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Math Refresher


The Math Refresher Sessions are intended to provide a brief, yet comprehensive, review
of basic mathematical principals and algebraic skills in preparation for entry into
Biostatistics 503/553 this Fall semester. The sessions are designed for all entering UM
SPH students who scored below the 50th percentile on the GRE/GMAT. In addition,
entering students who have not practiced basic algebra for a number of years may find
these review sessions beneficial. Covered topics range from working with fractions and
decimals to solving systems of two linear equations.

Tentative Outline

Date Topics Materials
Thursday, August 24 Estimating, Comparing, Converting,
and Computing Whole Numbers,
Fractions, Decimals, and Percents
Lecture 1 handout
Practice Quiz
Friday, August 25 Inequalities and Graphing Linear
Lecture 2 handout
Monday, August 28 Exponents, Scientific Notation, Square
Roots, Radicals, and Working with
Algebraic Expressions
Lecture 3 handout
Tuesday, August 29 Solving Equations, Systems of
Lecture 4 handout
Wednesday, August 30 Practice Exam Practice Exam


There are four (4) lecture packets, a practice quiz, and a practice exam available on
CTools, which is accessible via the Academic Preview website

The lecture handouts will provide the content basis and problems to be worked for each session. These handouts
should be printed and brought to each meeting.

While there is no required textbook for the Refresher Sessions, students who prefer
additional reading and practice problems may find published algebra test preparation
guides helpful. Such study guides are usually available from on-line book retailers and
local bookstores. I suggest:

Downing, Douglas. Algebra: The Easy Way. 3rd (1996) or 4th (2003) edition.
Hauppauge, NY: Barron’s Educational Series, Inc.

Bobrow, Jerry. CliffsQuickReview™ Basic Math and Pre-Algebra. 2001. New York:
Wiley Publishing, Inc.

Evaluation and the Algebra Examination:

The goal of the Math Refresher Sessions is to prepare students who are required to pass
the Algebra Examination (administered at 4p.m on Thursday August, 31, 2006 and at
8am, 10am, and 12pm on Friday, September 1, 2006). If you are uncertain as to whether
you are required to take the Algebra Exam, please contact Kim Creasap
or Peter Menard. Students who do not pass the Algebra Exam are required to enroll
in a 1-credit algebra course that is administered at UM SPH and runs concurrently
with the first eight weeks of Biostatistics 503 (Biostats 503 is a full-semester course).

Although no homework or grades will be formally assigned, there are a number of
Session Review Problems at the end of each lecture packet. Mastery of these Review
Problems will ensure success on the Algebra Exam.

Session Format and Covered Topics:

The Math Refresher Sessions consist of five, 2-hour meetings. As I would like these
sessions to be as interactive as possible, I will start each with a discussion of questions on
the Review Problems from the prior day. I will then present new material and work
examples. Time permitting, each session will conclude with the group working
illustrative Review Problems on material from the current day. A detailed outline is
presented below:

Detailed Outline

Thursday, August 25  
3:00-3:30 Discussion of Syllabus and Entrance Quiz
3:30-4:00 Numbers; absolute value; adding, subtracting multiplying and
dividing positive and negative numbers; fraction; and rationals
4:00-4:05 Break
4:05-4:45 Reciprocals; compound fractions; decimal fractions; and percents
4:45-5:00 Work Session review Problems
Friday, August 26  
3:00-3:15 Review homework problems
3:15-4:00 Inequalities; graphing linear equations
4:00-4:05 Break
4:05-4:45 Graphing linear equations
4:45-5:00 Work Session review Problems
Monday, August 28  
3:00-3:15 Review homework problems
3:15-4:00 Exponents; scientific notation; square roots; and algebraic expressions
4:00-4:05 Break
4:05-4:45 Algebraic expressions; polynomials; factoring polynomials
4:45-5:00 Work Session review Problems
Tuesday, August 29  
3:00-3:15 Review homework problems
3:15-4:00 Mathematical sentences and the Principle of Equality to solve open
mathematical sentences
4:00-4:05 Break
4:05-4:45 Solving systems of two equations
4:45-5:00 Work Session review Problems
Wednesday, August 30  
3:00-3:15 Review homework problems
3:15-4:00 Catch-up and review of remaining questions
  Administration of sample Algebra Examination
4:00-4:05 Break
4:05-5:00 Review of sample Algebra Examination

Special Note on Calculators:

While I do not mind if you use a calculator to check your answers to Session Review
Problems, please bear in mind that calculators are not allowed during the actual Algebra

Learning Environment:

I would like to encourage everyone to participate, and please feel free to ask me any
questions that you have. Out of respect for your classmates, please turn off all cellular
devices when you arrive at each session.

If you have any special needs that will facilitate your learning, please let me know, and
we can discuss appropriate accommodations.