College Algebra

Math 1314: College Algebra

If you are looking for my online College Algebra course, go here.

The page below applies only to my lecture based in-class course at the Northridge campus.

If you are considering moving on to Calculus or Business Calculus, you can see the ACC course sequence that you need to take to get from College Algebra to that class here.

In order to see if you are really ready for this course, you need to read and work the Placement Handout for College Algebra and work through the Prerequisite Study Sheet for College Algebra on your own and check your answers (they are provided). If you can't answer 35 or more correctly on the Prerequisite Study Sheet, you need to contact me right away so we can discuss your preparation for this course and your placement, preferably before you buy the textbook.

Fall 2015

Synonym: 39455, Section: 087, Northridge 2244
Monday / Wednesday 3:30 pm - 4:50 pm

Course Content:

Course Description: MATH 1314 COLLEGE ALGEBRA (3-3-0). A course designed for students majoring in business, mathematics, science, engineering, or certain engineering-related technical fields. Content includes the rational, real, and complex number systems; the study of functions including polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions and related equations; inequalities; and systems of linear equations and determinants. Prerequisites: MATD 0390 or satisfactory score on the ACC Assessment Test. (MTH 1743)

Instructional Methodology: This course is taught in the classroom primarily as a lecture/discussion.

Course Rationale: This course is designed to teach students the functional approach to mathematical relationships that they will need for a business calculus sequence. Other courses, such as MATH 1332, or MATH 1342 are more appropriate to meet a general mathematics requirement.  Check with your degree plan as to what math course your college requires


Please make sure you have the necessary prerequisites for this course: Intermediate Algebra (MATD 0390) or current knowledge of high school algebra as measured by the Assessment Test.  Students who have a great deal of difficulty with the Pretest and/or review and have not had Intermediate Algebra or its equivalent recently should consider withdrawing and taking Intermediate Algebra.


Attendance is required in this course.  It is extremely important for you to attend class regularly.  I MAY drop you from the course for excessive absences, although I make no commitment to do so.

Course Materials:

Text: College Algebra with Modeling and Visualization, Books a la Carte Edition plus NEW MyMathLab with Pearson eText -- Access Card Package, 5/E, Rockswold  ISBN-13: 9780321869418

MyMathLab access: For this section of College Algebra, MyMathLab is required. All new textbooks purchased at an ACC bookstore include MyMathLab access. It may not be included with the purchase of a used book, and may not be included with a new book purchased at a different bookstore. Refer to the handout Information about MyMathLab.

Optional Supplements: Students Solution Manual (step-by-step solutions to odd-numbered exercises and chapter review exercises) ISBN-10: 0321826183. Note: This is contained in  MyMathLab!


Calculator: Students need either a scientific or business calculator. (Has log or ln key.) If a student cannot purchase one, calculators are available from the LRS.  Graphing calculators are not required, but you will use graphing technology in most sections of the book.  Graphing calculators are also available in the LRS.  Most ACC faculty are familiar with the TI family of graphing calculators. Hence, TI calculators are highly recommended for student use.  Other calculator brands can also be used.  Your instructor will determine the extent of calculator use in your class section.


There will be 4 exams plus a final exam (part of which will be comprehensive). Grades will be weighted as follows:


Tests 1, 2, 3, 4




Final Exam






No make-ups or retests will be given, but, when I average grades at the end of the semester, I will use your Final Exam grade to replace the lowest grade on the previous tests if your Final Exam score is higher AND your homework grade is at least 70% AND you have submitted at least 90% of your homework assignments.

If you take any test late for any reason, there will be a penalty of 10 points off your test grade. However, no late tests will be allowed after I hand the graded tests back in class.  If you miss a test, you must try to take it during this lateperiod.  If you do not take the test during that period, you will receive a 0 for that grade.  In that case, you will need to take the make-up exam to replace that 0. 

