Skip navigation

You are here

Math Diagnostic

FIRST YEAR MATH COURSE: WHICH ONE IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Getting started in the correct math course for you is important, so we have put together some resources to:

  • Help you understand the math courses at Morris
  • Explain our Math Diagnostic (which helps you determine which course is right for you)
  • Assist in your preparation for the Math Diagnostic Exam

FIRST YEAR MATHEMATICS COURSES AT MORRIS

Here are the courses in which a first year student typically enrolls:

 

The arrows indicate prerequisites, so if you needed Calculus I (Math 1101) for your major you would need to have mastered: 

  • Precalculus I: Functions (Math 1012)
  • Precalculus II: Trigonometry (Math 1013)

before taking Calculus I (Math 1101).

Excursions in Math (Math 1001)
Excursions in Math has no prerequisites other than high school math—this course meets the M/SR General Education requirement, but relies only minimally on the algebra you learned in high school. It is typically taken by Elementary Education majors who are not pursuing the Math Sub-plan, or any student who wishes to meet a general education requirement but are not planning to take any further math courses (this course does not prepare you to take Calculus I, for example).

Survey of Calculus (Math 1021)
Survey of Calculus is an introduction to calculus that does not involve any trigonometry. It is an option for students who major in Biology, or any student who wants to meet the M/SR General Education requirement by learning some more about what calculus is all about
Calculus I (Math 1101)
Calculus I is an introduction to calculus that will use trigonometry and is required for students who plan to major in Chemistry, Economics, Environmental Science, Management (F&OM), Geology, Math, Physics, or Statistics. Computer Science majors typically take Calculus I, and students who major in Biology may also take Calculus I.

The following courses are frequently taken by first year students who need to build their mathematical skills before proceeding to Survey of Calculus or Calculus I.

Elements of Algebra (Math 1010; replaced Basic Algebra 901, summer 2021)
This course covers operations with real numbers, linear equations and inequalities, quadratic equations; operations with polynomials, rational expressions, exponents and radicals; equations of lines; an introduction to functions, domain and range, word problems.

 PreCalculus I: Functions
Functions reviews the concept of functions and properties of functions you will use in the Survey of Calculus, Calculus I and beyond.

 PreCalculus II: Trigonometry
Trigonometry reviews the trigonometry you will use in Calculus I and beyond.

You can find more detailed descriptions of all our courses in the Morris Catalog.

CHOOSING THE INITIAL MATHEMATICS COURSE THAT IS BEST FOR YOU

Morris offers exemption from Calculus I and/or Calculus II to those who do well in AP calculus, according to the following scale of performance:

  • Automatic exemption from Calculus I and II for AP calculus B/C score of 4 or 5. 
  • Automatic exemption from Calculus I for AP calculus B/C score of 3 or AP calculus A/B score of 5. 
  • Exemption (subject to mathematics faculty approval) from Calculus I , for AP calculus A/B score of 4. 
  • An AP calculus A/B score of 3 does not gain an exemption for Calculus I. 
  • Automatic exemption from Survey of Calculus for AP calculus A/B score of 3 or 4. 

For all other students intending to do a mathematics course in their first year, advice is given based on a combination of their performance in a diagnostic ‘placement’ test and information on previous math courses they have done.

If you have questions on these exemptions, please contact Angie Senger or the Office of the Registrar.

Transfer Credit

If you have already earned credit for a college level math course, you are not required to take the Math placement exam. Your transfer course will guide which course is right for you. Please contact Angie Senger, Transfer Evaluation Evaluation and Degree Audit Coordinator, with questions.

THE DIAGNOSTIC ‘PLACEMENT’ TEST IN MATHEMATICS

If you have already earned credit for a college level math course, you are not required to take the Math placement exam. Your transfer course will guide which course is right for you.

Students interested in pursuing the following majors must take the math placement exam or provide transfer credit before scheduling your registration appointment. If you are currently undecided, but believe you may pursue one of the following majors in the future, we recommend that you take the math placement exam.

- Biology
- Chemistry
- Computer Science
- Economics
- Environmental Science or Environmental Studies
- Management
- Pre-health programs and Engineering
- Mathematics
- Physics
- Statistics

The Test 

This computer-based, diagnostic test consists of 40 short multiple-choice questions. It tests the level of your command in three areas of precalculus mathematics - basic algebra (14 questions), functions (13 questions), and trigonometry (13 questions). The purpose is to assess the level of your command of the material in each section. A preliminary recommendation is made, based on various combinations of scores. A table of these equivalencies is below. This preliminary recommendation is conveyed to your advisor, who considers it in conjunction with other relevant information before giving a further recommendation. The levels at which the preliminary recommendations are made are based on correlation, made over several years, with student success rate in the subsequent course entered. They are chosen to anticipate a 90% success rate at the grade of 'C' or above in the course a student enters.

