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Placement Exam

Taking the Exams

There are two online math placement tests: the Quantitative Skills Exam, required to take Calculus I or Chemistry, and the Calculus test, required to take Calculus II. Students who want to take Calculus III, Linear Algebra, or other courses beyond calculus will take a placement exam on August 25 from 11:30-12:30pm in Seaver North Auditorium. Students who could not take the Calculus II online test before coming to campus should come to the Math Office, Seeley G Mudd Library 112, to take the exam.



Q. What is ALEKS?

A. A web-based adaptive assessment and learning program to help incoming students assess their knowledge base and review several key quantitative topics in preparation for the fall semester.

Q. Who should take the ALEKS assessment?

A. All students planning to take any math or science classes must take the ALEKS assessment.

Q. I took the AP Calc AB exam and passed with a score of 4 or 5. Do I need to take the Calculus II placement exam?
A. Yes, you should still take the online placement exam if you plan on taking more math (which you should!). Remember that the exam is only advisory, but having more information helps us place you in the right class.

Q. I still have more questions, whom should I contact?

A. Email Prof. Ami Radunskaya.

How to interpret the online calculus test scores

To enter Math 31, 31H or 31S, you should take the online calculus placement exam.  The results of this test, in combination with your previous math experience (grades in AP or IB tests, for example), will be used to advise you on which math class you should take.

A rough interpretation of the scores on the online test is as follows:
0-11     Take Math 30 or Math 29.
12-17   See Professor Radunskaya, Seeley Mudd Science Library 117, for additional advice.
18-28   Enter Math 31, 31H or 31S.

All students who wish to enroll in a mathematics course numbered 30 or above must take a mathematics placement exam and the ALEKS assessment before registration. The results of the placement exams are advisory. The student, with the help of his/her academic adviser, will use the results as well as the student's prior academic record to make a decision about which course to take. In addition, the students are encouraged to discuss their options with Prof. Ami Radunskaya, in the Mathematics Department.

Most students will enter Mathematics 29, 30, 31, 31S, 31H, 32, 32S or 60. A few students will be placed into courses beyond Linear Algebra with departmental advice.

In Math 29 (Calculus and Applied Mathematics for Science and Economics) students will learn calculus and problem solving techniques that arise in science and economics courses. Students may register for this course without taking a placement exam.  Students who took Calculus in high school and want more experience with applied problem solving  can take Math 29 followed by Math 31.

Math 30 (Calculus I) is for students with no or little prior work in calculus. The quantitative skills exam also serves as the advisory placement exam to enter Math 30. The exam covers only pre-calculus material. Students will take the quantitative skills exam online prior to arrival on campus.

Students who received a 4 or 5 on the advanced placement Calculus AB exam or have done comparable work, usually begin in one of Mathematics 31 (Calculus II), 31S (Calculus II with Applications to the Life Sciences), or 31H (Honors Topics in Calculus II). The placement exam for Calculus II is online and covers the material in a Calculus AB course.

Students who received a 4 or 5 on the advanced placement Calculus BC exam, or have done comparable work, usually enter Mathematics 32 (Calculus III),  32S (Calculus III with Applications to the Life Science) or 60 (Linear Algebra). Many students follow Math 32 in the fall with Math 60 in the spring. Students with an interest in mathematics, who plan to continue with mathematics beyond the first semester, are encouraged to take Math 60 Linear Algebra followed by Vector Calculus (Math 67). Linear Algebra is a proof based class and, compared to calculus classes, requires more mathematical maturity.

The exam to enter Mathematics 32, 32S or 60 is graded by the mathematics faculty. Students take this exam during orientation when they come to campus. Students who believe that they are ready to take courses beyond linear algebra should discuss their options with Prof. Ami Radunskaya of the Mathematics Department.

Our introductory statistics classes have a Calculus I (AB Calculus or the equivalent) prerequisite; we offer two sections: Math 58 (Introduction to Statistics) and Math 58B (Introduction to Biostatistics). Additionally, we offer statistics elective courses to those people who have succeeded in an introductory course (e.g., scoring a 4 or 5 on the AP Statistics exam). Our elective courses include statistics for medical & biological studies, linear models, time series, and computational statistics.