Math Placement

The College of Arts and Sciences provides students of the University of San Diego the opportunity to satisfy their math general education requirement by examination.

Current students are required to take the math placement exam in the computer lab in Serra 205. When you arrive, ask the lab assistant for a password. See Lab Hours and more information at Math Placement Exams.

Before you take your first mathematics course at USD, you will be given a Mathematics Placement Exam to place you in the correct course. Below is an explanation of our mathematics requirement and placement exams.

 

USD Math Requirements

USD's requirement that all graduating students demonstrate basic mathematical competence may be fulfilled by passing Investigations in Modern Mathematics (Math 112), College Algebra (Math 115), or a more advanced course such as Calculus (Math 130 or 150). A student may also fulfill the requirement by passing a competency exam (not to be confused with the placement exams). The vast majority of our students satisfy the requirement by taking one of the above courses.

We use placement exams, in conjunction with the previous academic record, to place students in the appropriate course. You will need to choose whether to take the Level 1 or Level 2 placement exam. This choice will be based on the level of mathematics course which seems appropriate for your start. (If you guess wrong don't worry—we'll just retest you).

 

Do I need to take the Placement Exam to place into Math 115, Math 130, Math 150 or Math 151?

Not necessarily. Your math score on your SAT or ACT exam, or your score on an AP Calculus Exam (if any), may allow you to enroll into a class without taking the placement exam. Review the 2 grids below to see how we will determine which SAT or ACT exam scores to use for placement.

 

For students who enroll or transfer to USD starting Fall 2018 or later:

Scores: Level of Math Qualified for (Lower levels may be taken):
3, 4, or 5 on AP Calculus BC Exam

Calculus III (Math 250) (Course credit will be given for Math 150 & Math 151)

3, 4, or 5 on AP Calculus AB Exam

Calculus II (Math 151) (Course credit will be given for Math 150) 

Math SAT score ≥ 630 or Math ACT score ≥ 27

Calculus I (Math 150)

Math SAT score ≥ 590 or Math ACT score ≥ 25

Survey of Calculus (Math 130)

Math SAT score ≥ 560 or Math ACT score ≥ 23

College Algebra (Math 115) or Investigations in Modern Mathematics (Math 112)

Math SAT score < 560 and Math ACT score < 23

Intermediate Algebra (Math 90)

 

For students who enroll or transfer to USD prior to Fall 2018:

Scores: Level of Math Qualified for (Lower levels may be taken):
3, 4, or 5 on AP Calculus BC Exam

Calculus III (Math 250) (Course credit will be given for Math 150 & Math 151)

3, 4, or 5 on AP Calculus AB Exam

Calculus II (Math 151) (Course credit will be given for Math 150) 

Math SAT score ≥ 600 or Math ACT score ≥ 26

Calculus I (Math 150)

Math SAT score ≥ 570 or Math ACT score ≥ 25

Survey of Calculus (Math 130)

Math SAT score ≥ 530 or Math ACT score ≥ 22

College Algebra (Math 115) or Investigations in Modern Mathematics (Math 112)

Math SAT score < 530 and Math ACT score < 22

Intermediate Algebra (Math 90)



How to Decide Which Placement Exam to Take

Level 1 Exam

If you would like to start with Investigations in Modern Mathematics (Math 112) or College Algebra (Math 115), you will need to pass the Level 1 Placement Exam. The Level 1 exam covers the material in an intermediate algebra course (usually the second year of high school algebra). The exam takes approximately 45 minutes.

If you do not do well enough on the exam to place into Math 112 or Math 115, we offer Intermediate Algebra (Math 90) as a review course, or you could take a similar course at a community college and then retake the placement exam. To take Math 112 or Math 115 at USD you must either pass the Level 1 Placement Exam or pass Math 90 at USD with a C- or better. We do not accept any kind of transfer credit at the Math 90 Level.

Level 2 Exam

If you feel that you are ready to start with Survey of Calculus (Math130) or Calculus I (Math 150), take the Level 2 exam. This exam covers the material normally found in a precalculus course. The Level 2 exam takes approximately 60 minutes.

Students taking this exam will be given two different results: preparation for Math 150 based on the entire exam, and preparation for Math 130 for which the trigonometry questions are not counted. If you do not do well enough on the exam to place into Math 130 or Math 150, you should take the Level 1 Placement Exam to see if you are prepared to take College Algebra (Math 115) as a review course before you take Calculus.


Exam Preparation

Level 1 Exam Preparation

We have Sample Level 1 exam questions online so that you can know what types of questions to expect for this exam. In addition, useful online mathematics review materials can be found below:

Level 2 Exam Preparation

We have Sample Level 2 exam questions online so that you can know what types of questions to expect for this exam. In addition, useful online mathematics review materials can be found below:

Log In / Take the Placement Exam