Calculus Preparation

MA031 Pre-Calculus

In Summer Session II. This is a specially scheduled summer course with an outstanding instructor, meeting Monday, July 1, 2019 through Friday, July 26, 2019 from 8:00am - 9:30am. Lab training will take place on Saturday, July 13 & 20, 2019 from 10:30am - 12:30pm. There is a 90-minute class Monday - Friday and every other Saturday.  The credit does not count toward graduation in most majors. See administrative details and a course description (username and password required). Housing on-campus is NOT generally available, so this option is only suitable for those students within commuting distance.

MA030 - Introductory Math Summer Program. A preparatory program for non-STEM majors, meeting Monday, July 1, 2019 - Friday, July, 26, 2019 from 10:00am - 11:30am.

Pre-Calculus elsewhere

Many community colleges and other institutions offer Pre-Calculus in summer sessions. If you want to take such a course, you should move quickly. most summer sessions start late June or early July.


General information

This special, non-credit program is designed to get students up and ready for MA131 Calculus I. You should arrive on campus Friday, August 23, 2019 (9 a.m. – 1 p.m.)

The program runs from Saturday, August 24 through Friday, August 30, 2019 (the first day for freshman registration and orientation). Register by July 21 to July 26.

The program covers essential topics in algebra, trigonometry and geometry used in calculus. You attend classes each day, Saturday to Friday (no classes Sunday) for four hours (with breaks).

You move into your fall residence early and get to know Clarkson and Potsdam.

Course Topics

  • Expanding binomials
  • Simplifying compound fractions
  • Addition & subtraction of fractions
  • Factoring and roots
  • Quadratic formula
  • Completing a square
  • Solving equations: linear, quadratic, systems, functional
  • Exponents and radicals
  • Trig function definitions as ratios
  • Trig function values at common angles (multiples of TT/6 & TT/4)
  • Graphs of sine, cosine, tangent functions
  • Simple identities (sin2(A) + cos2(A)=1)
  • Unit circle
  • Inverse trig functions — definitions, principal values
  • Pythagorean theorem
  • Similar triangles
  • Lines: equations, intercepts, slope, graph, parallel, perpendicular
  • Circumference: rectangle, circle
  • Area formulas: circle, rectangle, triangle
  • Volume: box, cylinder, cone, sphere

CU Math & Book Requirements

CU Math

This is a web-based program open to any student. To get a good result from this program, you need to put in about five hours a week for seven weeks.

CU Math Home page

The program begins on June 30 and ends August 18, 2019.


There are many books for pre-calculus courses. Here are some inexpensive ones that have lots of exercises.

  • Cliffs Quick Reviews (Algebra II, Trigonometry)
  • Schaum's Outline Series (Precalculus, College Algebra, Trigonometry)
  • Bob Miller's Calc for the Clueless: Precalc with Trigonometry
  • Barron's Trigonometry the Easy Way, Barron's Algebra the Easy Way

Private Tutoring

You may be able to find a private tutor. It doesn't have to be a math teacher, just someone who knows whether you're doing a problem right or wrong and can explain the right way. This can be a great way to get ready. Here are some pointers.

Get a book and do exercises, about one hour daily, five days a week. The important thing is to get lots of practice. Don't use a calculator for anything. Calculators are not allowed on Calculus tests at Clarkson.