# AoPS Prealgebra vs. Introductory Algebra

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If you were using these for a review of algebra for a child, which of these would you start with?  I started with Prealgebra and she is moving slowly.  I just got the Introductory Algebra and it doesn't look as hard or long in the first chapter, and it is covering some of the same things.   So I am thinking maybe I should just start there.  She completed Foerster Algebra I last year.  She struggles with math.  She is doing Geometry now, or was, but due to illness we are going to "repeat* " 10th grade next year so I have time to shore up algebra along with finishing Geometry.  But at this pace she won't have time to get through both Prealgebra and introductory algebra.

Kendall

*A more accurate description is extend 10th grade through the end of next school year.

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I much prefer the Intro Algebra text to the PreAlgebra text for the same material.  They have different authors, and I think the Intro Algebra covers the preA material in a much more straightforward manner.

Ruth in NZ

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The intro to algebra is the one that would have the same material as Foerster's algebra 1, but just the first 13 chapters of Intro to Algebra. There are a few topics in Foerster that won't be covered in those chapters-- linear functions and the graphing of them, trig functions are the ones I remember. These topics are covered a little later in AoPs. I remember Foerster also spends a lot more time on factoring polynomials.

Edited by Penelope
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Thank you, Penelope for the specifics about what the AoPS will cover that Foerster didn't and also what it won't review for us that Foerster did cover.

Ruth, if you had time I would love your thoughts on using the prealgebra at all for a child who hasn't already had algebra.  After reading your comment I moved the one(10th) that is reviewing algebra to the Introduction to Algebra book and it is going a lot better and more quickly.  Thanks!

My 6th grader is doing MEP 5 and breezing through it and also doing the prealgebra slowly.  I moved my current 8th grader to Foerster Algebra I at about the same place in MEP, but she was at the beginning of 8th instead of mid 6th.  Do you have thoughts on either of these sequences for her?  Both would probably be along side of finishing MEP 5 and maybe 6 at a fast pace but I am open to dropping MEP

Continue prealgebra and start AoPS Algebra or Foerster Algebra when finished

Start AoPS algebra instead of finishing the prealgebra and then do the Number Theory book between or at some point alongside Introductory Algebra.

My goal is not to start Geometry until 9th grade.  I don't want to race ahead and get to the high school sequence earlier, I would rather go deeper either by using the prealgebra or by using the Number Theory.  I don't think there is time in the rest of this year and the next 2 to do prealgebra, Introductory, and the Number Theory.

Thanks,

Kendall

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Just be aware that intro to Alg has some stuff that's not usually in Algebra 1 programs. If she has already completed a strong Alg 1 then she should be fine to tell you those things which she has not covered which will likely be graphing functions and also the last 3 whole chapters.

Also be aware that the Challenge problems are just as they are titled. They are truly a challenge and taken from math competitions so just pick a few for each chapter- don't get bogged down with them.

Hope this helps.

Another helpful free resource is Alcumus

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Thank you for the information!  And I needed to hear that about the Challenging problems.

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Ruth, if you had time I would love your thoughts on using the prealgebra at all for a child who hasn't already had algebra.  After reading your comment I moved the one(10th) that is reviewing algebra to the Introduction to Algebra book and it is going a lot better and more quickly.  Thanks!

Kendall, I just saw this.  Sorry for the delayed response.

Look, I really don't like AoPS PreA even though I know a lot of people do.  I have tried to put my younger through it and it is just a bear. In my opinion, the author makes so many easy concepts just too theoretical for the age group.  It is almost like a really good book to do *after* algebra in some strange way.  What I have read here makes me think that it is particularly good for really really advanced kids, and then they skip the first 6 chapters of IntroA because it is all review.

My older boy did the first 6 chapters of IntroA over a year almost like a preA class because preA was not written then.  He did it slow and steady with no rush.  He could read the text himself because there was a lot less of it than in the PreA book for the same concepts.  IMHO, PreA is written at a higher reading level than IntroA, which of course is backwards.

My younger is doing MEP as preA, and loves it.  I'm not sure he will do AoPS for many reasons, so not quite sure where the best transition point would be.

Ruth in NZ

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