Grades will be assigned as follows:

A :

90% or better and a grade of at least 80% on the final

D :

60% - 69%

B :

80% - 89% and a grade of at least 70% on the final

F :

below 60%

C :

70% - 79% and a grade of at least 60% on the final


W :

Withdrawn by student or instructor prior to last withdrawal date on school calendar

I :

Incomplete grades (I) will be given only in very rare circumstances. Generally, to receive a grade of "I", a student must have taken all tests, be passing, and after the last date to withdraw, have a personal tragedy occur which prevents course completion. An incomplete grade cannot be carried beyond the established date in the following semester. The completion date is determined by the instructor but may not be later than the final deadline for withdrawal in the subsequent semester.


It is the student's responsibility to initiate all withdrawals in this course.  The instructor may withdraw students for excessive absences (4) but makes no commitment to do this for the student. After the last day to withdraw, neither the student nor the instructor may initiate a withdrawal. It is the responsibility of each student to ensure that his or her name is removed from the roll should he or she decide to withdraw from the class.  The instructor does, however, reserve the right to drop a student should he or she feel it is necessary. The student is also strongly encouraged to retain a copy of the withdrawal form for their records.

Students who enroll for the third or subsequent time in a course taken since Fall, 2002, may be charged a higher tuition rate, for that course. State law permits students to withdraw from no more than six courses during their entire undergraduate career at Texas public colleges or universities.  With certain exceptions, all course withdrawals automatically count towards this limit.  Details regarding this policy can be found in the ACC college catalog.

The withdrawal deadline for Fall 2015 is November 19, 2015.


You should bring your homework to class every day.  It will be collected regularly.  There may also be in-class assignments or quizzes collected for a grade (as part of your homework grade). There will be a penalty on late homework. Homework that is more than a week late might not receive any credit.  If you do not follow the instructions that will be announced in class about how to organize and submit your homework, you may not receive full (or any) credit for it.

Classroom behavior Classroom behavior should support and enhance learning. Behavior that disrupts the learning process will be dealt with appropriately, which may include having the student leave class for the rest of that day. In serious cases, disruptive behavior may lead to a student being withdrawn from the class. ACC's policy on student discipline can be found in the Student Handbook on the web at:

Class participation:

All students are expected to actively participate in this class. This can include asking relevant questions in class, participating in class discussions and other in-class activities, helping other students, coming to office hours with questions, and doing other things that contribute to the class.

Keeping up:

Please, try to keep up with the homework and with the lecture in class. There just isn't much time to catch up. This means you have to be sure to allow yourself plenty of time to do the homework and to study.

Ask questions:

Please, please, please, if you don't understand something, or you aren't clear about something, or if you think I (or the book) have made a mistake (it has been known to happen), or if you have any other questions, please ask. Don't let confusion accumulate. If you don't want to ask in class, come to our office hours (or call) and ask. It is much easier to ask a question now than to miss it on the test.  I expect all students to participate in class discussions and other activities. Trust me, you will get much more out of the class if you become actively involved in it.

Always show your work:

It is much more important that you understand the processes involved in solving problems than that you just give me the right answer. If I see from your work that you understand what you are doing, I will usually give partial credit for a problem, even if you made a mistake somewhere along the line. If you don't show your work (unless I believe you could reasonably do it in your head), I may not give you full credit, even if the answer is right. If you can really do something in your head, that's great, but when in doubt, write it down.  It is also very important that you write what you mean. I will correct your notation the first few times, but I will start counting it wrong if you continue to write things incorrectly. In addition, please write clearly and legibly. If I can't read it, I won't grade it.

Time required and outside help:

To do homework and study requires two or three times as much time outside of class as the time you spend in class in order to succeed in this course. If you need more out-of-class help than you can obtain in your instructor's office hours, free tutoring is available in any of ACC's Learning Labs.

ACC main campuses have Learning Labs which offer free first-come, first-serve tutoring in mathematics courses. The locations, contact information and hours of availability of the Learning Labs are posted at:


MATH 1314 College Algebra -- Objectives


•    Use and interpret functional notation.

•    Find the domain of polynomial, rational, radical, exponential, and logarithmic functions.

•    Find a symbolic representation of the sum, difference, product, quotient, and composition of two functions.

•    Evaluate the sum, difference, product, quotient, and composition of two functions at a given value of the respective domain for functions represented symbolically, graphically, and numerically.

•    Find the inverse of a function represented symbolically, graphically, or numerically.

•    Interpret the graphs of functions.

