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4 Math Concepts You Need To Know Before College

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4 Math Concepts You Need To Know Before College

If math is not your forte, you may be disappointed to learn that you do need to master some math concepts to get into college. After all, math is critical in a lot of different study areas and careers. With that in mind, we’re going to take a look at some of the areas of math you will probably need to address.

1. Algebra

Algebra is one of the main math concepts that a lot of students struggle with. However, it makes up a large portion of many maths exams, so it really is vital to dedicate a lot of revision to this. You will thank yourself when you’re looking at undergrad student loan options and on your way to college!

So, what sort of algebra questions can you expect? You need to know the notation, vocabulary, and manipulation of algebra. This begins by using and interpreting algebraic manipulation, including brackets and coefficients written as fractions instead of decimals. It also includes a/b in place of a ÷ b, 3y in place of y + y + y, and ab instead of a x b. You also need to know how to substitute numerical values into expressions and formulate, including scientific formulae. 

Also, make sure you understand and know how to utilize the vocabulary and concepts of inequalities, identities, formulae, equations, expressions, factors, and terms. You will also need to simplify algebraic expressions by expanding products of two binomials, taking out common factors, multiplying a single term over a bracket, and collecting like terms. Finally, make sure you know the difference between an identity and an equation, and that you know how to use standard mathematical formulae to change the subject.

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2. Angles

You will probably also need to know the basics of angles to get into college. Firstly, you need to know about the different types of angles. You need to know that a 90° angle is a quarter turn, known as a right angle, 180° is a half turn and 360° is a full turn. A small square is used to denote a right angle, so you can easily distinguish this when looking at illustrations on your math papers. The three different types of angles you need to know are as follows—a reflex angle, which is between 180° and 360°, an obtuse angle, which is between 90° and 180°, and an acute angle, which is an angle that is less than 90°. 

You also need to know how to work out angles at a point—they add up to 360°, and angles on a straight line – they add up to 180°. Once you have mastered this, move onto angles on parallel lines. When another line cuts through parallel lines, it is known as intersecting transversal. This generates a pair of angles that have special properties. You need to know how to calculate this. You also need to know about different triangles, their angles, and sides, as well as quadrilaterals, polygons, symmetry, and tessellations. 

3. Fractions

Fractions exam questions can be tricky, so make sure to study up. You can pretty much guarantee that there are going to be some fractions on your test to get into college, so it really is vital to get to grips with this area of mathematics. So, what type of fraction questions could be featured on your exam?

You will find that the main areas are multiplying and dividing fractions, adding and subtracting fractions, canceling fractions, and structure fractions. As per the Edexcel syllabus, you need to know how to interpret percentages and fractions as operators, as well as identifying and working with fractions in ratio problems. You will also be expected to know how to work interchangeably with terminating decimals and the fractions that correspond, for example, 0.375 and 3/8, or 3.5 and 7/2. 

If you are struggling with any questions on the subject of fractions, it is a good idea to look for animated walkthroughs and videos that can help you. This is advisable, as you will be able to see a step-by-step guide of the working out behind the question. You can find online courses on fractions (and any other math subject you can think of) on Udemy. Find a class that will help you today!

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If this is an area you particularly struggle with, keep practicing until you feel comfortable. Don’t focus on easier subjects simply because you find them more enjoyable. 

4. Graphs

Math graphs

Graphs questions can be one of the most difficult math concepts in the whole test. However, you know what they say—practice makes perfect, so you can certainly master the art of graphs. Below, we are going to take a look at what type of questions you can expect in this area of math. 

Firstly, you need to learn about coordinates. This is widely considered the easiest part of the graph syllabus. Coordinates show you how to get from the origin to a certain position on a grid or graph. For example, the coordinate (4, 2) means that you need to go four to the right, and then two up. You also need to learn how to draw straight-line graphs. These graphs are written in the following form: y = mx + c. With this formula, m equates to the steepness of the graph, otherwise known as the gradient. You then have c, which is the y-intercept of the graph; basically this is where the graph cuts through the y-axis. You also need to understand the equations of straight-line graphs. 

Finally, spend some time getting to grips with parallel and perpendicular graphs. Parallel lines are lines that are never going to cross, as they are set the same distance apart at all points, irrespective of how far they are extended. Perpendicular refers to two lines that meet at a right angle. If the product of their gradients is -1, two graphs will be perpendicular.


These are the four most important math concepts you need to master before you go to college. If you can handle these four subjects, then you will be sure to pass your entrance exam and move on with school! Remember that Udemy is a great resource if you’re struggling with something. There are hundreds of online courses you can take to learn or review challenging concepts.

4 Math Concepts You Need to Know Before College

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