Review

In order that your true level of mastery may be determined, it is recommended that you review material before doing the test. This advice is especially true for those who may not have taken any mathematics for several months or even a year.

Practice material for the test is available for download:

Math Practice Exam

Students may also take a practice exam online to familiarize themselves with the math placement syntax and process. You are encouraged to take the practice exam before taking the placement exam. If you have not taken a mathematics course in several months, you may wish to review the material before taking the placement exam. The practice test is two pages with five questions per page. You can take the practice exam as many times as you want.

*Please note, if you are a new student you must get your own UMN email address set up in order to access additional steps.

1. *Login using your:

  • Username (Internet ID; this is the first letters and/or numbers of your University email address. For example, ed000 for ed000@morris.umn.edu)
  • Password (Student ID; this is a 7-digit number)
  • NOTE: username and password must be lowercase as login is case-sensitive

2. Click the “Practice Test” link to begin

3. Use “Jump to page 2” to move forward

4. A countdown clock with test time remaining will appear in the upper right corner

5. Click “Grade Test” at the bottom of the page when finished

6. A confirmation that your test was recorded will appear

7. You will not see the exam results

8. Use the bread crumbs at the top of the page to navigate back to the main page to take again or begin the placement exam next.

Math Placement Exam

Most students will take the math placement exam as part of New Student Registration in the spring or summer before they come to Morris to register for classes. Current students can retake the placement exam at no charge but may need their access reset; contact oas@morris.umn.edu . You will have up to 60 minutes to complete the exam. The placement exam is eight pages with five questions on each page. You may not use a calculator.

1. *Login using your username and password

  • Username (Internet ID; this is the first letters and/or numbers of your University email address. For example, ed000 for ed000@morris.umn.edu)
  • Password (Student ID; this is a 7-digit number)
  • NOTE: username and password must be lowercase as login is case-sensitive

2. Click “Take Placement Test” link to begin

3. Use the “Jump to page” to move forward in the exam

4. A countdown clock with test time remaining will appear in the upper right corner

5. You must click “Grade Test” at the bottom of the page when finished in order for your test to be recorded in the system

6. Confirmation that your test was recorded will appear

7. You will not see the exam results

8. The staff assisting you with registration will inform you of your exam results

9. Email oas@morris.umn.edu if you have questions or need assistance

Repeat testing

If you are dissatisfied with your initial performance, you have the opportunity to complete a repeat test. This may be done before classes begin in the fall or remotely, as above. If you are unable to login and retest, contact oas@morris.umn.edu.

Building a Strong Mathematical Foundation

Students who are recommended to start in Elements of Algebra should begin with that course. Some students given this recommendation attempt to start at the next level, Precalculus I. The success rate for these students at the grade of ‘C’ or above is historically at the 50% level, with very, very few students gaining a grade higher than the 'C' level in precalculus. The Mathematics Discipline's strong recommendation is that you should build a firm foundation in your mathematics skills before proceeding!

INFO ON THE MATHEMATICS DIAGNOSTICS

The introductory mathematics courses and their prerequisites are:

Course

Prerequisite

Calculus I

  • Precalculus I

  • Precalculus II

Survey of Calculus

  • Precalculus I

Precalculus II

  • Elements of Algebra

Precalculus I

  • Elements of Algebra

 

Based on the score in each section of the math diagnostic test (Trigonometry, Functions, Algebra) each row of the table below indicates which prerequisite a student is deemed to have satisfied. When you take the math placement test you and your advisor will receive notification of your recommended math course. What follows explains how that recommendation was determined. 

 

Prerequisite satisfied

Placement Test Score

Points (max 7)

Precalculus II: Trig (Math 1013)

7-13 on Trigonometry portion

If yes, 4pts; If no, 0 pts

Precalculus I: Functions (Math 1012)

9-13 on Functions portion

If yes, add 2 pts

Elements of Algebra: (Math 1010)

8-14 on Algebra portion

OR

9-13 on Functions portion

OR

7-13 on Trigonometry portion

If yes to any, add 1 pt max

Results

Based on your score calculated from your total math placement points, the following is recommended:

Total Points

Recommended Course

Therefore, exempt from:

Math Student Group

Calculus I (Math 1101) - OR - Survey of Calculus (Math 1021) Required for biology, environmental science, geology, and management majors)

Math 1012 & 1013

MAT5

MAT4

Precalculus I: Functions (Math 1012; coreq for Chem 1101)

Math 1013

MAT2

MAT3

3

Precalculus II: Trig (Math 1013) - OR - Survey of Calculus (Math 1021)

Math 1012

MAT3

MAT4

1

Precalculus I: Functions (Math 1012; coreq for Chem 1101) - AND/OR - Precalculus II: Trig (Math 1013)

Math 1010

MAT2

MAT3

0

Elements of Algebra (Math 1010)

MAT1