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College Physics: Math Pretest (Part I)

This is a test of your knowledge of certain topics from algebra and trigonometry that are essential to working the problems in an introductory college physics course. After working each problem, the answer will be provided so that you can check your work.

Research at the University of Houston and Lee College (circa 1993) has shown that the score on this test can serve as a rough but reasonable predictor of the grade in the physics course. This is especially true at the lower end of the score ranges. If your score is below 80%, they would strongly recommend that you take immediate steps to review your mathematics.

Students were are NOT allowed to use calculators on this test.

General Questions


What is the value of x in the expression: x = p(p + q) + 4 if p = -2 and q = 7?
1. 









Given x + 2 = 2(x-1), what is the value of x?
2. 









3. 









5y2 - 8y - 4 = 0
y = ___ .

4. 









What is the value of x in the following equations:
x + 4t = 4
2x - 2 = t + 6
5. 









Find y as a function of x from the following equations:
8x - 2t = 2
2y - 5 = t
6. 









Find z as a function of t from the following equations:
8 + s = t2
3s = 2z
7. 









For the triangle illustrated, what is p?
8. 









What is the slope of the line at x = -6?
9. 









= ________.
10. 









If the angle A = 7p/6 radians, what is the value of A in degrees?
11. 









A mother is five years more than twice as old as her daughter. The combined ages of  the mother and daughter totals 29 years. How old is the mother?
12. 









 - = ________.

13. 









What is the value of x in the equation 2x2 - 5x + 1 = 0?
14. 









Given a = -2, b = 3, c = -5, what is the value of a(-b - c) + bc2?
15. 









Solve for q in the following expression, treating A, B, and C as constants: B(q - 1) = q(A/q + C)
16. 









Solve for y as a function of x from the following equations, treating R, S, and T as constants:
S(Rx - St) = T
y = S(St + T)
17. 









Given ap2 = bt2 and b2q = at, where a and b are constants, what is q as a function of p?
18. 









What is the intercept (i.e., the value of y when x = 0) of the straight line through the points
(x = -4, y = -1) and (x = 4, y = 3)?
19. 












H T Hudson
T L O'Kuma

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