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Undergraduate Program

Mathematics Placement

A combination of SAT and ACT scores and high school records are used to place students in the appropriate mathematics course. Incoming first years should receive an email in early July at their Rochester email account with their math placement and related information. If you did not receive this email (and have double checked your junk folder) or have any other questions, email a Math Department representative at mathdugs@lists.rochester.edu

 

FAQs

Question: I took the AP math exam (or similar) and earned a high score, but my math placement says MTH 141 or 161 or 171. How do I get my advanced credit? Do I need to take a placement exam or something?

Answer: If you have advanced credit (AP, A-level, O-level, IB-HL, transfer credit), then you should completely ignore the math placement that was emailed to you. Go to the advanced credit section at the bottom of this page.

 

Question: My math placement said Math 141, but I would like to take Math 161. Is this possible? Can I ignore my Math 141 placement? I do not have advanced credit (AP credit or similar).

Answer: Since you do not have advanced credit and were placed in Math 141, then you must take either Math 140 or 141 unless you pass the Math 161 placement exam. See the placement exam section below for more info.

 

Question: My math placement said Math 140, but would like to take Math 141 or 161. Is this possible? Can I ignore my Math 140 placement? I do not have advanced credit (AP credit or similar).

Answer: Since you do not have advanced credit and were placed in Math 140, then you must take Math 140 unless you pass the Math 141 or 161 placement exam to gain entry. See the placement exam section below for more info.

 

Question: I would like to take Math 171, honors calculus but I was placed in Math 141. Do I need to take a placement exam?

Answer: No. Anyone intested in taking Math 171 can take it, regardless of your math placement. However, you should discuss your situation with a math advisor to make sure this is the best course for you. Email mathdugs@lists.rochester.edu to explain your background and discuss taking the honors calculus sequence.

 

Question: I am intersted in honors calculus but I have taken calculus before. Does it make sense for me to start in Math 171? What if I have AP credit?

Answer: Although it is not a prerequisite, almost all students in Math 171 have experience with calculus and many have AP credit. Honors calculus focuses on finer details and delves into mathematical proofs, so it is quite different than traditional calculus that you see on the AP exam. If you enjoy mathematics then it makes sense to give Math 171 a try. You can always change to a different course in the first couple weeks of the semester if you don't want to stick with it.

 

Question: I have two semesters of AP calculus credits and would like to start in Math 173. Is this allowed?

Answer: With two semesters of AP calculus credits, it is possible to start in Math 173. However, extensive experience with proof-writing is a prerequisite for Math 173, so if you do not have experience with proofs then you should start in Math 171 or 164 or 165. Email mathdugs@lists.rochester.edu to explain your background and discuss starting in MTH 173.

 

Question: I have taken calculus before but my school did not have AP so I do not have credits. Is there any way I can skip calculus I?

Answer: It may be possible to test out of calculus by taking credit-by-exam, but first you need to dicuss your situation with a math advisor to determine if this is appropriate. Email mathdugs@lists.rochester.edu to explain your background and ask about credit-by-exam.

 

Question: I was placed in Math 141 but I did not take precalculus in high school and I have not taken a course since my junior year. Is it okay to take Math 141?

Answer: Probably not. Precalculus is a prerequisite for Math 141, so if you have not taken precalculus then you should start in Math 140.

 

Question: Do I need to take math in my first semester?

Answer: It depends. If you want to keep open the possibility of a math-heavy major like Engineering, physics, or mathematics, then you should definitely take a math course in your first semester. Otherwise, you may not need to take math right away. Discuss this with your advisor or don't hesitate to email a math dept. representative at mathdugs@lists.rochester.edu.

 

Question: I scored a 4 on the BC exam and I see in the chart at the bottom of this page that I can get credit for both Math 161 and 162. Do I need a signature or something else to get this credit or is it automatic?

Answer: As long as your AP scores were sent to UR, then you will get your AP credit automatically. It can take a while for it to show up in your record, but if you have any concerns in this regard you should contact CCAS (UR central advising).

 

Question: I have a question that wasn't answered above. 

Answer: Please see the Math Department advising page or email mathdugs@lists.rochester.edu.

 

Placement Exam

For those students who are placed into MTH 141 but are interested in taking MTH 161 or are placed into MTH 140 but are interested in taking MTH 141, there will be placement exams offered at two times:

  • Friday, August 28, 8:00-9:15AM (Eastern Time)
  • Friday, August 28, 9:00-10:15PM (Eastern Time)

The exam will be conducted fully online. Email mathdugs@lists.rochester.edu if you are interested in taking the placement exam but have not yet signed up.

There will be two exams offered at those times -- one for placement into 141 and one for placement into 161.

The exams cover standard pre-calculus material. NO calculators, books, notes, or electronic devices of any kind are allowed at either exam. Consult this STUDY GUIDE for information about the topics covered by the exams. The 2015 exam is linked HERE. The first year that an exam has been designed specifically for placement into 141 was 2018; the linked exam was used for both 141 and 161.

The placement exam is only for students placed into MTH 140 or 141 that would like to take a higher course. Students satisfied with their placement should not take the exam. In case of a discrepancy or question, don't hesitate to email a math dept. representative at mathdugs@lists.rochester.edu.

 

Advanced Credit

For students with advanced credit (AP, IB, A-level, or transfer course), advanced credit rules take precedence according to the guidelines below. Students whose AP credit was not reflected in your emailed math placement should register for the course given by the chart below; no special math department approval is needed.

  • Regarding credit for Cambridge A-level examinations or a calculus course at another college, students must get a signed course approval from a mathematics dept. representative by filling out the top of the course approval form here and emailing it to mathdugs@lists.rochester.edu. For A-level approval please include a copy of your A-level transcript and for a transfer course include the syllabus for the course you took.
  • Students that scored a 4 or better on the International Baccalaureate higher-level (IB-HL) mathematics exam are placed into MTH 162 and awarded credit for MTH 161 after completion of MTH 162 with a grade of C or better. Students can also opt for MTH 171, although no advanced credit is awarded with this option.
  • We encourage students with a MTH 141 placement who took the International Baccalaureate standard-level (IB-SL) mathematics exam to take the placement exam.

AP Credit

AP credit is given as follows:

AP CoursePlacementCredit
AB 3MTH 161No credit.
AB 4-5MTH 162 or 171One semester of credit
BC 3MTH 162 or MTH 171One semester of credit
BC 4-5MTH 164, MTH 165, MTH 171, or, in exceptional cases, in MTH 173Two semesters of credit if placed in MTH 164, 165 or 173. One semester of credit if MTH 171 completed.

Students who receive AP credit for MTH 161 may register for MTH 162 or MTH 171. MTH 171 is particularly recommended for students interested in mathematics, physics, or theoretical engineering who would like to gain a deeper knowledge of how and why calculus works so effectively.

Information on the different calculus sequences can be found HERE.

Questions regarding placement can be directed to a mathematics depart-
ment representatives by emailing mathdugs@lists.rochester.edu.