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1: Prerequisites

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    In this chapter, we will review sets of numbers and properties of operations used to manipulate numbers. This understanding will serve as prerequisite knowledge throughout our study of algebra and trigonometry.

    • 1.1: Prelude to Prerequisites
    • 1.2: Real Numbers - Algebra Essentials
      It is often said that mathematics is the language of science. If this is true, then the language of mathematics is numbers. The earliest use of numbers occurred 100 centuries ago in the Middle East to count, or enumerate items. Because of the evolution of number systems, we can now perform complex calculations using these and other categories of real numbers. In this section, we will explore sets of numbers, calculations with different kinds of numbers, and the use of numbers in expressions.
    • 1.3: Exponents and Scientific Notation
    • 1.4: Radicals and Rational Expressions
    • 1.5: Polynomials
    • 1.6: Factoring Polynomials
      The greatest common factor, or GCF, can be factored out of a polynomial. Checking for a GCF should be the first step in any factoring problem. Trinomials with leading coefficient 1 can be factored by finding numbers that have a product of the third term and a sum of the second term. Trinomials can be factored using a process called factoring by grouping. Perfect square trinomials and the difference of squares are special products and can be factored using equations.
    • 1.7: Rational Expressions
    • 1.8: Complex Numbers
      The square root of any negative number can be written as a multiple of i. To plot a complex number, we use two number lines, crossed to form the complex plane. The horizontal axis is the real axis, and the vertical axis is the imaginary axis. Complex numbers can be added and subtracted by combining the real parts and combining the imaginary parts. Complex numbers can be multiplied and divided.

    Thumbnail: A shortcut called FOIL is sometimes used to find the product of two binomials. It is called FOIL because we multiply the first terms, the outer terms, the inner terms, and then the last terms of each binomial.

    Contributors and Attributions

    • Lynn Marecek (Santa Ana College) and MaryAnne Anthony-Smith (formerly of Santa Ana College). This content produced by OpenStax and is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license.

    This page titled 1: Prerequisites is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by OpenStax via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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