Graphing functions:

•    Sketch the graphs of the following functions: Lines, x2, x3, x1/2, 1/x, 1/x2, |x|, factored polynomials of degree 3 or more, ax, logax, and rigid transformations of these functions.

•    Describe the end behavior of polynomial functions.

•    Approximate the zeros of a function from its graph.

•    Solve an inequality involving a function from its graph.

•    Graph a piece-wise defined function.

Symbolic Adeptness:

•    Solve polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic equations symbolically.

•    Solve equations involving radicals symbolically.

•    Solve equations with rational exponents symbolically.

•    Solve equations with negative exponents symbolically.

•    Solve polynomial and rational inequalities symbolically.

•    Use the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra and the Conjugate Zeros Theorem to find zeros of polynomials of degree three or greater.

•    Find the vertex of a parabola and the center and radius of a circle by completing the square.

•    Find the vertex of a parabola written in standard form by using the formula  h = -b/2a.

•    Convert an exponential equation to logarithmic form, and a logarithmic equation to exponential form.

•    Evaluate exponential and logarithmic functions using the change of base formula and a calculator.

•    Use the properties of logarithms to expand a logarithmic expression, and to write an expanded logarithmic expression as a single logarithm.

•    Solve a system of linear equations using Gaussian elimination.

•    Solve a system of linear equations using matrix inversion or Cramers Rule.


•    Recognize and use applications of linear functions.

•    Recognize and use applications of quadratic functions, including falling object problems and extremea problems.

•    Recognize and use applications of exponential and logarithmic functions, including exponential growth and decay, doubling time, and half-life problems.

•    Recognize and use applications of systems of linear equations.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to do at least 70% of the following:

1.   Demonstrate understanding and knowledge of properties of functions, which include domain and range, operations, compositions, and inverses.

2.   Recognize and apply polynomial, rational, exponential, and logarithmic functions and solve related equations.

3.   Apply graphical, symbolic and numeric techniques.

4.   Evaluate all roots of higher degree polynomial and rational functions.

5.   Recognize, solve and apply systems of linear equations using matrices.

The General Education Competency of:

1.    Critical Thinking: gathering, analyzing, synthesizing, evaluating and applying information is covered in every SLO.

2.    Quantitative and Empirical Reasoning: applying mathematical, logical, and scientific principles and methods is covered in every SLO.

3.    Technology Skills: using appropriate technology to retrieve, manage, analyze, and present information is covered in SLOs # 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

4.    Written, Oral and Visual Communication: communicating effectively adapting to purpose, structure, audience and medium is covered in every SLO.

ACC College Policies

Statement on Scholastic Dishonesty - A student attending ACC assumes responsibility for conduct compatible with the mission of the college as an educational institution.  Students have the responsibility to submit coursework that is the result of their own thought, research, or self-expression.  Students must follow all instructions given by faculty or designated college representatives when taking examinations, placement assessments, tests, quizzes, and evaluations.  Actions constituting scholastic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, fabrication, collusion, and falsifying documents.    Penalties for scholastic dishonesty will depend upon the nature of the violation and may range from lowering a grade on one assignment to an Fin the course and/or expulsion from the college.  See the Student Standards of Conduct and Disciplinary Process and other policies at

Student Rights and Responsibilities - Students at the college have the rights accorded by the U.S. Constitution to freedom of speech, peaceful assembly, petition, and association. These rights carry with them the responsibility to accord the same rights to others in the college community and not to interfere with or disrupt the educational process. Opportunity for students to examine and question pertinent data and assumptions of a given discipline, guided by the evidence of scholarly research, is appropriate in a learning environment. This concept is accompanied by an equally demanding concept of responsibility on the part of the student. As willing partners in learning, students must comply with college rules and procedures.

Statement on Students with Disabilities - Each ACC campus offers support services for students with documented disabilities. Students with disabilities who need classroom, academic or other accommodations must request them through Student Accessibility Services (SAS, formerly OSD).  Students are encouraged to request accommodations when they register for courses or at least three weeks before the start of the semester, otherwise the provision of accommodations may be delayed.

