Welcome to Stanford's Precalculus Resource Portal!
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. This website offers two main ways to brush up on precalculus:
- The ALEKS software, developed by the publisher McGraw-Hill, is an in-depth, time-intensive survey of most precalculus topics you will encounter at Stanford. It is recommended for students who feel that they need extensive extra practice across a wide range of precalculus topics, or who need to learn precalculus topics from scratch. There is a fee to access this resource, which is paid to the publisher.
- The Stanford Mini-Courses are much shorter and typically would only serve as a review of certain important ideas in a subject. They are recommended for students to need to remind themselves of only a few concepts within a given topic, and are free to access. Currently only a Stanford Mini-Course on Trigonometry is available, but please feel free to contact us to suggest topics that are of interest to you.
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 drop-in tutoring hours during the first few weeks of the Fall quarter. If there is interest, we will also offer online tutoring from the end of August until the middle of the Fall quarter. More information on how to access these resources can be found on our Tutoring page.