Lake Superior College Mathematics Department

Math 1150 - Pre-Calculus

Catalog Description

MATH 1150 Pre-Calculus (5 credits)
This course covers algebraic operations, functions, theory of
equations, inequalities, absolute value graphing, logarithmic,
exponentials, and analytic trigonometry. It is intended to be taken
as a review course covering topics of both College Algebra and
Trigonometry and will move quickly through the topics. MTC goal
areas: (2) Critical Thinking and (4) Mathematical/Logical Reasoning.
(Prerequisites: MATH0470 or MATH 0480 with a “C” or better or
appropriate placement test score) (5 hrs lec/0 hrs lab/0 hrs OJT)
Note: MATH1100 and MATH1130 taken in sequence are the
equivalent of MATH1150.

Placement Information

A student should get 50-77 on the College Level Math test of the Accuplacer Placement test and 77 or higher on the Elementary Algebra test. See The student scoring 78 or higher on the College Level Math test should consider taking Trigonometry.  The student scoring 100 or higher on the College Level Math test should consider taking Calculus I. If the student scores slightly less than 50 and have already taken the equivalent of the Pre-Calculus course at the high school level, they may opt to brush up on their skills and take the test again or contact the instructor of the Pre-Calculus section they wish to enroll in to inquire of the possibility of an override.

General Information

Pre-Calculus is a course taken by students generally pursuing one of the following goals:

  • The student intends to take Calculus as part of the requirements for a future degree in science or engineering.
  • The student does not intend to take Finite Math and Survey of Calculus as part of a Business or Accounting degree. The Finite Math & Survey of Calculus course only requires College Algebra, it does not require trigonometry.
  • The student needs the equivalent Math 1150 to satisfy an AAS degree requirement.
  • The student will need the equivalent of Math 1150 for some future degree requirement at a 4-year college or university.
  • Even though the student is not required to take Pre-Calculus nor are they planning on subsequent math coursework, they think they may pursue a degree in science, engineering, or business at some point in the future.

Due to the very fast pace of Pre-Calculus, a student should take College Algebra and Trigonometry instead of Pre-Calculus if they are not an “A” student in the prerequisite course Algebra II. Often, Pre-Calculus is taken as a review course by students that already have taken the equivalent course in high school.

Generally, if the student is not required to take Pre-Calculus nor do they have intentions of pursuing a degree related to science, engineering, or business, they may be better served by taking Principles of Math or General Statistics.  The Principles of Math course covers a variety of topics, including introduction to statistics and is fairly light on algebra. The General Statistics course is a standard sophomore year course in statistics that may (upon approval) fulfill a future requirement for a 4-year degree.

How is College Algebra Different From Pre-Calculus?

Pre-Calculus is the equivalent of taking both College Algebra and Trigonometry in a single semester. In fact, the same book is used for Pre-Calculus as is used for both College Algebra and Trigonometry. So a student finishing College Algebra should not take Pre-Calculus. Rather, they should take Trigonometry or the Survey of Calculus course.

Another difference is that Pre-Calculus, at 5 credits, is taught at a much faster pace than College Algebra since it must cover what College Algebra and Trigonometry cover in 7 total credits.