Section Information

The information below pertains to the Fall 2016 semester.

Algebra Review

If you'd like to brush up on your algebra before the class begins, try out the problems on this review sheet. An answer key is available when you're ready to check your work.

Exam Review

Exam I
Exam II
Exam III
Exam IV

Course Information

Meeting Time and Location

Meeting Times: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, 2:00 - 2:50 am
Location: Zurn 207
Office Hours: Mon 9:15 - 10:45, Wed 12:15 - 1:45, Thur 12:30 - 3:00, Fri 9:15 - 10:45
Prerequisite: Minimum math placement score of 54 (first year students only)

Course Description

This course has been designed for students who plan to take calculus but may be deficient in some aspects of their mathematical preparation. While many of the topics covered are similar to those covered in a typical college precalculus course, there is more emphasis on the application, a faster pace is maintained, and a greater depth of understanding is required. It is expected that students have taken intermediate algebra and precalculus prior to this class; as stated, this course is intended to fix deficiencies.

The course will cover the fundamental concepts of college algebra, precalculus, and a preparation for calculus. More specifically; the topics will include factoring, integer and rational exponents, simplifying algebraic expressions, solving equations and inequalities, basic trigonometry, function notation, polynomial and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, trigonometric and inverse trigonometric functions, graphs of functions and applications.

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course a student will be mathematically prepared to succeed in a college calculus course, and subsequent science courses. In particular, you will learn to:
  • demonstrate a working knowledge of the basics of the language of mathematics,
  • have acquired study habits necessary for continued success in your subsequent science and mathematics courses,
  • apply your understanding of algebra as required in both calculus and applications in sciences,
  • organize all of your mathematical tools, techniques, procedures, and problem solving skills further developed in this course. This will enable you to utilize the appropriate tools to restate, setup, and then solve problems in calculus and beyond,
  • continue to develop your mathematical skills and thought processes subsequent to this course, given the solid foundation you built in this course.

Required Materials

Precalculus Essentials, Fourth Edition, by Robert Blitzer, 4th Edition. Be sure to check the edition when purchasing your textbook; other editions have similar material, but the assigned problems may be different. No other materials are required for this class. You do NOT need to purchase a subscription to MyMathLab or pay to access any other online resources. You will not be expected to bring your textbook to class. If you prefer to purchase an electronic version of the text, you're welcome to do so.
You are not required to purchase a calculator for this course, and you will not be permitted to use a calculator or other electronic device on any quizzes or exams. You are strongly encouraged to avoid using a calculator while working on homework.


You will be given quizzes on the material regularly. Keeping up with the homework will ensure that you are prepared for the quizzes, which will feature problems very similar to those in the homework. The dates for quizzes is provided in the schedule below; note that exact topics covered on a quiz is subject to change if we are behind.

Quiz grades will not be based strictly on whether or not you found the correct answer. Your work must also be written clearly, and with proper notation, to receive full credit. Your lowest quiz grade will be dropped from your average, including any missed quizzes. Make up quizzes will only be given for excused absences. All make ups must be completed before the graded quiz is returned to the class; this will typically be the next class meeting.


There will be four midterm exams given throughout the semester, in addition to the final exam. The material on the exams will be similar to topics covered on quizzes and homework. You will be given review guides for each exam. All exams are cumulative; each exam will include some material from the previous exams. Mathematics is a cumulative effort, and mastering each topic is only possible if you have mastered earlier concepts. Use of notes, textbooks, calculators, electronic devices, or other materials will not be permitted during an exam.

If you need to miss class during a scheduled exam for a documented, excused reason (illness, family emergency, athletics), you will be able to make up the exam. You must schedule a time to retake any exam within one week of the day the exam was given in class.

Your lowest exam grade (including a missed exam) will be replaced by your final exam grade, if your final exam grade is better. A second missed exam will receive a grade of 0, so please check your schedules carefully and ensure that you can attend all exams.

Exam Dates
The four midterm exams are scheduled for
  • Exam I: September 16 (Chapter P)
  • Exam II: October 11 (Chapter 1)
  • Exam III: November 4 (Chapter 2)
  • Exam IV: December 2 (Chapters 3 and 4)
The final exam is scheduled for Friday, December 16, 1:00 - 3:00.


Basis of Final Grade
  • 60%: Average of exam grades
  • 20%: Average of quiz grades (lowest quiz grade dropped)
  • 20%: Final Exam
Grading Scale
Grade Calculator
Enter as much information as you have. For the exams, enter your grade as a percentage, not points. Enter your current quiz average from Blackboard; this percentage already has the lowest grade dropped. Enter the total number of quizzes the class has taken, even if you missed one. If we have not yet taken an exam, leave that box empty (do not enter 0). Click enter after making any changes to recalculate.

Quiz Average: %     Number of Quizzes Given in Class:

Exam 1: %
Exam 2: %
Exam 3: %
Exam 4: %


The Department of Mathematics offers free tutoring for Math 118 students in Zurn 213. No appointments are needed, just drop by according to the schedule here. You are free to ask tutors questions on any assigned homework and exam review sheets.

Learning Differences

In keeping with college policy, any student with a disability who needs academic accommodations must call Learning Differences Program secretary at 824-3017, to arrange a confidential appointment with the director of the Learning Differences Program during the first week of classes.

Mercy Mission

This course supports the mission of Mercyhurst University by creating students who are intellectually creative. Students will foster this creativity by: applying critical thinking and qualitative reasoning techniques to new disciplines; developing, analyzing, and synthesizing scientific ideas; and engaging in innovative problem solving strategies.


When we finish a section in the book, you should immediately begin working on the homework problems below.

Your work will not be collected. However, actually working through these problems is the key to your success in this class. Attending every class is not enough; mathematics can only be learned through practice. You should plan to spend a significant amount of time on the homework. It is expected that you spend at least 12 hours per week studying the material outside our class meetings, according to the common 3-4 hour per credit rule of thumb.

Stay up to date with homework, and get help if you cannot understand a problem after trying it on your own. Do not ignore a problem that you are struggling with. Our class is focused on the foundations of mathematics that you will need in this course and in Calculus. A weak spot in this foundation will lead to a bigger problem in the future.

If you are having trouble with a topic, please come talk to me during office hours, ask questions in class, seek help from a classmate, or go to the department tutors for assistance. You are expected to try to work on all problems on your own first; when coming to my office, be prepared to show me what you’ve already tried.



The exact topic covered on a particular date is subject to change. Exams and quizzes will be given on the day they are scheduled, though the sections appearing on a quiz may differ. Announcements will be made in class regarding any schedule changes.



Software, Videos, and Apps

Free Online Algebra and Precalculus Courses

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