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COURSE NAME: "Pre-Calculus"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 3:00 PM 4:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Placement or completion of MA 101 with a grade of C- or above
OFFICE HOURS: Tutoring is available in the math tutoring center

This course provides an introduction to Calculus that focuses on functions and graphs. The properties of absolute value, polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions will be studied, along with the techniques for solving equations and inequalities involving those functions.
This course will serve as an introduction to Calculus I and will develop further the fundamental concepts studied in Intermediate Algebra, often oriented towards practical applications in business and economics. Particular emphasis will be given to functions as the first step towards analysing real world problems in mathematical terms. Registration for the course is by placement or by completion of MA101 with a grade of C or higher.
The students at the end of the course will be expected to have developed their problem-solving abilities, they will be expected to be able to recognise when a problem is similar to one they have seen before and will be expected to be use the material learnt in class and in the homework exercises to solve problems that are not necessarily identical to ones they have already seen. The foundational material for a class in calculus will all be covered, but the most important aspect of precalculus is to transition from the idea of mathematics as "plugging numbers in a formula" or "following rules to get the answer", to thinking abstractly and creatively to solve problems.
Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
PRECALCULUS. Mathematics for Calculus J. Stewart, L. Redlin, S. WatsonBrooks Cole ISBN-10: 0840068867      

Final Exam (comprehensive)The final will be comprehensive, but will be weighted more heavily towards the later topics. 40%
In-class examsThere will be two in-class exams, each worth 30% of the final grade. The first exam will be on TUESDAY of WEEK 7, and the second will be on THURSDAY of WEEK 11. 60%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. The student demonstrates complete, accurate, and critical knowledge of all the topics, and is able to solve problems autonomously.
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluate theory and concepts and relate them to practice. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence that the student uses clear logic in their arguments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures. Mathematical statements are properly written most of the time.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material. Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included. Many mistakes are made in solving the problem raised. In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that they should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the subject matter. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.


Attendance is mandatory for the course.

You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed.

DURING THE SEMESTER, MAKE-UP EXAMS WILL NOT BE GIVEN UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. If you need to miss an assessment, the weight of that assessment will be shifted to the final. If you have to miss the final, if you are in good standing with the course, you can ask for an incomplete. If you are not in good standing and miss the final, I will be unable to assign a grade for the course, other than by considering the class tests you have already completed (this means you will be assigned a D or an F as appropriate).
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


The course covers 5 main topics:

Topic 1: Basic concepts (8 lectures)

Functions, domains and ranges, composition and inverses, transformations of functions/graphs.

Topic 2: Trigonometry (4 lectures)

The unit circle, degrees and radian measures of angle, the definition and basic properties of the principal trigonometric functions, useful identities and formulas.

Topic 3: Polynomials (4 lectures)

Factorising, finding zeros and the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra, complex numbers, sketching graphs

Topic 4: Rational functions (4 lectures)

Builds on the study of polynomials, given that a rational function is the ratio of two polynomials. We will spend a significant amount of time understanding the features of the graphs of these functions.

Topic 5: Exponential and logarithmic functions (3 lectures)

Definition and basic features of the graphs, basic modelling

There is also space built in to the lecture schedule for exercise classes and a revision period before the final exam.