mathematics

College Algebra

Algebra is the branch of mathematics that deals with general statements of relations, utilizing letters and other symbols to represent specific sets of numbers, values, vectors, etc., in the description of such relations.

The College Algebra CLEP exam covers what would be taught in a semester-long college course. The test is is divided between solving problems requiring basic algebraic skills and problems where the student shows their understanding of algebra concepts. Questions cover basic algebraic operations and students will have to demonstrate knowledge of algebraic vocabulary, symbols and notation.The test does not place heavy emphasis on arithmetic calculations.

The exam contains approximately 60 questions to be answered in 90 minutes. Some of these are pretest questions that will not be scored. The College Board provides the parameters for the exam which we have listed below.

An online scientific (non-graphing) calculator will be available during the exam for whenever the student needs it. This calculator is integrated into the exam software. Students will choose when to use it and will find it helpful for performing certain calculations.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ALGEBRA:

  • Solving routine, straightforward problems
  • Solving non-routine problems where the test taker shows they understand algebraic concepts and can apply them to these problems

The subject matter of the College Algebra exam is drawn from the following topics.

ALGEBRAIC OPERATIONS: 25% of the exam

An algebraic operation is any one of the traditional operations of arithmetic which are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, raising to an integer power and taking roots (fractional power).

  • Factoring and expanding polynomials
  • Operations with algebraic expressions
  • Operations with exponents
  • Properties of logarithms

EQUATIONS AND INEQUALITIES: 25% of the exam

Equations and inequalities are both mathematical sentences formed by relating two expressions to each other.

  • Linear equations and inequalities
  • Quadrarix equations and inequalities
  • Absolute value equations and inequalities
  • Systems of equations and inequalities
  • Exponential and logarithmic equations

FUNCTIONS AND THEIR PROPERTIES: 30% of the exam

A algebraic function is a function that can be defined as the root of a polynomial equation.

  • Definition and interpretation
  • Representation/modeling (graphical, numerical, symbolic, and verbal representations of functions)
  • Domain and range
  • Algebra of functions
  • Graphs and their properties (including intercepts, symmetry, and transformations)
  • Inverse functions

NUMBER SYSTEMS AND OPERATIONS: 20% of the exam

A number system in algebra is a set of numbers. Different number systems are used to solve different types of algebra problems.

  • Real numbers
  • Complex numbers
  • Sequences and series
  • Factorials and Binomial Theorem
  • Determinants of 2-by-2 matrices

Each college sets their own credit-granting policies for the exam, so check with your college admissions office, test center, or academic adviser before taking the test.