Letter to Precalc Students
© January 2017, A. Azzolino
By now you should have read my letter and have gotten a feel for who I am.
Soon we see who you are. We see if you are ready at this moment to earn an A, B, or C, to see if you
are a serious and well-prepared student or if you must extend extra effort to become one. You need:
- arithmetic and algebraic proficiency -- the ability to do arithmetic and algebra,
- arithmetic,algebraic, trig, and precalc background -- the ability to recall topics taught in these courses,
- willingness and time to complete homework and study and get help on it if you need help -- remember, 2 hours of homework for
every hour of class time,
- the ability and willingness to get to class on time and without missing classes -- quizzes are often on a daily basis and at the
beginning of class,
- the ability to do well on quizzes, tests, and the final exam -- including proofreading your tests before handing them in.
We go into more detail than in a high school course. It is also a tough course because we have so much
to do so quickly and because there is such a variety of material which is needed for immediate recall.
It is a tough course but the results are fairly consistent from semester to semester. They are also consistent with the grades
given by fellow faculty members in physics and chemistry in their tough courses.
If you earned an A or B in your high school precalc and know how to study you should be fine. If you got a C or D in
high school precalc or if it was a few years ago, you probably will need to make an extra effort.
See how today goes. I do not consider the work today at all difficult. It is precalc at its easiest.
Here are possible choices if you do very poorly today.
- Stay in the course and study on your own and see how you do and make a decision later in the semester.
- Stay in the course and as soon as possible spend time in my office doing homework and studying.
- Stay in the course and as soon as possible get tutoring in the tutoring center or with a professional.
- Stay in the course and AT WORST fail it and retake it next semester. The second grade replaces the first in your overall cumulative average.
- Switch to a different teacher for the same course, as soon as possible. A professor my decline to admit you to class if you have missed
the first class meeting and you are not on the first day roster.
- Switch to a slower course WITHIN THE NEXT 3 WEEKS. The course is MAT129A and completes precalc in 2 semesters.
- Switch to a different course which MAY prepare you for this one BUT which will NOT get you any credit toward your current major.
Good luck and have a good semester.