Algebra Prequisites

Students should have a good command of college algebra. Specifically, you should have mastered variables, functions, grouped expressions, algebraic fractions, polynomials, exponents, logarithms, and uses of the mathematical constant e. If you need to review algebra, there are many good study books and web sites. One good book is Forgotten Algebra, Second Edition by Barbara Bleau (Barrons Educational Series, Hauppauge, New York, 1994). You may skip the following Units in this book:

Topic Unit
Division of polynomials 17
Factoring polynomials 18
Solving second degree equations-quadratic formula 22
Solving third-degree and higher equations 23
Solving systems of equations 26-27
Solving inequalities-second-degree 29
Right triangles 31

The topics to study, and corresponding unit numbers in Bleau's book (second edition, may need to be updated for the third edition), are as follows.

Topic Unit
Signed Numbers 1
Grouping Symbols and Simplifying Expressions 2
Solving First-Degree Equations 3
Removing Multiple Grouping Symbols; Solving 1st-Degree Eq. 4
Fraction Equations 5
Literal Equations 6
Applied Problems 7
Positive Integral Exponents 8
Negative Exponents 9
Division of Powers 10
Addition and Subtraction of Fractions 11
Multiplication and Division of Fractions 12
Fractional Exponents 13
Simplifying Expressions with Fractional Exponents 14
Additional Practice with Exponents 15
Multiplication of Monomials and Polynomials 16
Factoring Special Binomials 19-20
Factoring to Solve 2nd Degree Equations 21
Graphing Linear Equations in Two Variables 24
Graphing Quadratic Equations in Two Variables 25
Solving First-Degree Inequalities 28
Logarithms 30

Note that in statistics one most often uses logarithms to the base e =2.71828..., and log x with no base indicated often means log to the base e.

A more comprehensive but much more expensive book we also recommend is Intermediate Algebra by Alan Tussy and R. David Gustafson, Pacific Grove CA, Brooks/Cole, 1999.

Web Sites

-- FrankHarrell - 01 Feb 2004, 24 Jul 2011
Topic revision: r3 - 25 Jul 2011, FrankHarrell

This site is powered by FoswikiCopyright © 2013-2017 by the contributing authors. All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
Ideas, requests, problems regarding Vanderbilt Biostatistics Wiki? Send feedback