Students who have received approval for accommodations from SAS for this course must provide the instructor with the Notice of Approved Accommodationsfrom SAS before accommodations will be provided.  Arrangements for academic accommodations can only be made after the instructor receives the Notice of Approved Accommodationsfrom the student.

Students with approved accommodations are encouraged to submit the Notice of Approved Accommodationsto the instructor at the beginning of the semester because a reasonable amount of time may be needed to prepare and arrange for the accommodations.  Additional information about Student Accessibility Services is available at  HYPERLINK ""

Safety Statement - Austin Community College is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for study and work. You are expected to learn and comply with ACC environmental, health and safety procedures and agree to follow ACC safety policies. Additional information on these can be found at Because some health and safety circumstances are beyond our control, we ask that you become familiar with the Emergency Procedures poster and Campus Safety Plan map in each classroom. Additional information about emergency procedures and how to sign up for ACC Emergency Alerts to be notified in the event of a serious emergency can be found at

Please note, you are expected to conduct yourself professionally with respect and courtesy to all. Anyone who thoughtlessly or intentionally jeopardizes the health or safety of another individual will be dismissed from the days activity, may be withdrawn from the class, and/or barred from attending future activities.

You are expected to conduct yourself professionally with respect and courtesy to all. Anyone who thoughtlessly or intentionally jeopardizes the health or safety of another individual will be immediately dismissed from the days activity, may be withdrawn from the class, and/or barred from attending future activities.

Use of ACC email - All College e-mail communication to students will be sent solely to the students ACCmail account, with the expectation that such communications will be read in a timely fashion. ACC will send important information and will notify you of any college related emergencies using this account.  Students should only expect to receive email communication from their instructor using this account.  Likewise, students should use their ACCmail account when communicating with instructors and staff.  Instructions for activating an ACCmail account can be found at

Testing Center Policy - Under certain circumstances, an instructor may have students take an examination in a testing center.  Students using the Academic Testing Center must govern themselves according to the Student Guide for Use of ACC Testing Centers and should read the entire guide before going to take the exam.  To request an exam, one must have:

    ACC Photo ID

    Course Abbreviation (e.g., ENGL)

    Course Number (e.g.,1301)

    Course Synonym (e.g., 10123)

    Course Section (e.g., 005)

    Instructor's Name

Do NOT bring cell phones to the Testing Center.  Having your cell phone in the testing room, regardless of whether it is on or off, will revoke your testing privileges for the remainder of the semester.  ACC Testing Center policies can be found at

Student And Instructional Services - ACC strives to provide exemplary support to its students and offers a broad variety of opportunities and services.  Information on these services and support systems is available at Links to many student services and other information can be found at: For help setting up your ACCeID, ACC Gmail, or ACC Blackboard, see a Learning Lab Technician at any ACC Learning Lab.

Course Outline and Approximate Calendar:
Please note:  schedule changes may occur during the semester.
Any changes will be announced in class.




