Information for Entering UGA Students—Mathematics Preparation
High school students should be aware that "College" Algebra (essentially high school Algebra II) is not taught at the University of Georgia. If you think you may major in Engineering, Science, or any major that requires Calculus, you will need to be prepared to take at least Precalculus (MATH 1113) when you arrive at UGA. If you wish to take a mathematics course above the level of Precalculus you will need to satisfy a prerequisite either through Placement, Exemption, or transfer credit.
Placement and Exemption
Unless you already know that you have AP or transfer credit for Precalculus or above you should either take the ALEKS Placement Exam or the Mathematics Exemption Test (or both) before or during your Freshman Orientation. Scores on these exams will help your advisor place you into the appropriate level course. You will want to do your best on your placement or exemption test to avoid being placed in a lower-level course that might delay completion of your degree. (For instance, some students who have already had Calculus end up re-taking Precalculus because they have forgotten much of what they knew!) So it is strongly recommended that you keep your skills sharpened by taking a Mathematics course in your senior year of high school, even if you have already completed the Math requirements for graduation.
ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning (PPL)
ALEKS PPL allows you to take the placement test on your own computer at home. It is a powerful artificial-intelligence based assessment tool that zeros in on the strengths and weaknesses of a student’s mathematical knowledge, reports its findings to the student, and then provides the student with a learning environment for improving this knowledge to an appropriate level for course placement.
The ALEKS program allows you up to 5 attempts on the placement exam. After your first assessment, ALEKS's adaptive learning system will determine your strengths and weaknesses and provide you learning modules to strengthen your skills before the next assessment.
Scores from this test will help you to determine if you are ready to take Precalculus or Calculus. Although this test does not exempt precalculus from your core requirements, the successful completion of calculus will do so. A score of 76 or higher will override the prerequisite for Calculus. To learn more about ALEKS PPL and to log in, click here.
Note for advisors: ALEKS scores are automatically downloaded to Banner. The math department enters overrides to allow students with ALEKS placement to enroll in Calculus (contact Julie McEver if you have a score of 76 or higher and have problems enrolling in a calculus section).
UGA Mathematics Exemption Test
Scores from this exam are used to exempt either MATH 1101 or MATH 1113. Students who plan to major in a subject that does not require calculus may want to take this exam to try to exempt their Core AREA 1a requirement. Exemption of MATH 1113 also satisfies the prerequisite for Calculus. You should be aware that you cannot exempt the course via this exam if you have already enrolled in MATH 1101 or MATH 1113 at any institution. (In particular, you cannot withdraw from the course and then take the exam.)
You can schedule your pre-orientation exemption exam(s) with University Testing Services (UTS) any time prior to the first day of your orientation session at UTS or take your placement exam(s) during or after orientation.
The Mathematics Exemption Test consist of 26 multiple choice questions. Students scoring between 12 and 15 exempt MATH 1101 (Mathematical Modeling) and may enroll in MATH 1113 (Precalculus). Students with scores of 16 or higher exempt MATH 1113 and may begin their University studies with MATH 2250 (Calculus I for Science and Engineering) or MATH 2200 (Differential Calculus). No credit is given for exempted courses, but exemption of MATH 1113 or MATH 1101 may satisfy Core and/or Degree requirements. Students who score below 12 should (depending on the score) take either MATH 1101, an intensive section of MATH 1113, or consider the Division of Academic Enhancement. Please consult your advisor for more information. (Note that Mathematical Modeling (MATH 1101) does not prepare students for the Calculus stream, although it does satisfy the Mathematical Skills component of the Regents' Core Requirements for non-science majors.)
WARNING: Calculators are not permitted on the Mathematics Exemption Test. On the one hand, this means that you won't encounter any numerical computations that are too complicated. On the other hand, you will be expected to do simple computations (such as adding two fractions) in your head or on paper.
To give you an idea of what to expect on the Mathematics Exemption Test, and to help you prepare for it, here is a list of topics covered on the test. We also recommend the ALEKS PPL as a good way to study for the Mathematics Exemption Test,
Differences between ALEKS PPL and the Mathematics Exemption Test
- You can only take the Mathematics Exemption Test ONE TIME and it must be taken at a proctored testing site while ALEKS PPL gives you up to 5 tries and is administered through the web.
- ALEKS PPL provides learning modules to help you practice your basic math skills.
- The Mathematics Exemption Test can exempt Core requirements while ALEKS PPL does not. However, if you place into Calculus and successfully complete that course, we will then exempt your Core Area Ia requirement.
Although there is a related cost, we recommend using both tools. Start with ALEKS to hone your math skills, then take the exemption test to lock in that Area I requirement whether or not you plan to take Calculus.
Other Placement- AP
Students scoring 3 or higher on the AB exam, will exempt the precalculus course (MATH 1113) without credit. We generally advise students scoring 3 on the AB exam to begin their UGA studies with a differential calculus course (MATH 2200, MATH 2250, or MATH 2400(H)). Students who are waiting for the AP scores can choose to take ALEKS PPL or the exemption test in case their score is below a 3. A score of 4 or 5 on the AB exam will earn 4 semester hours of credit for MATH 2250 and may enroll in MATH 2260.
The AP program also administers a BC exam, which covers both differential and integral calculus, and infinite series. A score of 3 on this test will earn 4 semester hours of credit for MATH 2250. A score of 4 or 5 on this test entitles students to credit for both MATH 2250 and 2260.
Options for Students Needing Remedial Help
For students who are not ready to take the regular Precalculus course, but who need to take Calculus for their major, there are a number of options.
Each term, MATH 1113 is also offered in an intensive format, with extra lectures each week. Some of the extra time in these sections is spent reviewing the following topics: real numbers and interval notation, definition of and working with absolute value, order of operations and laws of exponents, operations involving exponents: radicals and fractional exponents, definition of polynomials, factoring polynomials, solving linear, quadratic, and rational equations.
Most of these concepts are introduced as needed within the context of the content studied in the individual units of the precalculus course.
If your ALEKS score is below 60 or your Departmental Exemption score is below 12, you should discuss this option with your advisor. The full course syllabus for MATH 1113 can be found here.
You may register for an elective-credit course through the Division of Academic Enhancement. UNIV 1110 provides a slightly more detailed review of algebra than the intensive precalculus course; it also treats some topics in trigonometry. Visit the Division of Academic Enhancement web page for further information.