MA002: Precalculus I

Course Syllabus for "MA002: Precalculus I"

Please note: this legacy course does not offer a certificate and may contain broken links and outdated information. Although archived, it is open for learning without registration or enrollment. Please consider contributing updates to this course on GitHub (you can also adopt, adapt, and distribute this course under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license). To find fully-supported, current courses, visit our Learn site.

Precalculus I is designed to prepare you for Precalculus II, Calculus, Physics, and higher math and science courses. In this course, the main focus is on five types of functions: linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic. In accompaniment with these functions, you will learn how to solve equations and inequalities, graph, find domains and ranges, combine functions, and solve a multitude of real-world applications. In this course, you will not only be learning new algebraic techniques that are necessary for other math and science courses, but you will be learning to become a critical thinker. You will be able to determine what is the best approach to take such as numerical, graphical, or algebraic to solve a problem given particular information. Then you will investigate and solve the problem, interpret the answer, and determine if it is reasonable. A few examples of applications in this course are determining compound interest, growth of bacteria, decay of a radioactive substance, and the maximum height of a rocket. You will also use a graphing calculator to model a data set and find the function of best-fit and then interpolate or extrapolate from that function. This course has been developed through a partnership with the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges. Unless otherwise noted, all materials are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. The Saylor Foundation has modified some materials created by the Washington State Board for Community & Technical Colleges in order to best serve our users.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • define the concept of function and determine the domain, range, inverse, and symmetries of functions;
  • graph linear, absolute value, root, piecewise, polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions and circles;
  • identify the properties of polynomial and rational functions such as degree, maximum number of zeros, maximum number of turns, multiplicity of zeros, vertical asymptotes, horizontal asymptotes, and long-run behavior;
  • compute the equations of linear, polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions analytically given appropriate data;
  • estimate solutions to and solve equations involving linear, absolute value, root, polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions;
  • solve inequalities involving linear, absolute value, and polynomial functions;
  • utilize multiple approaches to describe functions such as verbally, algebraically, in tabular form, or graphically;
  • solve and analyze application problems such as optimization or growth/decay, using the appropriate functions, and evaluate the reasonableness of the solution; and
  • utilize technology to model linear, polynomial, exponential, and logarithmic data and interpret the results.

Course Requirements

In order to take this course, you must:

√    have access to a computer;

√    have continuous broadband Internet access;

√    have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g., Adobe Reader or Flash);

√    have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer;

√    have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt, .xls, etc.);

√    have competency in the English language;

√    have read the Saylor Student Handbook;

√    have access to a graphing calculator (e.g., TI-83 or TI-84); and

√    have completed MA004: Intermediate Algebra or have knowledge equivalent to the content of an intermediate algebra course.


Course Information

Welcome to MA002: Precalculus I. Below, please find some general information on the course and its requirements.

Course Designer: Pamela Maslyk and Professor Abby Sharp
Primary Resources: This course is comprised of a range of different free, online materials. However, the course makes primary use of the following materials (Important: Please take the time to make sure that the resources below will run appropriately on your computer):

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials. You will need to complete the following:

  • Unit 1 Activities
  • Unit 1 Assessment
  • Unit 2 Activities
  • Unit 2 Assessment
  • Unit 3 Activities
  • Unit 3 Assessment
  • Unit 4 Activities
  • Unit 4 Assessment
  • Final Exam

Note that you will only receive an official grade on your final exam. However, in order to adequately prepare for this exam, you will need to work through the activities and assessments for each unit.
In order to “pass” this course, you will need to earn a 70% or higher on the final exam. Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it. If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.
Time Commitment: This course should take approximately 93 hours to complete. Each unit includes a time advisory that lists the amount of time you are expected to spend on each subunit. It may be helpful for you to review these time advisories in advance in order to budget your time wisely.
Tips/Suggestions: Please make sure to take comprehensive notes as you go through each section. Label your work clearly so you can recall it easily. It may be a good idea to review the homework problems before each new unit, as the new material often builds on the previous unit. If there is anything you have forgotten, you can go back and review the material in that particular subunit to refresh your memory. In addition to the reviews at the end of each unit, go back through your notes to recall what you have learned before taking the final exam.

  Table of Contents: You can find the course's units at the links below.