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Math Skills Self-Assessment and Math Preparation

Your Core course faculty require that you be proficient in certain math skills as you begin the program. The Math Self-Assessment will help you to assess your skills in this area. The Math Preparation Course is designed for you to learn or refresh your skills in order to help you be as prepared as possible for your first year's Core classes.

Math Skills Requirement

For economics, statistics and finance Core courses, you will need to be proficient in:
  • Data Relations (Equalities and inequalities, absolute value, ratios and fractions, summation notation)
  • Functions & Graphs (linear functions, nonlinear functions, summation notation)
  • Systems of Equations
  • Exponents (the laws of exponents, quadratic formula)
  • Logarithms (compound interest and e, exponential growth, natural logarithms)
  • Familiarity with basic calculus, at the level of taking derivatives of polynomial expressions and using first-order conditions to determine maxima and minima

Math Skills Self-Study

We strongly advise you to study and/or review the Math Skills Self-Study Materials before you start your Core classes at Stern. Your professors will assume that you have this knowledge, and many of the concepts that you will be learning will rely on these skills.

Math Skills Self-Assessment

Your Core course faculty have created a 20-question Math Skills Self-Assessment to help you assess your skills in this area. It should take you between 20-45 minutes to complete. We ask that you take the self-assessment before arriving at Stern. Use the Answer Key to score your exam and learn your results. Your results will be a good indicator as to whether you need to take the Math Preparation Course.

  1. Study and/or review the Math Skills Self-Study Materials
  2. Take the Math Skills Self-Assessment (20 questions)
  3. Score your assessment exam using the Answer Key
  • 15 or fewer questions correct – Enroll in the Math Preparation Course
  • All others: If you’d like a refresher on your math skills, you may also enroll.

Math Preparation Course

This preparation course contains three classroom sessions, designed to help you refresh or learn the required math skills so that you are best prepared for your first-year Core classes.
The following topics will be covered in three sessions, totaling about nine hours.

Methodologies are illustrated with business examples.
Session Number Topic Description
Session 1 1. Algebra Review
a. Laws of Exponents
b. Adding and Subtracting Rational Expressions
c. Quadratic Formula and Factoring
d. Summation Notation
e. Solving Systems of Equations
f. Solving Systems of Inequalities
2. Functions and Linear Models
a. Rate of Change
b. Average Rate of Change
Session 1/
Session 2
3. The Mathematics of Finance and Nonlinear Models
a. Simple Interest
b. Compound Interest
c. Exponential functions and logarithmic functions
d. Continuously Compounded Interest
e. Effective Rate
f. Logarithmic Rate of Return
Session 2/
Session 3
4. Introduction to the Derivative
a. Introduction to Limits
b. Definition of the Derivative
5. The Shortcuts of Differentiation
a. Power Rule
b. Product Rule
c. Quotient Rule
d. Chain Rule
e. The derivative of exponential functions
f. The derivative of logarithmic functions
Session 3 6. Applications of the Derivative: Optimization
a. Critical Points
b. First Derivative Test
c. The Second Derivative
d. The Second Derivative Test
e. Convexity and Concavity
f.  Inflection Points
g. Applications to Problems in Economics and Business

You may register for the Math Preparation Course when you complete the Summer/Fall registration forms. A fee of $350 will be charged to your Bursar account for the preparation course.