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It's great to be prepared for UM math, chemistry and physics.

Courses to brush up on your math and science

Preparatory Skills courses are here for you

June 8, 2021 — 

There’s nothing like being prepared. So if you want to be ready to pursue studies in math, chemistry, or physics at UM, Preparatory Skills courses are for you. This collection of courses provided by Extended Education is designed to help you strengthen your knowledge and get the prerequisites you need. You can prepare for academic success by completing one or more of these courses first.

Math Skills
If you took consumer or applied math in high school, you may need a pre-requirement course for calculus. Perhaps it has been a while since you last studied math. Or maybe, you did well in high school math but you may not realize your math skills are weak.

“There is an issue with the transition from high school to university,” says Michelle Davidson, associate head undergraduate, Department of Mathematics, UM. “Students come with weak algebra skills. Students with very good high school marks in pre-calculus are not successful in calculus courses. You may not realize your math skills are weak.”

Whether you need a refresher, or a prerequisite, there is a Math Skills course for you. Math Skills includes two courses: MSKL 0050 – Basic Skills in Mathematics, and MSKL 0100 – Mathematical Skills.

“Math Skills 100 makes students calculus-ready,” says Davidson. “Any STEM subject needs math. All sciences, engineering need calculus. Everybody should take calculus. Calculus is the study of how things change over time.”

Math Skills 50 is a tool to prepare for Math Skills 100, if needed.

Extended Education offers a math skills diagnostic test to help you determine whether you should take one or both courses.

Chemistry Skills
When students prepare for university chemistry with Chemistry Skills, they are a step ahead of their peers who earned their prerequisite in high school or through an evening school program, says James Xidos, senior instructor, Chemistry at UM.  That’s because the Chemistry Skills course is designed by chemistry experts to prepare students specifically for Chemistry 1300.

“The course is taught as if you have never done any chemistry. We teach it from scratch, looking at the basics of the scientific process, atoms, the periodic table, basic reactions, naming, and basic math I call recipes.”

Many of the programs at the UM require first year chemistry, says Xidos. These include health sciences, engineering, agriculture, kinesiology, nutritional sciences, and dental hygiene. “To understand the human body, you need chemistry. To understand certain agricultural processes, you need chemistry.”

Physics Skills
Physics is a branch of the natural sciences, says Andriy Yamchuk, Physics Skills instructor and technical support for the Department of Physics and Astronomy at UM. “We look at the natural world around us and try to explain the concepts, with mathematics and models.”

Students can prepare for university physics with Physics Skills, whether they have completed Physics 40S in high school or not. For those who will take Physics 1020, Physics Skills offers an early start as it uses the same textbook and covers the same materials, at a faster pace, and more. Both courses are algebra-based.

While physics is not just math, the Physics Skills course starts with a review of math tools including three fundamental dimensions (time, mass, length), algebra, trigonometry, geometry, and how to solve and manipulate equations and read graphs.

As always, to ensure the most effective course planning, consult with your academic advisor.

Learn more about Preparatory Skills

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