Increasing Your Math Confidence with Math Essentials

“The Math Essentials class helped me get back into the groove of school. It had been nearly 22 years since I had been in school, so I had to get back into the swing of things. I liked the fact that I could review the material and practice the problems that I had the most trouble with as much as I needed to. Math Essentials really helped me to review a lot of what I had learned when I took algebra in high school, as well as learn new concepts and problems. I really liked how it let me work at my own pace. I could slow down when I needed to and work quickly through sections that I understood more easily.” Candice Sheaffer, Math Essentials student

The Penn State World Campus Math Essentials course can help you build your math confidence and learn the technology and processes to be successful in your upcoming math course(s). By participating in Math Essentials, you’ll also increase your potential for improving your Assessment and Learning in Knowledge Spaces (ALEKS) placement score.

Math Essentials is a noncredit, tuition-free, two-week course. It focuses on ALEKS work that covers the essential materials you need to know going into your intended class — MATH 004, MATH 021, or MATH 022.

Math Essentials introduces you to Blackboard Collaborate, an online learning tool for real-time classroom instruction; embedding formulas into an online discussion forum; and ALEKS, the online courseware used in MATH 004, MATH 021, and MATH 022. Learn to navigate these technologies before you begin your credit course. You should expect to commit at least 10 hours per week in course activities. Because this is a noncredit course, your participation does not increase your semester credit load or affect your GPA.

“The Math Essentials courses touch on study skills that will help with your math classes as well as all the other classes you will take. It helped to focus me on time management.” — Candice Sheaffer

The course also addresses additional skills necessary for math course success, including study strategies, terminology, time management, and organizational skills. In addition, you’ll learn about all the math resources available to you through the World Campus. Tutoring support via is also available to Math Essentials’ students. The instructor wants to help you become an independent learner who knows what you need to do, can plan ahead using a syllabus and course schedule, and understands when and where to seek help when needed. Visualize yourself being confident and comfortable as you begin your online math course!

Talk with your academic adviser or contact Michelle Wiley on the Academic Support Resources Team at If you are scheduling MATH 004, 021, or 022 for the fall semester, the next Math Essentials course runs from July 21 to August 4. If you are scheduling math for the spring 2018 semester, the next course begins in mid-November.

“I recommend Math Essentials to anyone taking a math class where it is available. You will be more prepared for your upcoming semester, and your stress levels over math will diminish.” — Candice Sheaffer

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