Online Homework

(* - optional problems)
Written Homework



1.2 - Visualizing and Graphing Data

Chapter 1 section 2

21, 43, 49, 55, 60, 66, 73, 77, 85, 87



1.3 - Functions and Their Representations

Chapter 1 section 3

19, 23, 25, 27, 32, 43, 45, 47, 50, 61, 70, 83, 87, 89


Slope and graphing review
1.4 - Types of Functions and Their Rates of Change

Chapter 1 section 4

17, 19, 21, 27, 29, 37, 40, 53, 69, 71, 73, 81, 85*, 86*, 97, 107, 111



5.1 - Combining Functions

Chapter 5 section 1

9, 13, 23, 39, 41, 61, 65, 72, 73, 75, 77, 97


5.2 - Inverse Functions and Their Representations

Chapter 5 section 2

7, 14, 29, 39, 41, 45, 56, 71, 77, 81, 85, 87, 93, 95, 101,121



Equations of lines review
2.1 - Equations of Lines

Chapter 2 section 1

3, 11, 15, 19, 25, 34, 37, 38, 40, 42, 50, 53, 63, 67, 69, 73, 77, 79


Linear equation review
2.2 - Linear Equations

Chapter 2 section 2

11, 15, 47, 65, 81, 87, 97, 101, 103



Holiday - no class


2.3 - Linear Inequalitites

Chapter 2 section 3

21, 35, 47, 57, 61, 75*, 79, 86, 87, 93, 100*



2.4 - More Modeling with Functions

Chapter 2 section 4

9, 11, 13, 27, 43, 47, 59



2.5 - Absolute Value Equations and Inequalities

Chapter 2 section 5

7, 9, 13, 15, 16, 17, 28, 53, 65, 75, 79

Review for Test 1:
Ch 1 review: 11, 13, 14, 17, 19, 22-24, 25-31 odd, 37-40, 43-46, 50, 51, 53, 60-62, 67, 68-72
Ch 2 review: 1-21 odd, 31, 39-49 odd
Ch 5 review: 1-8, 9-19 odd, 20-25, 29

Test 1: September 17 - 21 (Covers through section 2.5)



Factoring review
3.1 - Quadratic Functions and Models

Chapter 3 section 1

19, 25, 37, 39, 47, 51, 55, 59, 61, 63, 79, 83, 85, 86, 88, 95


Quadratic equation review
3.2 - Quadratic Equations and Problem Solving

Chapter 3 section 2

9, 15, 19, 25, 39, 45*, 49, 55, 61, 63, 68, 71, 89, 104, 114



3.3 - Complex Numbers

Chapter 3 section 3

3, 5, 7, 27, 33, 37, 43, 45, 47, 57, 61, 62, 63, 66, 75, 84, 89, 93



3.4 - Quadratic Inequalities

Chapter 3 section 4

3, 7, 9, 11, 29, 31, 43, 47, 49, 51, 55, 61, 65, 67



3.5 - Transformations of Graphs

Chapter 3 section 5

1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 31, 33, 47, 51, 65, 71, 73, 75, 80, 93, 95



4.1 - More Nonlinear Functions and Their Graphs

Chapter 4 section 1

5, 7, 9, 15, 25, 31, 35, 47, 69, 81, 85, 95*



4.2 - Polynomial Functions and Models

Chapter 4 section 2

8, 15, 16, 25, 31, 41, 45, 55, 67, 77, 85



4.3 - Division of Polynomials

Chapter 4 section 3

15, 21, 29, 32, 41, 46, 51



4.4 - Real Zeros of Polynomial Functions

Chapter 4 section 4

21, (27*, 29*, 30* if using graphing calculator option) , 35, 43, 47, 55, 71, 79, 87, 95, 104, 110

Review for Test 2:
Ch 3 review: 1-7, 9, 11-15, 21, 27, 29, 31, 32, 35, 36, 37-43 odd, 44, 45, 47, 48, 50, 51, 53, 54
Ch 4 review: 1, 3, 5-8, 11-17, 19, 21, 23-30, 83, 85
plus anythng from earlier tests.

Test 2: October 15 - 19 (Covers through 4.4)



4.5 - The Fundamental Theorem of Algebra

Chapter 4 section 5

5, 11, 17, 24, 29, 39, 41



Rational Expressions Review
4.6 - Rational Functions and Models

Chapter 4 section 6

7, 10, 24, 33-36, 45, 47, 51, 53, 81, 93, 96



4.7 - More Equations and Inequalities

Chapter 4 section 7

9, 13, 23, 25, 28, 29, 40, 43, 47, 57, 65, 75, 84, 103, 105, 108__



Exponent Review
4.8 - Radical Equations and Power Functions

Chapter 4 section 8

13, 17, 18, 23, 31, 33, 35, 45, 46, 53, 57, 63, 65, 77, 83, 85, 87, 103,107



5.3 - Exponential Functions and Models

Chapter 5 section 3

3, 7, 9, 11, 16, 19, 21, 25, 27, 29, 37, 39, 47, 53, 59, 61, 65, 69, 71, 72, 87, 92



5.4 - Logarithmic Functions and Models

Chapter 5 section 4

5,19, 23, 31, 33, 37, 45, 49, 57, 73, 101, 105, 107, 119, 121, 123

Review for Test 3:
Ch 4 review: 35-41, 43-47, 49, 51, 52, 53-65 odd, 69, 71-77 odd, 80, 82
Ch 5 review: 30-35, 37-41, 43-51, 53-65 odd
plus anythng from earlier tests.

