Department of Mathematics

Van Vleck Hall, 480 Lincoln Drive, Madison, WI

Math 096: Preparatory Algebra

Course description:

Covers the necessary mathematical tools needed to succeed in our algebra course and provides fundamental mathematical skills. Topics include real numbers, linear equations and inequalities, integral and fractional exponents, polynomials and their arithmetic, polynomial equations and equations with fractional exponents, the quadratic formula and completing the square, systems of two linear equations, graphing, and problem solving using algebra and graphs. All students must pass an assessment on basic mathematical skills to complete the course.

The course does not count for degree credit. 

Fundamental Mathematical Skills assessment:

During the first week of the semester every student will have to take a computer­ aided assessment on basic mathematical skills (involving arithmetic procedures and their applications). Those students who do not get a passing grade in the assessment will have a chance to retake the assessment every week (until they succeed) in a fixed designated timeslot during the laboratory hours. (The questions on the assessment will change from week to week.) Students who cannot pass the assessment by the 15th week of the semester will receive a failing grade in the course. 


Course outline:

  • Review (integer and rational numbers, operations on fractions, decimals and percentages)
  • Real Numbers and Algebraic Expressions, Linear Equations in One Variable
  • Linear Inequalities in One Variable, Graphs of Linear Equations in Two Variables
  • Graphs of Linear Equations in Two Variables, Systems of Linear Equations and Inequalities, Functions and Relations
  • Exponents and Polynomials
  • Factoring Polynomials
  • ­Rational Expressions and Equations
  • Radicals and Rational Exponents
  • Quadratic Equations and Functions
  • Circles, Conic Sections 


3 (N-A)
Placement into MATH 96. Department consent required to drop/swap from course

UW-Madison Department of Mathematics
Van Vleck Hall
480 Lincoln Drive
Madison, Wi  53706

(608) 263-3054

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