# Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST

A Free Study Guide!

I like Fractals ;)

Name of Exam: Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST

Number of Questions: Around 95 (varies)

Time Limit: 120 Minutes

ACE Recommended Passing Score: 400

Cost: $80 + Sitting Fee (Usually no more than $20) at your testing site. Military can take DSSTs for free with Tuition Assistance. Check with your Educational Officer!

Difficulty 1-5 : 3

(One being the easiest, and five being the hardest)

Alternatives: StraighterLine College Algrebra and ALEKS College Algebra

### Exam Description:

The Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST covers the same information that a college student would normally learn in a single semester of College Algebra. An understanding of, among other things, Algebraic Operations, Exponential and Radical Expressions, Functions, Complex Numbers, Quadratic Forms, and Equations involving Radicals will be tested upon.

### Personal Thoughts:

The Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST covers almost exactly the same material as the College Algebra CLEP, though the word on the street is that this is the harder of the two. If you're great at math, then I'd consider taking them both if your school will count one as an elective.

This is one of those exams that terrifies me, so I'd normally rate it much more difficult than a "3". The above score takes into account that not everyone sucks at math like I do. That being said, don't expect this to be a walk in the park. Respect the exam or it will humble you.

### Exam breakdown:

Make sure you check out the Official Fact Sheet for this exam.

The Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST is broken down as follows:

20% | Functions |
---|---|

14% | Two Dimensional Graphing |

12% | Linear Equations |

12% | Quadratic Equations and Inequalities |

08% | Exponential and Radical Expressions |

07% | Rational Expressions |

06% | Factoring Polynomials over Real Numbers |

06% | Equations Involving Radicals |

06% | Absolute Value Equations and Inequalities |

05% | Complex Numbers |

04% | Fundamental Algebraic Operations |

### Areas of Study

Alright, disclaimer time. I'm horrible at math. I mean like... really horrible. I don't understand half of what they're asking for on here, so until I can find someone that does this sort of thing for fun, you're stuck with me writing this study guide.

So there's the bad news.. The good news is that they have a __ton__ of great resources online for learning algebra. Purplemath.com is one of the best that I've found, though Coolmath comes in a close second. I'd recommend going to the Purplemath Class Index and looking it over. Start at the top and work your way down. Review any subject that you feel weak on or don't recognize. Chances are good that you'll see most of this on your version of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST.

If you need an online algebra tool, try MathWay. It's free as long as you don't need to see the explanations, and even then it's pretty cheap.

#### Functions

(20% of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST)

- Properties of Functions - This is the most straightforward lesson on functions and their graphs that I've found. CoolMath is another site that tries a more elementary style of teaching. Use whichever fits your learning style more closely.
- Function Notation
- Operations on Functions
- Algebraic Fractions (Rational Functions)
- Domain and Range - Covers both topics well. You can find another tutorial about Domain and Range **Here**
- Composition of Functions
- Inverse Functions
- Trigonometric Functions
- Introduction to the X,Y Plane

#### Two-Dimensional Graphing

(14% of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST)

If you want a thorough graphing refresh, check out these Graphing Tutorials from CoolMath.com

I've listed every reference to graphing I can find on PurpleMath. If you hit something that you don't understand, use the top of the screen to return to the PurpleMath Lesson Index and see the preceding lesson.

- Graphing Overview
- Graphing Linear Equations
- Using Slope and Y-Intercept to Graph Lines
- Graphing Radical Functions
- Graphing Quadratic Functions
- Systems of Linear Inequalities
- Graphing Exponential Functions
- Graphing Logarithmic Functions
- Graphing Rational Functions
- Graphing Functions Part 1 - This is the best list of the most common graphs I've seen.
- Graphing Functions Part 2
- Graphing Trigonometric Functions
- Trigonometric Functions and their Graphs (The Sine and Cosine)

#### Linear Equations

(12% of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST)

- Solving Linear Equations
- Order of Operations
- Definition of Polynomials
- Adding Polynomials
- Multiplying Polynomials
- Dividing Polynomials

#### Quadratic Equations and Inequalities

(12% of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST)

