Business Mathematics (BK/IBA) / Quantitative Research Methods I (EBE) 2015/16


Codes like "A1", "B1", etc. indicate the session at which these topics will be discussed during the lectures: A refers to the first day (Monday), B to the second day (Wednesday), while 1 refers to the first hour and 2 to the second hour.

The numbers like "3.1-3.3" refer to the book; see below for details.

Mind that all downloadable content is subject to minor changes (e.g., correcting typos) without notice.

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 and beyond

A1 Introduction

Response class


A1 Summation

A1 Functions and equations

A1 Implicit functions

A2 Numbers and units

B1 Mathematical modeling

B2 Miscellaneous topics


A2 Derivatives

A2 Extreme values

A1 Partial derivatives

A2 Indefinite integrals

B1 Definite integrals

A1 Extreme values in two dimensions B1 Constrained optimization A1 Multiple constrained optimization

B1 Indexing

B2 Vectors

B2 Matrices

A2 Systems of linear equations

B2 Gaussian elimination


B2 Descriptive statistics

B1 Elasticities and approximations

B1 Curve fitting B2 Applications of integrals A2 Linear programming
Computer tutorials
Digital tests

Sample test

Real test

Sample test

Real test

Retake test 1

Retake test 2

Written exam

Sample exams

Real exams

Book and online texts


We use the book Essential Mathematics for Economic Analysis, 4th Edition, by Knut Sydsæter and Peter Hammond.

You can order it anywhere. However, we have arrangements with the VU Boekhandel and Aureus to supply copies with an extended access of the digital learning environment MyMathLab (see below).

Our errata contains an ongoing effort to correct mistakes in the book. Please send us if find you new ones.

MyMathLab (digital edition and learning website)

The publisher offers an integrated learning website with e-text, questions, etc. You can freely access if you purchased a book with a valid access code. If you don't have an access code, you can purchase access online at

In order to join this course, you will need to:

1. Register for MyMathLab Global

a. Go to the MyMathLab Global home page at and click the Student button, in the Register section.

b. Enter your Course ID XL00-M1VS-201Z-9T24. Mind the difference between 0 (zero) and O (oh) and between 1 (one), I (capital eye) and l (lowercase el). It is best to copy and paste the code.)

c. Choose to register an access code (came with your new book) or purchase access if you don’t have an access code. The code looks something like SIMPLE-FRILL-TONLE-WEIRS-CHOIR-FLEES.

d. Click the button to proceed to registration.

e. Follow the instructions to create your account.

f.Click the link to login. You’ll be directed to, where you can enter the user name and password you just created. Click the login button. The first time you enter the site you’ll be asked to enter your Course ID. Be sure to click on the Browser Check link in the upper right of the screen the first time you login and anytime you use a new computer. You will be alerted to any new software required for your course, such as Flash. You will need administrative rights to install any new software on your computer.

2. Enrol in your instructor's course

After registering, log in to MyMathLab Global with your username and password. To enrol in the appropriate course, use the Course ID (XL00-M1VS-201Z-9T24) for your instructor's course.

Note that technical difficulties in accessing the website cannot solved by us. You should contact the publisher for this.

Digital tests

What is tested?

Because the course's emphases are theory and practice, and the practice in quantitative thinking nowadays includes digital work, we test your practical skills in two intermediate digital tests. We will test your skills in using the equation editor of Microsoft Word for typesetting mathematical expressions, and in using Microsoft Excel for modelling quantitative problems.

How will the tests take place?

The digital tests will take place in the "TenT", VU's digital exam room. This room contains several hundred of well-controlled computers. During the tests, you will not be able to use internet, USB memory sticks, etc.

The results of these tests play a role in the final grade. That means the usual rules for exams apply to these tests. Check the time table, be on time, bring your ID and VU card with student number, do not put your book, notes, phone, etc. on your desk.

The TenT opens 15 minutes before the start time. Make sure you are in time: after the start no more students will be admitted. Digital tests take 1:30 hour. Students who have have been granted extra time by the faculty should bring the letter in which this is stated. They will get 30 minutes extra.

If you show up at a digital test, fill in your name and student number, and save your file, you will get a 1. If you do more, your grade in these tests can go up to 10.

At the desks of the TenT, you will receive instructions for doing the test.

More on using software

We help you in learning how to use Word's equation editor and Excel for mathematical modelling by providing documents and organizing tutorial sessions. But we don't teach you the elementary digital skills (how to save a file, how to use ctrl-c/ctrl-v, etc.). Rather, we assume you already can deal with such tasks. It is indeed essential that you do: you must be able to properly work with the computers at the university.

In the computer rooms that we use for the tutorial sessions and in the TenT, the computer configuration may differ from what you are used to. For instance, you may have a Mac, or a different Windows version, or Word in a different language, or the decimal separator of your computer may be different, or you may have a left-handed mouse. We assume that you nevertheless are clever enough to work your way around with the configuration at VU. You may bring your own computer to the tutorial sessions, but not to the digital tests, so we recommend you to use VU's computers at the tutorial sessions as well.

Rules at the digital tests

Please take note of all rules and regulations for taking exams.

During the digital tests, you are allowed to use:

You are not allowed to use:


Each digital test will be graded between 1.0 and 10.0, with one decimal (so like 7.2 or 3.4). It will count for 15% in the final grade.


The inspection of the first written exam is the moment at which you can also review your digital tests. For those persons that have a retake of the digital tests, please contact the course coordinator if you want to review your retake test.

Written exam

What is tested?

At the written exam, we will test your theoretical mathematical knowledge and skills. Together with the computer skills that have been tested at the digital tests, this will be the basis of the final grade.

We will test your ability to solve equations, differentiate and integrate functions, use matrix algrabra, find extreme points with or without constraints, calculated elasticities, use and interpret descriptive statistics, etc. The table below lists the chapters and extra documents that need to be studied.

Book Separate PDFs





6.1-6.4, 6.6-6.11







14.1-14.2, 14.6




Data reduction and descriptive statistics

Curve fitting and least-squares regression

The Greek alphabet

An economist's guide to visualizing data

The schedule contains a few sample exams. Notice that each exam is a random sample of subjects. This means that when a certain topic hasn't been in for two years, it may suddenly be in.

How do we test?

The exam takes two hours and has three questions.

Question 1 consists of 14 short subquestions, such as "Integrate the following function". There is a special exam sheet for answering this question. For question 1, only the final answer should be given. Everything you write in addition will be ignored.

Questions 2 and 3 will be longer questions, having more context, about companies, employment, markets, etc. They consist of a number of subquestions (typically around 4). For questions 2 and 3 it is essential that you provide an answer that contains the full path to the solution, using clear and correct notation. We will not only assess the final answer, but also all intermediate steps and the arguments leading to the answer. A correct answer without motivation will be ignored.

Rules at the written exam

Please take note of all rules and regulations for taking exams, including the rules for registration in advance.

During the written exam, you are allowed to use:

You are not allowed to use:


The written exam will be graded between 1.0 and 10.0, with one decimal (so like 7.2 or 3.4). It will count for 70% in the final grade.


After the results of an exam have been published, an opportunity to see your exam is organized. Keep an eye on BlackBoard for the details on date, time, and room. You will not get your work with you, so we advice you to bring a camera if you want to make a copy.

During inspection, it may happen that you find some points where the reviewer of the exam made a mistake, or where you think or suspect so, or otherwise disagree with the result. If so, you will be given a sheet of paper, for writing down your argument. In such cases, you hand in this sheet, and we will re-review your work, and inform you on the outcome. Notice that if you ask for reviewing your work, we will carefully re-review your entire work, so not only the points you indicated.