Summer Math Program 2013 - for incoming First Year Students
Most students will benefit from extra preparation in math during the summer before coming to Clarkson. We have lots of ways for you to get some help. (See our brochure "Calculus at Clarkson".)
Calculus Readiness Assessment
In the spring a diagnostic test is distributed to all incoming first-year students. In excess of 90% of the students respond to this. Based on their individual performance they are advised (by email to students and letters to parents) as to whether they need further practice during the summer.
A few students may need some course work, but most will just need to sharpen their skills in order to have a good chance of succeeding in calculus. The recommendation can take three different forms:
- A web-based refresher course that is available to all,
- MA031 Precalculus is offered during Summer Session II, and
- A special 9-day springboard course is offered to students immediately before Welcome Week.
MA031 Pre-Calculus in Summer Session II. This is a specially scheduled summer course with an outstanding instructor, meeting July 1st to July 26th. There is a 90-minute class every day, six days a week. The credit does not count toward graduation in most majors. See administrative details and a course description. Housing on-campus is NOT generally available, so this option is only suitable for those students within commuting distance.
Pre-Calculus elsewhere. Many community colleges and other institutions offer Pre-Calculus in summer sessions. If you want to take such a course, you should move quickly. most summer sessions start late June or early July.
Springboard — Math Refresher This special, non-credit program is designed to get students up and ready for MA131 Calculus I. You should arrive on campus Wednesday, August 14 (11:00 – 1:00 p.m.). The program runs from Thursday, August 15 thru Thursday, August 22 (the day registration and orientation for freshmen starts). Register by July 2 or until the program is filled (which is limited to 70 students on a first come first serve basis.)
It covers essential topics in algebra, trigonometry and geometry used in calculus. You attend classes each day, Thursday to Thursday (except for Sunday), for four hours (with breaks).
You move into your fall residence early and get to know Clarkson and Potsdam.
CU-Math This is a web-based program open to any student coming to Clarkson in the fall of 2013. To get a good result from this program, you need to put in about five hours a week for seven weeks. No registration needed.
CU Math Home page
Here are some details:
- It begins on June 24 and ends August 9, 2013.
- You get pre-tests, text material and exercises over the web.
- You do reading and exercises four days a week.
- Each Friday, you take a quiz and e-mail your answers. You receive feedback from an Instructor on how you did on the quiz.
- Quiz solutions are posted each Monday.
- Here is a quiz you can take to help identify possible problem areas.
- Here are solutions to that quiz.
There is no charge and no credit for this program.
Private Tutor. You may be able to find a private tutor. It doesn't have to be a math teacher, just someone who knows whether you're doing a problem right or wrong and can explain the right way. This can be a great way to get ready. Here are some pointers.
Get a book and do exercises, about one hour daily, five days a week. The important thing is to get lots of practice.
Don't use a calculator for anything. Calculators are not allowed on Calculus tests at Clarkson.
Books. There are many books for pre-calculus courses. Here are some inexpensive ones that have lots of exercises.
- Cliffs Quick Reviews (Algebra II, Trigonometry)
- Schaum's Outline Series (Precalculus, College Algebra, Trigonometry)
- Bob Miller's Calc for the Clueless: Precalc with Trigonometry
- Barron's Trigonometry the Easy Way, Barron's Algebra the Easy Way
Topics. Here are the most important subjects to study.
- Expanding binomials
- Simplifying compound fractions
- Addition & subtraction of fractions
- Factoring and roots
- Quadratic formula
- Completing a square
- Solving equations: linear, quadratic, systems, functional
- Exponents and radicals
- Trig function definitions as ratios
- Trig function values at common angles (multiples of TT/6 & TT/4)
- Graphs of sine, cosine, tangent functions
- Simple identities (sin2(A) + cos2(A)=1)
- Unit circle
- Inverse trig functions — definitions, principal values
- Pythagorean theorem
- Similar triangles
- Lines: equations, intercepts, slope, graph, parallel, perpendicular
- Circumference: rectangle, circle
- Area formulas: circle, rectangle, triangle
- Volume: box, cylinder, cone, sphere
Once you're here
The ABCs test is our way to ensure that students have the basic skills in algebra and trigonometry that are necessary for success in calculus. The ABCs tests are not Calc I tests, they are tests of Absolute Basic Competencies (hence the acronym). Passing the ABC test is a required part of the calculus course. Students are given many chances to pass this test during the first several weeks of the Fall semester. During that period, voluntary help/review sessions are organized four days per week for those that want it. Students who do not pass during the first three weeks are enrolled in MA041.
MA041 Co-Calculus meets twice a week (for credit) for the remainder of the semester. At the end of this course, students in MA041 have another opportunity to pass the ABCs test, and any who have still not passed are given a final chance during finals week. This course does not cover any new material. Its objective is to give additional help on basic skills for those who need it.