Preparing for the MPE

Nearly all undergraduate students at Andrews must fulfill a mathematics requirement consisting of two parts:
 

  • Achieve at least a score of P2 on the MPE and
  • Pass a course, normally MATH 145 Reasoning with Functions.

An MPE score of at least P2 indicates that you are ready to take MATH 145, 165, 166, OR STAT 285. An MPE score higher than P2 opens additional options to you. A score lower than P2 means you will need to take one or more semesters of Andrews University's review courses, MATH 091 and 092, or improve your math skills in some other way before taking MATH 145 or 165.

That you take the MPE as soon as you come to campus and complete your mathematics requirement during the first two years at Andrews is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT.  Without the MPE score, you do not know whether you will need more than one semester to complete your mathematics requirement. This is information you do NOT want to discover in your senior year!

How to ACE the MPE: Find out where you stand, then review your math.

To find out whether you are likely to do well on the MPE, take the self-test. (You will need a recent version of Acrobat Reader to access the self-test online.) The self-test is not a complete replica of the MPE, but a sampling of 25 questions similar to those on the MPE. The MPE has 50 questions and takes one hour, and you cannot use a calculator. To get the best idea of where you stand, don't use a calculator when working on the self-test and limit yourself to about 30 minutes. Note that, unlike the self-test, the actual MPE is a multiple-choice test.  You may score yourself using the answers given at the end of the test.

The self-test has 5 sections that correspond to the pages of the MPE:

  • Section 1 is arithmetic
  • Sections 2 and 3 are elementary algebra
  • Sections 4 and 5 are precalculus

To get a P2 score (so that you can take Math 145 and 165), you need to do very well on sections 1-3.

To get a P4 or P5 score (so that you can take General Physics or Calculus), you need to do well on all sections.

If you missed any questions in section 1 or if some terms or symbols are unfamiliar, you need to review arithmetic (see "Arithmetic Review" below).

If you missed more than a few questions in sections 2 and 3 taken together, or if some terms or symbols are unfamiliar, you need to review algebra through intermediate algebra (see "Algebra Review" below).

If sections 4 and 5 are unfamiliar to you, you will need to study precalculus in order to enroll in Calculus or General Physics (see "Precalculus Review" below).

ARITHMETIC REVIEW: if you missed any questions on section 1, we recommend that you raise your skill level and MPE score. You can do this in one of four ways:

  1. Independent study from a book
  2. Use ALEKS on the Web (see "the ALEKS alternative" below).
  3. Take MATH 091 at Andrews University (see "Taking MATH 091/092 as a course" below).
  4. Take an arithmetic course in a community college

If you are a self-disciplined person and are not taking other courses, brushing up on your skills with an independent study either from a textbook or ALEKS can be very satisfactory. But if you doubt your ability to work unsupervised, or if you are taking other college work while studying mathematics, you should probably take MATH 091 at Andrews University or an arithmetic course at a community college.

Any book on arithmetic which covers the topics listed below should be satisfactory for independent study and review of arithmetic. You can use Basic Mathematics through Applications, by Geoffrey Akst and Sadie Bragg, published by Addison Wesley (ISBN 0-201-31222-0), which you can order through Borders, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon. This text is a "work text" in which you can write. Many other books are available at bookstores that will do just as well, for example, Arithmetic the Easy Way by Williams and Prindle, published by Barron's (ISBN 0-812-09410-7).

Review and do problems from the following chapters of Basic Mathematics through Applications, without using a calculator (or the same topics from another book):


1.1-1.6 Adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing whole numbers; exponents, word problems
2.2-2.4 Adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing fractions
3.1-3.4 Adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing decimals
4.1-4.3 Introduction to basic algebra: solving simple equations
5.1-5.2 Ratios and proportions
6.1-6.3 Percentage
7.1-7.5 Adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing signed numbers

Hints for study:

a. Lay out a course of study that you can finish in the time you have, and make a schedule for covering a specific amount of material every day. Stick to your schedule.
b. Work on your course of study every day at the same time. Do not try to do too much at once since you will become fatigued and discouraged. Systematic, regular study is the key to success in mathematics.
c. Do several problems.

