Santa Clara University

New Student Orientation

Calculus Readiness Exam

Purpose of the Exam

The purpose of the Calculus Readiness Exam is to let you know if you have the mathematical knowledge that is a prerequisite for studying calculus at SCU. Some majors require one of the calculus courses, either Math 11 or Math 30. Majors in the Physical Sciences and Engineering take Math 11 (Calculus and Analytic Geometry I) while Business majors (with a few exceptions) take Math 30 (Calculus for Business I). Both courses are traditional calculus courses and require that students have a solid background of high-school mathematics.

Who Should Take the Exam?

Students considering a major or minor in the following areas are required to take either Math 11 (Calculus and Analytic Geometry I) or Math 30 (Calculus for Business I), and should take the Calculus Readiness Exam:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Business (all majors and minors)
  • Chemistry
  • Computer Science
  • Economics (in Arts and Sciences)
  • Engineering (all majors and minors)
  • Environmental Studies
  • Mathematics
  • Physics and Engineering Physics
  • Psychology (emphasis in Psychobiology)
  • Public Health Science

To enroll in Math 11 or Math 30 you must have taken the online Calculus Readiness Exam. There is no minimum pass score.

IMPORTANT: You do not need to take the Calculus Readiness Exam if you have received Advanced Placement credit for calculus (i.e. you have earned a score of 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam or a score of 3, 4, or 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam), as you will earn credit for Math 11 and Math 30 and do no need to enroll in these courses at SCU.

Content of the Exam

The exam tests the mathematics required for studying calculus. It is a 50-minute test covering high school algebra and consists of multiple-choice questions. For those taking the Math 11 form of the exam, there are a few questions on trigonometry. On the basis of your exam score and in consultation with your academic advisor, you will decide whether to take calculus (Math 11 or Math 30) or pre-calculus (Math 9), which is a review of algebra with some trigonometry. Students who do poorly on the exam are strongly encouraged to enroll in Math 9 before attempting Math 11 or Math 30.

If you have decided on a major and/or minor not listed above, you will work with an academic advisor during Orientation to determine the appropriate mathematics course for your program of study. However, if you think you might like to take Math 11 or Math 30 to meet your university core requirement, you should take the Calculus Readiness Exam.

Timing of the Exam

The exam is intended to last 50 minutes. You should only take it when you will have 50 minutes for uninterrupted work. Students who need significantly more than 50 minutes for the exam may have difficulty in calculus courses in understanding the mathematics developed during class and in the text.

Printing your Exam Score

When you have completed the exam or when 50 minutes have elapsed you should click on the SCORE button (you can only do this once). A Calculus Readiness Exam Results page will appear on your screen containing your score, the elapsed time of the exam, and recommendations for which mathematics course is appropriate for you. Please print out this Results page and bring it with you to your Orientation session.

How Do I Take the Exam?

You should take the Calculus Readiness Exam before attending your Orientation session. Log in to your Santa Clara University eCampus account to take the exam. Instructions for taking the exam are included online.

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