SECOND EDITION

## Introducing "The Mathematics Survival Kit"

It's 2 a.m. and you are stuck. You have forgotten how to "complete the square", which you need to complete a calculus question or an algebra question or a statistics question or ... Your text gives lots of examples but none of them review the completing the square technique.

Here comes The Mathematics Survival Kit to the rescue! Find the page you need in the Survival Kit. A quick 5 to 10 minute concise and friendly review gives you exactly what you need to continue with your homework.

The Mathematics Survival Kit contains 140 topics just like that. Using high school course outlines, standard first year university calculus and algebra curricula, and my thirty years of teaching experience, I prepared a list of topics, from early high school to university, that plague students. Like completing the square. Like factoring cubics. Like those annoying log properties. Like ...

Each topic is covered in one page. Almost all consist of

• an introductory sentence or two
• a first very straightforward example
• a second example illustrating a common variation
• TWO FOR YOU: two extra questions with answers to reinforce the techniques (and space in between for you to do the work!)

I have three subtitles for this book and I believe in all three to the depths of my mathematics teacher's soul:

"Got a Math Problem? Give Me Five Minutes of Your Time!"
"I Remember How to Do That!"
"That's Easier Than I Remembered!"

Why "Give me Five Minutes!"? Pre-calculus and math review texts re-teach and do massive amounts of examples and exercises. They can be overwhelming. With the Survival Kit, I am saying, "Give me five minutes and together we will zero in on and solve your problem!" Also, pre-calculus math review texts miss many of these topics. I donâ€™t think there is any book available that covers them all because the topics span so much of the math curriculum. There is certainly no text out there that presents them in this one page per topic format.

That is a key point. You don't have to read pages 1 to 58 to understand page 59. Each page is like a dictionary definition. You have a vocabulary that allows you to understand the explanation of any word you look up in a dictionary. You have a mathematics vocabulary that does the same for Mathematics Survival Kit topics!

Why "I Remember How to Do That!"? You are smarter and know more than you often give yourself credit for. If I have done my job well and you have studied the material in an earlier course, you should be able to follow step by step the solutions to examples on any given page.

Why "That's Easier Than I Remembered!"? If you are using this book, you are probably strongly motivated and really into the math (or physics or chemistry or economics or ...) that you are currently studying. You have the background and motivation. You can do math. And most of the time, you will find that the topic you are reviewing is not nearly as intimidating as it once may have seemed.

I had a lot of fun writing this book and truly believe in its usefulness. Students, from early high school to senior university, who have seen drafts have said they want copies ASAP. Teachers have said it will save them loads of tutoring time because the extra help their students often need is background review -The Survival Kit! - rather than the current material. Parents have all said they want it not only for their offspring, but - I am not making this up - because it will be fun to see how much math they remember. Maybe enough to help junior!

Jack Weiner
Department of Math and Statistics
e-mail: jweiner@uoguelph.ca
phone: (519) 824-4120 ext. 52157