## Description

This textbook was written for you to use as a guide to mastering precalculus mathematics. Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of your course.

First of all, you should read the appropriate section of text before you attempt your homework problems. Reading a mathematics text is quite different from reading a novel, a newspaper, or even another textbook. You may find that you have to reread a passage several times before you understand it. Pay special attention to the examples, and work them out yourself with pencil and paper as you read. Then do the linked exercises referred to in “Now Try Exercise . . .” at the end of each example. With this kind of preparation you will be able to do your homework much more quickly and with more understanding.

Don’t make the mistake of trying to memorize every single rule or fact you may come across. Mathematics doesn’t consist simply of memorization. Mathematics is a problem-solving art, not just a collection of facts. To master the subject you must solve problems—lots of problems. Do as many of the exercises as you can. Be sure to write your solutions in a logical, step-by-step fashion. Don’t give up on a problem if you can’t solve it right away. Try to understand the problem more clearly—reread it thoughtfully and relate it to what you have learned from your teacher and from the examples in the text. Struggle with it until you solve it. Once you have done this a few times you will begin to understand what mathematics is really all about.

Answers to the odd-numbered exercises, as well as all the answers (even and odd) to the concept exercises and chapter tests, appear at the back of the book. If your answer differs from the one given, don’t immediately assume that you are wrong. There may be a calculation that connects the two answers and makes both correct. For example, if you get 1/1 !2 2 12 but the answer given is 1 1 !2, your answer is correct, because you can multiply both numerator and denominator of your answer by !2 1 1 to change it to the given answer. In rounding approximate answers, follow the guidelines in Appendix B: Calculations and Significant Figures.

The symbol is used to warn against committing an error. We have placed this symbol in the margin to point out situations where we have found that many of our students make the same mistake