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Math & Computer Science

Mathematics & Computer Science Department: For Current Students: Placement Information

Mathematics Placement Information

Social and Natural Science Majors
Most Social and Natural Science majors are required to take Statistics (MAT52-114) and/or Calculus I (MAT52-154). It is extremely important to consult with your advisor before choosing your mathematics course.

Non-Science Majors
We recommend that non-Science majors take Explorations in Mathematics (MAT52-104), Statistics (MAT52-114), Calculus I (MAT52-154) and/or Computer Science I (CSC54-184). Although Elementary Function Theory (MAT52-124) is an option, it is primarily a course designed for EC-6 and 4-8 certification education majors for which it is a requirement and also designed to prepare students with a weak background for Calculus I.

Calculus I or Elementary Function Theory?
Students who wish to take Calculus I (MAT52-154) must have acquired mastery of high school level pre-calculus. This includes high school algebra, trigonometry, and exponential and logarithmic functions. Students are now required to take and pass a pre-Calculus Assessment prior to their fourth day of Calculus I. Please see the instructions below.  It may be advisable for unprepared students to first take Elementary Function Theory before attempting to take Calculus I.

Calculus I or Calculus II?
Students who wish to take Calculus II (MAT52-254) must have a minimum of C- in Calculus I (MAT52-154) or equivalent. Transfer credit for Calculus I allows entry into Calculus II without consultation. For AP credit, see below.

Exam Placement
An AP score of 4 or 5 on the Calculus AB exam yields credit for Calculus I. An AP score of 4 or 5 on the Calculus BC exam yields credit for Calculus I and Calculus II. Those with AP scores of 3 should consult with a Calculus instructor to aid their placement.

Computer Science Placement Information

Exam Placement
The Computer Science A exam yields credit for Computer Science I; the B exam yields credit for both Computer Science I and II.

Non-Science Majors
Explorations in Computing is an appropriate course for non-majors. However, both Explorations in Computing and Computer Science I are appropriate for students with no previous programming experience. 

Instructions for pre-Calculus Assessment exam:

Southwestern has a new policy to improve student success by checking their level of preparedness for Calculus I: in order for you to stay enrolled in Calculus I after the 4th day of classes, you must pass a Pre-Calculus assessment exam. We recommend that you take this exam well before the semester begins, so you’ll have time to review any needed material before the beginning of classes.

Here are the instructions for taking the exam in Moodle:

  1. Login to your Moodle account
  2. In another tab in the same browser window, navigate to the following link” https://lms.southwestern.edu/course/view.php?id=5401

You will be asked if you would like to enroll in this course; click Yes.  The Pre-Calculus Assessment Moodle “course” will then appear as an option under “My Courses” whenever you login to Moodle (it will be under “Course Resources” - you may need to click the “+” to expand the selection to see it).

The Pre-Calculus Assessment Moodle site has a number of resources:

  • A Practice Quiz with four questions, similar to the questions on the Pre-Calculus Assessment Exam.
  • The Pre-Calculus Assessment Exam itself, which consists of three sections: algebra, trigonometry, and logarithms/exponents, with 10 questions each. You only have one chance to take the full exam. If you do not pass all sections of the Exam, you will receive an email with links to an additional on-line exam in each of the sections you did not pass.  
  • The Moodle site also has links to videos and worksheets in each of the areas of algebra, trigonometry, and logarithms/exponents.  You are welcome to review these materials before or after you take the Pre-Calculus Assessment Exam.  If you do not pass any section of the Pre-Calculus Assessment Exam, you will need to study these online videos and complete the worksheets to fill in the gaps of your Pre-Calculus background. 

When you arrive on campus at the beginning of the semester, you’ll have one more chance to pass a written post-test on any of the three areas you did not pass in the online exams. If you do not pass all sections of this post-test with a grade of 70% or better by the 4th day of classes, you will be dropped from Calculus I and will not be able to take Calculus I at Southwestern until the next Spring, at the earliest. 

Please consider taking the online exam as soon as possible, so that if you do not pass, you have time to review the online Pre-Calculus materials if needed.