Welcome to Stanford's precalculus learning tool!
Mathematical skills and a good facility with quantitative reasoning and critical thinking are the cornerstones of a college education and crucial for almost every Stanford major, no matter whether you plan to major in the natural sciences, engineering, or even medicine or the humanities. Mastering basic mathematical skills early gives you the freedom and prerequisites to study whatever subject you wish. It has been our experience that students often find the first few weeks of math class familiar enough that they concentrate their energies elsewhere, only to find that their math classes pick up steam and move into less familiar territory quickly. If you are at all shaky with high school algebra, you might find yourself working hard just to stay even. We would like to do all we can to help you succeed in this transition.
Stanford has always provided many ways to keep up, including numerous free individual and group tutoring sessions, in the math department, in tutoring centers, and in the residences. Our new program is an online review of precalculus, using the McGraw-Hill ALEKS software program, which the publisher is offering in a special partnership with Stanford. Using this material to consolidate what you already know and to brush up on some things you could know better is an excellent way to make sure you are at the right level to get your freshman year off to a good start. For complete instructions on how to access and use the Stanford curriculum on the ALEKS software, please visit our page Using ALEKS and follow the step-by-step instructions.
For a list of topics covered by the Stanford ALEKS curriculum and how they relate to the calculus classes offered at Stanford, please visit our page List of Modules.
Using the Stanford ALEKS curriculum involves a fee (to the publisher, not to Stanford), comparable to or less than that of many textbooks. We have secured some limited scholarships from McGraw-Hill for those of you who find this fee a burden. (For more information on these scholarships, please contact Professor Rafe Mazzeo.)
You can begin working through this material immediately starting in mid-August, or else wait until the beginning of the quarter. We recognize that it can be difficult to stay motivated, so we will be offering online tutoring from mid-August until the middle of the Fall quarter, as well as drop-in tutoring hours during the first half of the Fall quarter. More information on how to access these resources can be found on our Tutoring page.