalc and go straight to calculus 1?? I'll probably have to take a diagnostic test but with a strong background in algebra I can bypaSs the precalc class??

    I apolagiZe for lack of grammar, I'm typing from my iPhone LOL
  9. Aug 8, 2008 #8
    I think I'm in the same boat as you... I blew it in high school and started college a few years later than normal, but now I'm doing great... I actually had to take intermediate algebra before I took college level, passed them with an A. Now I'm registered to take pre-cal in the Fall...

    I bought the book early and have been practicing on the trig sections w/ the student solutions manual that came with the book... if you can get ahold of the book and the SSM, self-study for pre-cal is probably your best bet... it's also a confidence booster just to be familar with the new concepts...

    good luck
  10. Sep 7, 2008 #9
    I'm fairly young but I skipped a couple of grades because of my physics aptitude. The problem is, I don't understand math class. Can you point me in the right dirrection?
  11. Sep 8, 2008 #10
    Algebra I & II teach you the mechanics of equation manipulation, viewing functions in multiple formats, and creating some comfort with interpreting word problems.

    Pre-Calculus is a bridge between what you learned in Algebra I & II and what you will learn in your four semester Calculus sequence (I, II, Multi, Diff-Eq). It certainly introduces the trigonometric functions and delves deeper into the transcendental functions, but along with it comes the ideas of limits and thinking about how a function is changing rather than just it's value at a given point.

    When I went back to school I started off in Pre-Calculus to reinforce my foundations (I'm taking Multi now). Your algebraic foundations are incredibly important, and you shouldn't underestimate them. I had university credits for Calculus classes, but chose to start off again in Pre-Calculus. The biggest problems I see people have in Multi are with algebraic manipulation of large trigonometric functions, and working with multiple fractional exponents - Pre-Calculus stuff.

    Developing the ability to "see" real-world phenomena as a mathematical function, and having the training to "tweak" the components of that function to model the data is a great skill that you will develop as you learn more and more mathematics. Pre-Calculus is the class where I first noticed this tool being forged.

    Good luck with Pre-Calc! It's exciting to approach the Calculus sequence!
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