ALGEBRA REVIEW: if you missed more than two problems in sections 2 and 3 combined, we recommend that you raise your skill level and MPE score. You can do this in one of four different ways:

 a. Do independent study utilizing a book
 b. Use ALEKS on the Web (see "the ALEKS alternative" below).
 c. Take MATH 091/092 at Andrews University (see "Taking MATH 091/092 as a course" below).
 d. Take an intermediate algebra course at a community college

If you are a self-disciplined person, and are not taking other courses, independent study either from a textbook or with ALEKS can be very satisfactory. But if you doubt your ability to work unsupervised, or if you are taking other college work while studying mathematics, you should probably take MATH 091 at Andrews University or an intermediate algebra course at a community college.

Any book on elementary or intermediate algebra which covers the topics listed below should be good for independent study and review. We have used Elementary Algebra (3rd edition) by Mark Dugopolski, published by McGraw Hill (ISBN 0-07-229448-5). (This book is a good one to use with ALEKS, too.) It can be ordered through Borders, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Review and do problems from the following chapters of this book (or the same topics from another book):

1.3-1.8 Real numbers
2.1, 2.2, 2.8, 2.9 Solving linear equations and inequalities
3.1-3.4 Linear equations in two variables, and their graphs; slope; slope intercept form; point slope form
4.1-4.7 Polynomials including division, positive integer exponents, scientific notation
5.1-5.6 Factoring
6.1-6.4 Rational expressions
7.1-7.3 Solution of systems of linear equations by graphing, substitution, and addition methods
8.1-8.4 Solving equations with radicals
9.3 The quadratic formula

Other possible review books include:

  • Arithmetic and Algebra...Again by Immergut and Smith, McGraw Hill (ISBN 0-070-31720-8).
  • Algebra the Easy Way by Downing, Barron's (focus on ch. 1-11) (ISBN 0-764-11972-9).
  • Practical Algebra by Selby and Slavin, Wiley (ISBN 0-471-53012-3).

Hints for study:

a. Lay out a course of study that you can finish in the time you have, and make a schedule for covering a specific amount of material every day. Stick to your schedule.
b. Work on your course of study every day at the same time. Do not try to do too much at once since you will become fatigued and discouraged. Systematic, regular study is the key to success in mathematics.
c. Do many problems.
 

PRECALCULUS REVIEW. This part is for students preparing for Calculus or General Physics. (You needn't be concerned with it if you are trying to fulfil only the General Education math requirement.)

If you missed more than a few of the problems in sections 4 and 5 AND wish to take Calculus or General Physics, you should increase your MPE score in one of the following ways:

 a. Independent study from a textbook
 b. Take MATH 165/166 and 167 OR 168 at Andrews University
 c. Take a college algebra and trigonometry course or a precalculus course at another college.

If you are a self-disciplined person, and are not taking other courses, independent study can be very satisfactory. But if you doubt your ability to work unsupervised or if you are taking other college work while studying mathematics, you should probably take MATH 165, 166, 167, or 168 at Andrews University or an appropriate course at another college.

If you wish to study or review precalculus on your own, any book on college algebra and trigonometry or precalculus which contains the following topics should be OK. Such books are available from all major textbook companies and can be ordered through Borders, Barnes & Noble, or Amazon.