- Solving Quadratics Lessons - Coolmath.com has a great lesson on Quadratics, and if you're at all weak in the area I'd suggest you go through them all. There's plenty of practice problems as well to work through here.
- Solving Quadratic Equations
- Factoring Quadratic Equations

#### Exponential and Radical Expressions

(08% of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST)

#### Rational Expressions

(07% of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST)

- Rational Expressions
- Adding and Subtracting Rational Expressions
- Multiplying Rational Expressions
- Solving Rational Inequalities

#### Factoring Polynomials over Real Numbers

(06% of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST)

This is where my own knowledge breaks down. If anyone understands this well enough to look (and find) some better resources, you can send them in via the "Contact Us" page. I've looked for a few hours for something that explains it in easy to read English with little luck. I think it may just be my ignorance on the subject matter.

- See Case Number 2
- Factoring Real Polynomials
- Factoring Over Complex Numbers
- Factoring and Complex Numbers

#### Equations Involving Radicals

(06% of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST)

- Solving Radical Equations
- Graphing Radical Equations - We touched on it above, but just in case you skipped over it.

#### Absolute Value Equations and Inequalities

(06% of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST)

- CoolMath Absolute Value Section - Both topics touched on all in one place!
- Solving Absolute-Value Equations.
- Absolute Value Inequalities

#### Complex Numbers

(06% of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST)

- CoolMath Complex Number Overview - A good place to get started, but check out the below as well.
- Complex Numbers - Go through all three pages on this one for the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST.

#### Fundamental Algebraic Operations

(06% of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST)

- Order of Operations - Put here only to soothe my own educational ego... "Hey, I know this one!"
- Adding and Subtracting Rational Expressions
- Multiplying Rational Expressions
- Dividing Rational Expressions
- Adding Polynomials
- Subtracting Polynomials
- Multiplying Polynomials
- Dividing Polynomials

### Recommended bargain-priced study resources

Always check your library first! You may be able to find some of these for free. You don't have to buy the officially recommended resources all the time. If you're the type of person that prefers to study from a textbook source however, then please see below.

CLEP College Algebra with CD (REA) - The Best Test Prep for the CLEP Exam (Test Preps) - This is the same book I recommended for the College Algebra CLEP though for this particular exam I'd definitely recommend it based on feedback I've gotten.. If you're still having problems learning this, and the above online references don't help then I'd suggest an actual textbook to practice with. You can see below for the DSST recommended ones.

Algebra & Trigonometry Problem Solver (REA) (Problem Solvers) - This is one of the books that was used to make the problems found in the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST. I'd highly suggest picking this up and working through it if you need the practice.

Beginning and Intermediate Algebra (4th Edition) - Not the same book as used to create the exam, but by the same author and seems to cover the same information. As with most textbooks, this one's expensive. I'd check the used section if money is tight, but make sure you ask the seller about the condition of the book if used. Math books are notorious for being scribbled in.

InstantCert Academy Fundamentals of College Algebra Specific Exam Feedback - There's not much here for this exam since most people skip this and take the College Algebra CLEP instead. I'd suggest seeing the College Algebra CLEP Specific Exam Feedback as well for some more study resources.

If you don't know what InstantCert is, then click here for the scoop as well as a discount code: **InstantCert Academy**

You'll find an InstantCert link for every exam here if that gives you an idea of the amount of information they have available. It's an outstanding resource.

### Closing Thoughts

I'd really consider just taking the College Algebra CLEP instead of the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST. Most schools count the two as the same, and by all accounts the CLEP is much easier than the DSST. If your school just absolutely requires the DSST instead of the CLEP, I'd make sure you check out the College Algebra CLEP Free Study Guide and brush up on some of topics too.

If you look at the top of the screen, you'll see a link to the Practice CLEP Tests. Though they don't have one for the Fundamentals of College Algebra DSST, they do have one for the College Algebra CLEP. Use that one to hone your skills and get some practice. As mentioned at the beginning of this study guide, the two have considerable overlap.

Best of luck! You can do it!

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