Calculus Placement FAQs
The Mathematics Department offers four levels of calculus. Math 115
is a standard first-semester treatment of one-variable calculus
including limits, continuity, differentiation and optimization.
Math 116 is the continuation course, stressing integration techniques,
sequences and series. Math 120 is an accelerated version
of Math 116; students
placed into this course often demonstrate proficiency with integration
but not with sequences and series on their placement test. Either 116
or 120 is a prerequisite for Math 205, our standard multivariable
calculus course which covers partial differentiation, multiple integrals,
cylindrical and spherical
coordinate systems, and the various forms of Stokes's Theorem.
- Q: What do I do if I have a question about my calculus placement or
about what math class is appropriate for me?
|A:||You should have completed an on-line questionnaire and received a letter
over the summer with your calculus placement. However, if:
then please attend "Advising Day" during orientation and talk with a
representative of the Mathematics Department. If Advising Day has
passed, please send your
question to Professor Hirschhorn.
- you do not know your calculus placement, or
- you have any questions about it, or
- you are unsure about what course to take,
- Q: Do I get credit for taking AP Calculus or AP statistics?
|A:||The following credit is given for AP courses:
These credits count toward graduation, but not for distribution requirements
or towards the minimum number of courses required for the major.
- If you score a 4 or 5 on the AB exam (or get an AB-subscore of 4 or 5
on the BC exam) you get 1 unit of credit, equivalent to Math 115.
- If you get a 4 or 5 on the BC exam you get 2 units of credit, equivalent
to Math 115 and Math 116.
- If you get a 5 on the AP-statistics exam, you get 1 unit of credit,
equivalent to Math 101.
If you do not take the AP exam or you do not score high enough to get credit
for a course, you may still be placed into a higher course so that you
do not repeat material that you have already studied.
- Q: I am not sure I am well-prepared for the calculus course in which I
was placed. Should I take a lower course?
|A:|| Many incoming students lack confidence in their math background and assume
that everyone else will be better prepared. In reality, this is not the
case. In particular, students who have had AB-calculus have covered more
material than we cover in Calculus I (Math 115), so the first few weeks
of Math 116 will already be a review of the techniques of integration and
should give you the opportunity to fill in your background.|
If there is a question, it is better to start in the higher level course.
You can always drop down to a lower level course, but it is hard to move
up to a higher level course. You can discuss this issue
with your instructor
during the first week of classes.
- Q: Should I take MATH 205 or PHYS/MATH 215?
|A:|| Math 205 is multivariable calculus. Phys/Math 215/216 (Math for the
Sciences I & II) are two recently developed courses which are tailored to the
needs and preparations of students considering majors in the sciences,
particularly the physical sciences. Whether to take Math 205 or Phys/Math 215
depends on your particular interests. Students anticipating a major in
physics, astrophysics, and astronomy must complete 215 and 216. Other
prospective science majors, particularly chemistry majors, should consider 215
as a third semester of college-level mathematics. Prospective science majors
who also want to consider a math major can use the 215/216 sequence in
place of the standard Math 205 requirement. Prospective math majors and
other students who want additional math preparation beyond Math 116 should
enroll in Math 205.|