Calculus Placement Exam

Calculus Placement Exam information

Calculus placement procedures

To help place students in the most appropriate introductory calculus course, the Department of Mathematics requires each student planning to take Business Calculus or Calculus I to take a calculus placement test. Introductory calculus includes: Math 220, Calculus for Business and Management; Math 223, Intro to Calculus/Math 224, Differential Calculus; or Math 224, Differential Calculus/Math 225, Integral Calculus. Some students take it because it is required for their major in the sciences, or required for medical school or other health-related graduate program. Many more take calculus because they are interested in the subject for its own sake, and because they wish to develop their analytical skills. Although some students take it because it is one way to fulfill the SUNY requirement for a mathematical reasoning course, students can also take other math courses to fulfill the mathematical reasoning course that do not require a placement test (see FAQ below).

Calculus for Business, MATH 220, is a four-credit full semester course. This is appropriate for School of Management and economics BA majors.

Calculus I, MATH 223, 224 and 225 are two-credit courses offered as half-semester sequences every semester. The Calculus I sequence is made up of MATH 224 and MATH 225. The start of a student’s calculus sequence will depend on their score for the calculus placement exam. For example, if a student scores high enough to get placed into MATH 224, then they will take MATH 224 for the first half of the semester and then take MATH 225 in the second half of the semester.

Calculus is a challenging course — at Binghamton and most universities. Even if you took calculus in high school, you are likely to find introductory calculus a challenging course. A calculus placement exam will be available for you to take online beginning May 20. You will be able to find more information regarding this exam in late April. After taking the exam it might be recommended that you take one of the free preparatory workshops being offered this summer. The workshops will take place in July and August, but you can sign up for them after taking the Calculus placement exam. 

The Online Calculus Placement Self-evaluation (“Practice Test”)

To provide students an opportunity to become familiar with the format of the evaluation, the math department has created an online calculus placement self-evaluation. We encourage you to take this “practice test” prior to taking the calculus placement test. In order for this evaluation to be helpful in your math placement, you should try to make your practice session as realistic as possible. As a result, we recommend the following:

  1. Complete the self-evaluation in one seating. You will have one hour before the computer ends the session.
  2. Do not consult any notes or textbooks, as you will not be able to use these during the actual diagnostic.
  3. Do not use a calculator. You will not be able to use a calculator during the actual placement evaluation.
  4. Make sure you have scratch paper and a pencil available when taking the self-evaluation.

The self-evaluation that you take at home is not a formal placement test, and your score does not go on your academic record. You will receive a score at the end, however, and that will help you find the right mathematics course for you. We strongly recommend that you make note of your score and have it with you during your Academic Advising and course registration appointment.

Do I need to take the placement test?

If you wish to enroll in Math 220, Math 223/224 or Math 224/225, you will need to take the calculus placement test. The Department of Mathematics requires this placement test in order to ensure that you are properly prepared for this challenging course. You must complete this test in a supervised setting in order to enroll in these courses. The self-evaluation that you take on your own will not count as the placement test.

If your self-evaluation or placement test score indicates that you are not prepared for introductory calculus, but you wish to take calculus in the future, then you should enroll in Math 108 (Pre-Calculus). Years of experience have demonstrated that students with low scores on the placement test will perform poorly in Math 220 and Math 224/225. That is why the department recommends Math 108 for these students.

Use this form to evaluate if you need to take the calculus placement exam.

What if I don’t get a passing score the first time I take the exam, but I would like to take MATH 220, Math 223/224 or MATH 224/225 this fall?

Students who believe that their placement test score does not accurately reflect their skills may retake the exam before the start of classes. The placement test will be offered several times just before the start of classes in the fall, and during the first week of classes. The placement test schedule is available online. Students must wait at least one day before taking the placement test for a second time.

What if I don’t want to take calculus?

If you do not wish to take calculus, then you should consider one of the other mathematics or mathematical reasoning courses offered at Binghamton University. Other Harpur College courses that fulfill the university’s General Education requirement in mathematical reasoning (the “M requirement”) include Math 130 (Math in Action); Math 147; Philosophy 121 (Methods of Reasoning); Philosophy 122 (Elementary Logic); and Psychology 243 (Statistical Analysis and Design).

For further information about the calculus and pre-calculus courses, please visit the Math Department’s calculus web page.