Undergraduate: Placement

Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test

The UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test is required for all students with majors that require MAT 191 – Calculus I. The test is used to determine a student’s preparedness to enroll directly into Calculus I. The diagnostic test does not give a student credit for any course. Instead, it is used for advising purposes to ensure that a student begins their college career in the correct mathematics course.

New students in majors that require Calculus I must take the diagnostic test before meeting with advisors and creating a course schedule.

Any new student with a sufficiently strong mathematics background who wishes to enroll directly in MAT 191 – Calculus I must demonstrate their ability on the diagnostic test, have appropriate precalculus transfer credit, have a high enough score on an AP Calculus Exam, or meet one of the other placement criteria specified at UNCG Mathematics Placement Information.  Students that make a high enough score on the diagnostic test but not high enough to place directly into MAT 191 may still enroll in MAT 191 as long as they concurrently enroll in the support course MAT 181 – Foundations of Calculus I. Note that all MAT 191 students (even students who have met a prerequisite for MAT 191) are eligible to enroll in the corequisite course MAT 181 for additional support.

The diagnostic test is administered online in Canvas. Once enrolled in the Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test Canvas Organization, students will have access to learning modules complete with help videos and links to open source textbooks that align with the various diagnostic test topics. Students should use the learning modules to prepare for the diagnostic test.

Based on a student’s score on the diagnostic test, the student will either take Precalculus, Calculus I with support, or Calculus I. Students that score high enough to enroll directly in Calculus I can still take the support course for additional help if they wish. Students must take the official diagnostic test before they will be allowed to register for Precalculus — simply registering for the test is not sufficient. Students that earn a higher score on the diagnostic test can still choose to take Precalculus their first semester even if they place into Calculus I with or without support; however, such actions should be discussed with an academic advisor.

After a student takes the diagnostic test for the first time, they should spend quality time working through all of the relevant learning modules with the goal of mastering the material before taking the diagnostic test the second time. Even if a student plans to take MAT 190, they are still encouraged to work through the learning modules to better prepare for the course. MAT 190 is a fast-paced course that is meant to fill gaps in a student’s prerequisite knowledge and assumes students have already seen the material at least once. The course is meant to fill smaller gaps in a student’s background that may prevent them from being successful in MAT 191 – Calculus I. MAT 190 does not re-develop the Precalculus curriculum from scratch, but instead is a survey of various topics that is meant to help students engage with the prerequisite material at a deeper level before taking Calculus I.

Students should contact their advisor or send an email to math_placement_test@uncg.edu if they have any questions, have trouble registering for the test, or are experiencing other technical issues.

Students with disabilities should contact the Office of Accessibility Resources (OARS) for testing accommodations.

The Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test Canvas Organization has practice quizzes as well as learning modules to help students prepare for the diagnostic test.  The practice portion of the Canvas site has videos with worked examples, links to online precalculus textbook pages, long practice sets, and short practice quizzes for each topic on the diagnostic test.  There are seven main topics: algebra, geometry, solving equations and inequalities, functions and graphs, polynomial and rational functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, and trigonometry.  The main topics are further divided into over 35 subtopics to help students identify where they need the most help.

After watching the videos, consulting the online textbook, and working through the corresponding practice problems, students can take a quick quiz to test their retention of the studied material.  After mastering all of the individual skills, students can take a practice test that combines all of the skills.  Students can train with all of the practice resources as many times as needed.  If students need more help, they are encouraged to seek free tutoring either in-person or online through the UNCG Math Help Center.

While working in the Canvas organization, students can check their mastery of each subtopic in the Grades section.  The sub-scores can be used to identify where more practice is needed so that students are better prepared for their second and final attempt at the diagnostic test.

Q. Do I need to take the UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test?

The diagnostic test is required if your program of study requires MAT 190 – Precalculus or MAT 191 – Calculus I and you do not have a college-level mathematics credit (transfer, AP, or otherwise) for Precalculus or Calculus 1.

Q. Do I need to complete the UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test before orientation?

Yes. In order to help academic advisors assess your readiness for either MAT 190 – Precalculus or MAT 191 – Calculus I, we ask that you complete the diagnostic test at least once no later than 72 hours before attending SOAR.

Q. I took an AP Calculus Exam in high school. Do I need to take the UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test ?

Students that earn a high enough score on the AP Calculus Exam do not need to take the diagnostic test.  More information about AP scores and placement can be found at UNCG Mathematics Placement Information.

Transfer credit or AP exams can take a while to process. Students will not be able to register for MAT 191 – Calculus I until the university processes the scores. Students are encouraged to go ahead and take the diagnostic test for advising and to earn the ability to go ahead and register for courses.

Q. How long is my UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test score valid?

Each semester an updated Canvas site will be created.  The score is only valid for the semester stated.

Q. What should I do if I earn a low score on the practice test or on my first attempt at the UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test ?

A student that earns a low score on their first attempt at the diagnostic test needs to discuss their academic plan with an advisor.  A low score on the diagnostic test indicates that the student is not prepared for the entry-level course MAT 190 – Precalculus, and such a student needs to work extensively through the learning modules to prepare for the math courses required for their major.  See Preparing for the Diagnostic Test for more information about the learning modules.  In addition to the learning modules, free tutoring is available through the UNCG Math Help Center.

Q. Why am I not able to register for MAT 190 – Precalculus?

Every student who wishes to take MAT 190 – Precalculus must take the UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test at least once before being able to register for MAT 190.  Simply requesting access and logging into the Canvas site is not enough.

Q. Can I enroll in MAT 112, MAT 115, MAT 120, or STA 108 without taking the UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test?

Enrollment in MAT 112, MAT 115, or STA 108 does not require a diagnostic test.  Please consult with your advisor to discuss which course is the most appropriate for your major.  You may also gain additional advising information about these courses here.

Enrollment in MAT 120 requires a separate placement test if a prerequisite is not met.  More information about the MAT 120 Placement Test can be found at MAT 120 Placement Test.

Q. Which mathematics diagnostic test should I take?

There are two different math diagnostic/placement tests at UNCG.  The UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test linked on this page is for students in majors that require MAT 190 – Precalculus or MAT 191 – Calculus I.  The MAT 120 Placement Test is for students wishing to take MAT 120 – Business Calculus.  More information about the MAT 120 Placement Test can be found at MAT 120 Placement Test.

Students enrolling in MAT 112, MAT 115, or STA 108 do not need to take any diagnostic/placement test.

Q. What is the format and content of the UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test?

The diagnostic test is entirely multiple choice and is available online through Canvas. More information about the topics covered on the diagnostic test can be found at Preparing for the Diagnostic Test.

Q. Can I use a calculator on the UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test ?

No, the use of calculators is not allowed on the UNCG Calculus Readiness Diagnostic Test.

Q. I have other questions about the diagnostic tests.  Who can I contact?

If you have a question about which diagnostic/placement test to take, please consult with your academic advisor.  Otherwise, send an email to math_placement_test@uncg.edu.