This research, in general, aims to identify incoming students’ understanding and misconceptions of several basic concepts in mathematics. The participants of this study are the 2015 incoming students of Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Science of Syiah Kuala University, Indonesia. Using an instrument that were developed based on some anecdotal and empirical evidences on students’ misconceptions, a survey involving 325 participants was administered and several quantitative and qualitative analysis of the survey data were conducted. In this article, we discuss the confirmatory factor analysis using Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) on factors that determine the new students’ overall understanding of basic mathematics. The results showed that students’ understanding on algebra, arithmetic, and geometry were significant predictors for their overall understanding of basic mathematics. This result supported that arithmetic and algebra are not the only predictors of students’ understanding of basic mathematics.

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