Does your student slump or stride into math class? My hope is that each of my math students steps confidently into any algebra, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus, or middle school math classroom.

Build Confidence In Math With Prerequisites

Last week, I was reviewing probability with an ACT Math student. When I realized that she struggled to determine where each number should go in her calculation, I pulled out a classic middle school-level textbook to reteach probability’s prerequisites: outcomes, events, and relative frequency. As she masters these fundamentals, she’ll learn the “why” behind the “how” of probability. When she returns to the ACT prep book, she’ll be more sure of herself when she meets a probability question.

Math Concepts And Their Prerequisites

Here’s a list of common math topics and their prerequisites.

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Math topic: prerequisites

  • Factoring polynomials: greatest common factor, multiplication facts
  • Quadratic formula: order of operations
  • Adding/subtracting rational functions: adding and subtracting fractions
  • Multiplying/dividing rational functions: multiplying and dividing fractions
  • Word problems about linear functions: slope, y-intercept, how to plot points
  • Solving equations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts; order of operations; combining like terms; adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing positive and negative integers
  • Logarithms: exponent rules
  • Identifying vertical asymptotes: solving equations
  • Exponential growth/decay: converting from percent form to decimal form


  • Solving similar polygons: proportions, multiplication, simplifying fractions
  • Calculating volume, area, perimeter, or circumference: order of operations
  • Pythagorean Theorem: order of operations, solving equations
  • Finding the exact measure of the side of a polygon: simplifying radicals
  • Using trigonometric ratios to solve triangles: sum of the interior angles of a triangle

Article by Scholar Ready


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