Test 3: November 5 - 9 (Covers through 5.4)



5.5 - Properties of Logarithms

Chapter 5 section 5

7, 11 23, 26, 31, 32, 45, 47, 52, 53, 65, 68, 78, 90



5.6 - Exponential and Logarithmic Equations

Chapter 5 section 6

14, 21, 27, 33, 45, 49, 53, 61, 69, 72, 73*, 75*, 79, 83, 86, 93, 101



Systems of linear equations review
6.1 - Functions and Systems of Equations in Two Variables.

Chapter 6 section 1

11, 21, 31, 35, 37, 43, 47, 51, 53, 58, 76, 81, 113, 116, 122, 131



6.3 - Systems of Linear Equations in Three Variables

Chapter 6 section 3

3, 9, 23, 33



6.4 - Solutions to Linear Systems Using Matrices

Chapter 6 section 4 - Skip: Solving Systems of Linear Equations with Technology (Optional)



6.4 - Solutions to Linear Systems Using Matrices


5, 10, 19, 23, 25, 39, 51, 57, 60,73, 75, 83



6.5 - Properties and Applications of Matrices

Chapter 6 section 5

10, 13, 16, 21, 25, 31, 34, 37, 39, 41, 44, 55, 65



6.7 - Determinants

Chapter 6 section 7

2, 4, 23, 27, 33

Review for Test 4:
Ch 5 review: 65-76, 79, 80, 82, 84, 85
Ch 6 review: 7, 11, 12, 17-33 odd, 49-51
plus anythng from earlier tests.

Test 4: November 30 - December 6 (Covers through 6.5)



Review for the Final Exam



Final Exam (covers everything)

Austin Community College Department of Mathematics**
Alternatives to College Algebra


Hints to Help the Beginning Student Distinguish between
First-Level College-Credit Mathematics Courses

College Mathematics (ACC's MATH 1332) (UTs M302) **

Goal:    To broaden the students' repertoire of mathematical problem-solving techniques past algebraic techniques.

            This course covers a variety of mathematical topics such as set theory, logic, and probability.  Students learn basic college-level techniques in a variety of mathematical areas and learn what types of problems can be solved with each technique.  The algebra prerequisite for the course reflects the need for the students to have an understanding of the conceptual aspects of mathematics rather than a need for them to remember the details of how to solve all the types of algebra problems encountered in high school algebra.  Students with weaker algebraic manipulative skills should still be able to complete this course successfully.

Elementary Statistics (ACC's MATH 1342) (UT's M316 or UT's STA309) **

Goal:  To teach the student to do basic statistical analyses and to enable the student to be an "intelligent user" of standard statistical arguments.

            The focus of this course is on using conceptual mathematical skills to solve a particular type of applications problems.  Algebraic manipulation is not a major part of this course; however, students will be required to use formulas extensively.  (A "pretest" indicating the level of skill expected is available from the mathematics department.)  Enough explanation will be given that students who once learned algebra, but have forgotten many of the details, will be able to handle the algebraic aspects of the course easily.

Math for Business & Economics (ACC's MATH 1324) (UT's M303D,Texas States M 1319) **

Goal:  To teach the student some applications of algebra to business and economics problems and to provide a minimal level of algebraic foundation for the first semester of business calculus.

            The focus of this course is on the applications problems, with algebra skills from the first two years of high school algebra used as necessary. Students who are not able to demonstrate all the skills from high school Algebra II just before beginning the course will probably find this course very difficult.

College Algebra (ACC's MATH 1314) (UT's  M301, Texas State's  M 1315) **

Goal:  To provide the student with the algebraic foundation for calculus.

            The student is expected to be currently confident and skilled in all topics from the first two years of high school algebra or from MATD 0390, Intermediate Algebra, and the new material will build on that foundation with little or no review.  Students who are not able to demonstrate all the skills from high school Algebra II just before the beginning of the course will probably find this course very difficult.

UT = University of Texas at Austin        

*Additional information about ACC's mathematics curriculum and faculty is available on the Internet at

** It is the student's responsibility to determine if these courses are applicable to a specific degree plan at ACC or at another institution.

This webpage was created by Marcus McGuff.
It was last updated on August 22, 2015 .