Read, review, and do problems on the following topics:

  • Functions, addition, multiplication, and composition of functions; inverse functions
  • Graphing, translation and stretching of graphs; domain and range
  • Linear functions, slope, point-slope and slope-intercept form
  • Polynomial functions; addition, multiplication, division, including long division;
  • The division algorithm, roots, linear factors, and graphing
  • Quadratic functions; completing the square, quadratic formula
  • Rational functions; vertical and horizontal asymptotes
  • Exponential functions to base e, ln; exponentials and logarithms to other bases
  • Computational properties of exponentials and logarithms
  • Solving exponential and logarithmic equations
  • Applications to population growth, continuous compounding of interest, and radioactive decay
  • Trigonometric functions: sine, cosine, tangent; secant, cosecant, and cotangent; radian and degree measure
  • Pythagorean identity; reduction formulas; half and double angle formulas; addition and difference formulas
  • Proofs of identities
  • Right triangle trigonometry; law of sines and law of cosines
  • Graphing, translation, and stretching of graphs of all functions
  • Vectors in the plane; rectangular and polar form of vectors
  • Decomposition of forces and velocities into their rectangular components; combining forces and velocities using vectors.
  • Complex numbers; polar form of complex numbers

Hints for study:

a. Lay out a course of study that you can finish in the time you have and make a schedule for covering a specific amount of material every day. Stick to your schedule.
b. Work on your course of study every day at the same time. Do not try to do too much at once, or you will become fatigued and discouraged. Systematic, regular study is the key to success in mathematics.
c. Do plenty of problems.

 

The Web sites listed at the beginning of the MPE self-test may help you review your math.

THE ALEKS ALTERNATIVE. ALEKS is a sophisticated Web-based system we use at Andrews for our Arithmetic and Algebra Review courses, MATH 091 and 092. Other versions of ALEKS teach college algebra, precalculus, and trigonometry, and you may access those and use them if you like.

ALEKS begins by assessing your state of knowledge, then starts teaching you at a level at which you are comfortable. It can start with addition of whole numbers, if that is what you need, and proceeds in carefully planned stages. At each stage the computer generates problems (which you do on paper), scores them instantly, and provides explanations. You must learn the appropriate skills before you can go to the next stage. ALEKS allows you to go at your own pace and drills you thoroughly. Many students need to spend from 90 to 120 hours on line with ALEKS to achieve the algebra skill level required at Andrews University.

If you are a reasonably self-disciplined person and you are not enrolled in school (during the summer, for instance), you might wish to use ALEKS independently. It is available at the Web site www.aleks.com for $19.95 per month of use. But we do not advise using ALEKS "on your own" during the school term. Since you are enrolled in college, you must maintain a given course load to avoid losing financial aid, and doing ALEKS is time consuming since doing it is just like taking a class. For you to give it the attention you should is difficult unless you are taking it as a course.

If you do decide to use ALEKS on your own, here are some pointers:

  • On the ALEKS Web site, we suggest clicking on "Higher Education" in the upper righthand corner of the screen. Then click on "ALEKS Math for Individual Students." There you have an option for a 48-hour free trial.
  • If you missed questions on section 1 of the self-test, start ALEKS with "Basic Math."
  • If you need Algebra review, start with "Intermediate Algebra."
  • A good textbook to use with ALEKS in reviewing algebra is Elementary Algebra (3rd Edition) by Mark Dugopolski, published by McGraw Hill (ISBN 0-07-229448-5). This book is available for purchase when you take the course MATH 091.
  • If you start ALEKS the summer before you come to Andrews University and then enroll in MATH 091, you can continue without duplicating most of what you have been over.

Click here to go to the ALEKS Web page. The URL is www.aleks.com

 

TAKING MATH 091/092 AS A COURSE: During the school year we highly recommend taking MATH 091 or 092 as a course rather than trying to use ALEKS independently. In addition to receiving individualized review and instruction from the computer program, you have a substantial support system to help you get through the material. When you go to class, you work in a computer lab with a teacher and a lab instructor available to help you over the rough spots. Your teacher monitors your progress so that if you are having difficulty (s)he can help you.

MATH 091 and 092 form a sequence which is completed when you pass a set of proficiency examinations in arithmetic and algebra. You will enroll first in MATH 091, and if you put appropriate energy into the course, you may be able to complete the sequence requirements during your first semester while still in MATH 091. In this case, you do not need to take MATH 092.

If you fulfill participation and progress requirements for MATH 091 but need more time to complete the requirements, you will receive a grade in 091 and enroll the next semester in MATH 092.

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