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Department of Mathematics & Statistics

MATH101 Supplementary Algebra 1

Second SemesterAlso available:  First Semester  Summer School
9 points

This 9-point half-paper covers methods and applications of algebra. It consists of the algebra component of MATH 160. Note that to go on to MATH 170, you will need both MATH 101 and MATH 102 - or their equivalent, MATH 160.

Paper details

This algebra paper is the natural continuation of 7th Form Mathematics.

After a review of basic trigonometry, the paper focusses on three-dimensional vectors and their many uses (such as in geometry, computer graphics, surveying and even calculus). The vector representation of lines, planes and projections leads naturally to the discussion of linear systems of equations. The basic properties of matrices are studied together with some applications. Complex numbers and polynomials complete this section of the course.

Potential students

MATH 101 is taken only by students who need the algebra component (but not the calculus) of MATH 160. This situation may arise when a student has transferred from another university, or is looking for a 9-point paper, or has previously taken the calculus half.



Main topics

  • Vectors; linear and planar geometry and applications
  • Solving linear systems
  • Matrices and applications
  • Complex numbers
  • Polynomials and their roots


MATH 160 Algebra Outline Notes are available from the Print Shop.

Useful references

Elementary Vector Algebra by A.M. MacBeath

Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry by M.V. Sweet

Lecturer (Semester 2)

Dr Jörg Hennig, room 215

Lectures (Semester 2)

Mon (Castle 2), Wed (Quad 2) and alternate Fridays (Burns 2), at 12 noon


Attendance at tutorials is voluntary. An open tutorial system operates where classes run for 8 hours per week, and students may attend as many as they need to and are able to.

  • Wednesday: 10-12 and 1-3
  • Thursday: 10-12 and 1-3
  • All tutorials are in room 124, Science III building.

Office hours (Semester 2)

by arrangement (or just pop in if I’m in my office)

Internal Assessment

There are ten marked assignments which make up your assignment mark.

Five computer Skills Tests together make up 33.3% of your final mark.

You can check your marks by clicking on the Resources link at the top of this page.

Terms Requirement

You have to fulfil the terms requirement in order to be allowed to sit the final exam.

In this paper, to pass “terms” you need to:

  • gain at least 5/10 in each of the first four Skills Tests
  • achieve an overall mark of 40% on the 10 assignments

Exam format

The 90 min final exam consists of multiple-choice questions and some long answer questions.

Final mark

Your final mark F in the paper will be calculated according to this formula:

F = max(E, (3E + A)/4)*2/3 + T/3


  • E is the Exam mark
  • A is the Assignments mark
  • T is the Tests mark

and all quantities are expressed as percentages.

Your internal assessment can boost your exam mark with a 1/4 weighting if that helps you. Note that the test component definitely counts and so the tests should be regarded as compulsory.

Students must abide by the University’s Academic Integrity Policy

Academic endeavours at the University of Otago are built upon an essential commitment to academic integrity.

The two most common forms of academic misconduct are plagiarism and unauthorised collaboration.

Academic misconduct: Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as:

  • Copying or paraphrasing another person’s work and presenting it as your own.
  • Being party to someone else’s plagiarism by letting them copy your work or helping them to copy the work of someone else without acknowledgement.
  • Using your own work in another situation, such as for the assessment of a different paper or program, without indicating the source.
  • Plagiarism can be unintentional or intentional. Even if it is unintentional, it is still considered to be plagiarism.

All students have a responsibility to be aware of acceptable academic practice in relation to the use of material prepared by others and are expected to take all steps reasonably necessary to ensure no breach of acceptable academic practice occurs. You should also be aware that plagiarism is easy to detect and the University has policies in place to deal with it.

Academic misconduct: Unauthorised Collaboration

Unauthorised Collaboration occurs when you work with, or share work with, others on an assessment which is designed as a task for individuals and in which individual answers are required. This form does not include assessment tasks where students are required or permitted to present their results as collaborative work. Nor does it preclude collaborative effort in research or study for assignments, tests or examinations; but unless it is explicitly stated otherwise, each student’s answers should be in their own words. If you are not sure if collaboration is allowed, check with your lecturer.

Further information

While we strive to keep details as accurate and up-to-date as possible, information given here should be regarded as provisional. Individual lecturers will confirm teaching and assessment methods.

The aircraft’s flightpath goes through coordinates (1,2,0) and (23,-19,3). The top of the hill is at (18,-13,2).
How close does the aircraft get to the top of the hill? Vectors make this an easy calculation.

..., 1839-1903, was a pioneer in vector analysis. His family lived in Connecticut and Gibbs became Professor of Mathematical Physics at Yale in 1871 — rather surprisingly before he had published any work! He made major contributions to thermodynamics, the electromagnetic theory of light and statistical mechanics.

In a certain city, commuters go to work by car or bus. A study shows that from each year to the next year 20% of car users change to travelling by bus, while 15% of bus users change to travelling by car. What percentage of commuters travel by car, once things have settled down?