Math Placement and Skills Assessment

SLU-Madrid’s Department of Mathematics is committed to helping you achieve your educational goals. We administer math placement tests at the beginning of each semester to set you up for success by ensuring you enroll in math courses of a suitable level.

Math Placement and Skills Assessment

 

Depending on your major or academic program, you may need only one mathematics course at the university level. Our placement test helps identify if you need prerequisite work to succeed in this course.

If you are in a math intensive program, such as a science and engineering program, you will need to take several mathematics courses. As the knowledge you gain across these courses is cumulative, it is essential you do well from the start.

While ambition is applauded, it’s strongly advised that students be conservative and follow the advice of the Department of Mathematics when it comes to placement. This may mean students will take a course that reviews materials they may have studied in high school in order to build a strong foundation for success.

According to their performance on our placement test, business majors may need to enroll in MATH 0260: Intermediate Algebra, while science and engineering majors may take MATH 1400: Pre-Calculus.

Science and engineering majors should have already taken four or more units of mathematics during high school including algebra I and II, geometry and a course such as pre-calculus (or another mathematics course with a focus on trigonometry. Algebra II with trigonometry is not sufficient).

Business majors must complete MATH 1320: Survey of Calculus by the end of the sophomore year.

Mathematics Courses

Remedial Courses

These courses prepare students to take other courses specified by their degree requirements.

  • MATH 0260: Intermediate Algebra. This course covers the basic foundations of math.
Intermediate Courses
  • MATH 1200: College Algebra. This course prepares students for more math courses. It includes the same material as standard Algebra II or Algebra II/Trigonometry in U.S. high schools.
  • MATH 1400: Pre-Calculus. A basic course in trigonometry, it is equivalent to a yearlong high-school course in analysis or pre-calculus.
Main Line Courses

These courses are designed to cover specific content required by a programs and departments.

  • MATH 1320: Survey of Calculus. This course is required for all bachelor of arts students as well as aviation science students.
  • MATH 1660: Discrete Mathematics. This course covers discrete mathematics used in computer science, sets, sequences, strings, symbolic logic, proofs, mathematical induction, sums and products, number systems, algorithms, complexity, graph theory, and finite state machines.
  • MATH 1510: Calculus I

Placement Tests

There are three possible placement tests students can take:

  • Test A assesses radicals, exponents, first-degree equations, systems of equations, absolute values, inequalities and graphs of lines.
  • Test B assesses polynomial equations and their graphs, rational, exponential and logarithmic functions, and inverse functions.
  • Test C assesses trigonometric functions.

The placement test you take can depend on the course you are enrolled in:

  • Students registered in MATH 1200: College Algebra should take Test A
  • Students registered in MATH 1400: Pre-Calculus should take Test A and B
  • Students registered in MATH 1320: Survey of Calculus should take Test A and B
  • Students registered in MATH 1510: Calculus I should take Test A, B and C

Math for Engineering and Natural Science Majors

Even if math is not your main career path, as an engineer or a science major it is useful to develop a solid mathematical background. Mathematics develops analytical skills and the ability to work in a problem solving environment. Employers value these skills.

As an example, a number of U.S. Government agencies – such as the Air Force and the Navy, the National Security Agency or National Laboratories – hire graduates with a strong preparation in mathematics.

Engineering and Science Mathematics Course Path

  • MATH 1200: College Algebra (You may be able to skip this course and take MATH 1400)
  • MATH 1400: Pre-Calculus (You may be able to skip this course and take MATH 1510)
  • MATH 1510: Calculus I (Placement required)
  • MATH 1520: Calculus II
  • MATH 2530: Calculus III (depending on your major)
  • Upper division courses (depending on your major)

We strongly recommend following the sequence of math courses in a continuous way. Our experience shows that when this sequence is somehow disrupted, academic results fall significantly.

Math for Business and Social Science Majors

Even if math is not your main career path, as a business and social sciences major, it’s useful to develop a solid mathematical background. Mathematics develops analytical and problem-solving skills that are highly valued by employers.

Business and Social Sciences Mathematic Course Path

The following courses are recommended for those not pursuing a math minor:

  • MATH 1200: College Algebra (Placement required. You might be able to skip this course and take MATH 1320 or be moved to MATH 0260: Intermediate Algebra if the placement advises so)
  • MATH 1320: Survey of Calculus (Placement required)

If further science or mathematics credits are needed:

  • MATH 1220: Finite Mathematics
  • MATH 1250: Math Thinking in the Real World

For those pursuing a math minor:

  • MATH 1400: Pre-Calculus (You might be able to skip this course and take MATH 1510)
  • MATH 1510: Calculus I (Placement required) This would replace MATH 1320 Survey of Calculus above.
  • Further upper courses

We strongly recommend following the sequence of math courses in a continuous way. Our experience shows that when this sequence is somehow disrupted, academic results fall significantly.

Math for Humanities and Arts Majors

If science or mathematics credits are needed, we strongly recommend courses with less algebra and technical content, such as MATH 1220: Finite Mathematics and MATH 1250: Math Thinking in the Real World. Each course is offered a different semester, so be sure to check the course schedule.