Preparation for Albion College
High School Preparation
A solid mathematics background is suggested for students interested in Mathematics and Computer Science.
We recommend you to complete at least precalculus in high school. We encourage you to complete as much
mathematics and computer science in high school as possible.
A few students also enter Albion with credit from their local community college or university. Regardless of your background, we will work with you to ensure your placement in the most appropriate mathematics and computer science courses.
Our department strives to place each entering student into the most appropriate
mathematics and computer science courses as possible. As an incoming
student, you are no doubt aware that it can be difficult to decide on the right
courses to take your first year.
Incoming Albion College students participate in Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR).
During SOAR, students learn about the academic expectations of our students, take a placement exams,
and register for their first semester courses.
participate in math placement on the first day of SOAR.
The math placement
process is designed to help you as a student to make good decisions about
planning your academic career at Albion. In order to help you as much as
possible, we like to have information in at least three areas: your
interests, your background, and your score on the placement test.
Faculty from the
Department of Mathematics and Computer Science will administer, score the exams, and make
placement recommendations based on the combination of this score and the
answers provided on the questionnaire. Students will have the opportunity
to discuss these recommendations with faculty prior to registration on the
morning of the second day of SOAR.
Because of the natural building of concepts and skills in our courses, it is important that you enroll in the
correct course for you based on your preparation and intended major.
You may feel that you want to take
courses that are challenging, but you dont want to be overwhelmed. You
want to set yourself up for success, but you dont want to be bored by
reviewing material you already know.
A placement into a class indicates we believe you have sufficient academic preparation for success in that class.
Many students often have a misconception that they need to take a math course at Albion.
Just because they have a particular math placement does not mean they are required to take that course,
only that the particular course is their best first course at Albion.
Department administers three different types of exams; you will be advised
as to which exam you need to complete when you arrive at math placement.
The exams are short (approximately 30 minutes). Calculators are not allowed on any math placement exam.
You can use either your pen or pencil to complete the test.
Please let us know if you have any special needs before taking the test.
Placement exam is designed for students who have completed at least one
semester of calculus prior to starting at Albion. This exam covers
concepts typically learned in the first semester of calculus, including (but
not limited to) derivative rules, limit, tangent lines, slope,
increasing/decreasing/constant, extreme values, rate of change, concavity,
numerical techniques of integration, the definite integral. In order to
pinpoint the correct course placement for each individual, additional questions
concerning convergence or divergence of infinite series, Taylor's Theorem, and
other more advanced topics may be posed. Based on the results of this
exam and the information provided in the questionnaire, students will typically
be placed into one of the Single Variable Calculus courses (Math 141 or 143).
Advanced students may be placed into Multivariate Calculus (Math 245) or other
Students who have
completed four or more years of college-preparatory mathematics, including
analytic geometry and trigonometry, but not including calculus, will be
directed to take our Calculus Readiness exam. This exam does not cover
calculus, but it does cover concepts typically learned in courses leading up to
and including precalculus. Students should be prepared to be tested on
various topics from algebra, trigonometry and analytic geometry. Such
topics will include (but not be limited to) recognizing and working with graphs
of various function types (linear, quadratic, exponential, logarithmic,
trigonometric), solving equations and inequalities, solving systems of
equations, working with rational and negative exponents, rules of logs,
factoring, domain and range, function composition, working with rational
expressions. Based on the results of this exam and the information
provided in the questionnaire, students will typically be placed into Functions
(Math 125) or Calculus of a Single Variable (Math 141).
Students who will
graduate from high school having completed fewer than four years of
college-prep math will be directed to take our Functions Readiness exam.
This exam is designed primarily as a test of algebra skills. Topics
covered include (but will not be limited to) order of operations, working with
positive and negative real numbers including fractions, recognizing and working
with graphs of lines, solving equations and inequalities, solving systems of
equations, factoring, working with positive and negative exponents, simplifying
and evaluating expressions, working with radicals, working with rational
Based on the results of
this exam and the information provided in the questionnaire, students will
typically be placed into Functions (Math 125), Introduction to Statistical
Methods (Math 109), or Finite Mathematics (Math 119).
Students interested in enrolling in a first course other than the course
indicated by their placement score must obtain permission from the
Advanced Placement (AP) Exam Policy
The College Board (the people who administer the AP program)
and the Albion College Department of
Mathematics and Computer Science strongly advises that students who
take computer science and calculus in high school do so with the expectation that they will
go on to higher-level courses once in college. While your high
school career may have been directed toward an AP course as
the pinnacle of achievement, however it is just the beginning of your intellectual life.
Once you have mastered these introductory courses, you are then ready to explore a variety
of upper-level courses. This is an exciting process that
should not be delayed by spending a second year studying material you already know!
Calculus BC exam
With a score of 4 or 5 on the Calculus
BC exam, we grant one unit of credit for Math 141 (Calculus I).
You may then obtain a second unit of credit for Math 143 (Calculus II) if you complete Math 247 (Differential Equations) or
Math 245 (Multivariate Calculus) with a grade of 3.0 or better.
With a score of 3, you may retroactively receive one unit of credit for Math
141 if you complete Math 143 with a 3.0 or better, and 2 units of credit
(for Math 141 and 143) if you complete Math 247 or Math 245 with a 3.0
or better. For scores of 1, 2, or 3, we will consider your AB subscore for
Math 141 credit (see below).
Calculus AB exam or AB subscores from the Calculus BC exam
For scores of 4 or 5 on the Calculus
AB exam, we grant credit for Math 141 and encourage you to
enroll directly in Math 143. For a score of 3, we will retroactively
grant you credit for Math 141 if you enroll in Math 143, Math 247,
or Math 245 and complete that course with a grade of 3.0 or better.
Computer Science A exam
For scores of 4 or 5 on the Computer
Science A exam,
we will grant one unit of credit for CS 171 (Computer Science I) and
encourage you to enroll in CS 173 (Computer Science II).
Computer Science AB exam
For scores of 4 or 5 on the Computer
Science AB exam, we will grant one unit of credit for CS 171 (Computer Science I)
and one unit of credit for CS 173 (Computer Science II) and encourage you to enroll in
an upper level computer science course.
For a score of 1, 2, or 3, we will consult with you individually for your most
For scores of 4 or 5 on the Statistics exam, we will grant one unit
of credit for Math 109 (Statistical Methods). This will not satisfy
the statistics requirement for students majoring in economics, who
must take Math 210 (Introduction to Statistical Analysis), Math 309
(Mathematical Statistics), or Economics 235 (Economic Statistics).
Since students may not receive credit for both Math 109 and Math 210,
economics majors with AP credit for Math 109 should enroll in Math 309
(for which additional prerequisites apply) or Economics 235 to fulfill
their statistics requirement.
If you receive AP credit for CS 171, CS 173, Math 141, or Math 109 and then
enroll in those courses anyway, you will forfeit any credit you would
have received from the AP exams.
AP scores sent to Albion College will be automatically processed by the registrar's office.
Once processed, your credit will be viewable using ACIS.
We generally grant credit for equivalent courses taken at accredited colleges and universities.
Please contact the department or Registrar's Office for questions you may have about a particular course and
its equivalent at Albion. Note that all transfer credit is approved by the Registrar's Office
in conjunction with the department. See our Transfer Credit
page for more information.
Transcripts sent to Albion College will be automatically processed by the registrar's office.
Once processed, your credit will be viewable using ACIS. Please note that it is college policy
to count AP course towards the distribution requirement, but not mode or category requirements.
Please contact the department if you have any questions about you high school preparation,
AP credit, or transfer credit. We want you to succeed at Albion!