Course Organization and Requirements

At CSU, precalculus mathematics is organized into sequences of five one-credit courses:

MATH 117   College Algebra in Context I
MATH 118   College Algebra in Context II
MATH 124   Logarithmic and Exponential Functions
MATH 125   Numerical Trigonometry
MATH 126   Analytic Trigonometry

Each precalculus course is organized into four units or chapters. The requirement for satisfactorily completing a course is to demonstrate mastery of course material through sufficient scores on a Unit Exam at the conclusion of each unit and a comprehensive Final Exam, and accumulating enough points to earn a passing grade. Unit and Final Exams may be taken in the Precalculus Center or through an online proctoring service.  If necessary, a student may take Unit and Final Exams several times to earn the required score or the score desired. When a student completes a course, their final grade is determined from the sum of their best scores for each of the four Unit Exams and Final Exam, plus any points earned by passing the Review Exams by the applicable due date. The Precalculus Program provides many Learning Resources to help students master the course material.

Even though many of the instructional resources are online, don’t be fooled — these are NOT self-paced courses! For each course, students are expected to complete a series of activities on a strict deadline schedule.

The precalculus courses have many of the same components of traditional classes.  Just like in all classes, students are expected to take an active role in the learning process.

  • Students need to attend lecture, meaning students will be required to view the video lectures.
  • The textbook (an e-text) is a supplement to the lectures.  Students may read lecture notes, see example problems solved and try some practice problems (‘Try This’).
  • Students can attend office hours if they have questions.  The Precalculus Center has 45 hours each week of office hours, not the usual 3 hours.
  • Students can talk with an instructor (a Precalculus Center Director) if they have any questions or concerns.

The requirement for satisfactorily completing a precalculus course is to pass the four Unit Exams, in sequential order, and pass the comprehensive Final Exam with scores of at least 80%.  Unit Exams consist of 10 items, so eight items must be answered correctly to meet course requirements and be eligible to go on to the next unit. The Final Exam consists of 20 items, so sixteen must be answered correctly.  Students will also need to earn a minimum number of points to complete the course.

The University expects students to be spending approximately three hours per week per credit on their courses (see the “Advising and Registration” section of the General Catalog). Students have the flexibility to arrange which hours each week they want to schedule to complete their precalculus course(s). They should expect to spend at least 20 minutes per week per precalculus course visiting with a course assistant during office hours in the Precalculus Center.

All students in precalculus courses are responsible for completing the required coursework on time.   The due dates for the coursework are based on the number of precalculus courses in which the student is registered.  To recover from missed due dates, students must reduce the number of precalculus courses in which they are enrolled to get a new set of due dates and potentially recover lost points.  Students should speak with a Precalculus Center Director if they have any questions or concerns.

The Precalculus Program provides many learning resources to help students master the course content. Students are responsible for choosing the Learning Resources that work best for them, for managing their time and using these learning resources to master the course material, and for taking the initiative to demonstrate their knowledge on unit exams. To make wise decisions these students need to know what services and resources the Precalculus Program offers and the procedures and policies for using them.

To ensure that students registered for Precalculus courses have the necessary information, we require that they take a User’s Exam during the current academic semester before accessing any online course materials.  Students who are registered for precalculus courses and who have not completed the User’s Exam this semester should do so during the first week of the semester.

The User’s Exam consists of 15 questions about policies, procedures, and instructional resources of the Precalculus Program. The minimum passing score for the User’s Exam is 80% (12 of the 15 items). Scores from the User’s Exam are not included in the course point total and do not affect final grades.

This Guide contains all the information needed to answer every question on the User’s Exam correctly and includes a Sample User’s Exam. Students who are registered for Precalculus courses but have not passed the User’s Exam this semester should review this Guide, complete the Sample User’s Exam, and take the User’s Exam at https://precalc.math.colostate.edu or in the Precalculus Center (Weber 138).

Students should also read all the following sections: