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SMC|Enrollment Development|Assessment|Math Challenge Exam

Math Challenge Exam

Notes for Students on the Math Assessment and Challenge Tests

Revised, Fall 2010
 

Before taking the Math Assessment
Make sure you know where you are headed.  You’ll find a chart of math courses and prerequisites on the SMC Math Department website at http://www.smc.edu/AcademicPrograms/Mathematics/Pages/default.aspx.  Click on “Math Course Sequence” on the left side of the page under “Course & Schedule Information” to see the chart.   Note that placing in Math 21, 26, 41, 52 does not take care of the Math 20 prerequisite for Math 2.  This is because placing in these courses reflects relatively basic algebra skills while Math 2 requires strong algebra skills demonstrated by scoring at least 46 on the College Algebra (Test Type 7) in  the COMPASS assessment.
 
What if I don’t like my Math Assessment results?
If you take the math assessment and do not like the outcome, the first thing to do is to re-take the math assessment.  This is possible two weeks after the first date you took the Math Assessment.  Please note that you will not be able to retake the Math Assessment once you have enrolled in a math course.  The Mathematics Department strongly recommends that you do some review before retaking the math assessment. 
  • Review materials are available on the Math Assessment web site at http://www.smc.edu/assessment.  There, under “Tests and Services”, click on “Math Assessment & Prep” and then on “Practice Tests”.  You’ll see a chart with a list of practice tests available and the classes to which they apply.  Scroll down to the desired test and read through the introductory paragraph for how to access and use the practice test.
  • You will find additional resources on the Math Department website at http://www.smc.edu/AcademicPrograms/Mathematics/Pages/default.aspx.  Click on Student Resources, then On-Line Resources for Math where online resources and study guides for many of our courses are provided.  The Math Department website also provides a list of topics that should be included in the geometry review under Student Resources, Challenge Tests.
  • Textbooks for all our courses are available in the SMC library.  Other reference texts are available in the Math Lab.  You may wish to use these as references for review.
I took the Math Assessment a second time and still think I’m placed in the wrong class!!!
If, after testing a second time, you still have not placed in the class you desire, you may request a challenge test.  The chart below lists the challenge test(s) you should take depending on your math assessment score and the class you want.  You should be aware that:
  • A challenge test may be taken once only.  The reason for this is that when you  take the challenge tests you are telling the Math Department that you don’t need the prerequisite class because you already know the prerequisite material,
  • Challenge tests are done without use of a calculator,  
  • Challenge tests are paper-and-pencil multiple choice timed tests, generally lasting 40 minutes,
  • You must earn a score of at least 70% on the challenge test(s) to qualify for the desired class.     
 
Which challenge test(s) do I need?
The guidelines below should help you to decide which challenge test you need to take.  Note: preparing for a challenge test should be a review of material you have already studied but possibly forgotten. If it has been 3 years or more since your last math class, it is probably wise to start at a lower level just to get back in practice!  If you have additional questions or situations not listed here, please contact Department Chair, Alan Emerson, by phone (310-434-4737) or email (emerson_alan@smc.edu).
 
 
If you
placed in
on the Math Assessment named
and the course
you want is
THEN the challenge test(s) needed
 will cover
Math 31
Pre-Algebra
Math 20
Math 31 Elementary Algebra (high school Algebra 1) topics
Math 18, 20, 32 
Algebra
Math 21, 26, 41, 54
Math 20 Intermediate Algebra (high school Algebra 2) topics
Math 18, 20, 32 
Algebra
Math 2
Math 20 Intermediate Algebra & Math 32 Geometry topics
Math 21,26,41,54
Algebra/College Algebra
Math 2
Math 20 Intermediate Algebra & Math 32 Geometry topics
Math 28
College Algebra
Math 2
Math 32 Geometry topics only (your Algebra is OK)
Math 28
College Algebra
Math 7
Math 02 Precalculus including Trigonometry and College Algebra
Math 2
Trigonometry
Math 28
No challenge test needed
Math 2
Trigonometry
Math 7
Math 02 Precalculus including Trigonometry and College Algebra
 
 
Other challenge test situations
You may have successfully completed Math 20 and wish to take Math 2.  In this case you also need to demonstrate proficiency in geometry, Math 32.  You may do this by taking a geometry (Math 32) challenge test.  Specific information about the geometry test is available on the Math Department web site under Student Resources, Challenge Tests.
 
How to schedule a challenge test
To schedule a challenge test, you should contact the Math Department chair, Alan Emerson, by phone (310-434-4737) or by e-mail (emerson_alan@smc.edu).  You should provide your name, student ID number and birth date in addition to the course in which you wish to enroll and some possible dates and times when you are available for the challenge test.