Notes for Students for ReTesting and/or Challenge Tests
Revised September 2014
Student should be aware of the sequence of prerequisites for math courses. The most common misconception is that placing in Math 21, 26, 41, 54 takes care of the Math 20 prerequisite for Math 2. This is, in fact, not true 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) of the COMPASS assessment.
If a student takes the math assessment and does not like the outcome, the first advice for the student is to retake the math assessment. This is possible two weeks after the student has taken the test the first time. Students may not retake the Math Assessment once they have enrolled in a math course. There are sample tests through the Assessment Center at http://www/smc.edu/assessment. Please review before retaking the math assessment.
· Students will find additional resources on the Math Department website at http://www.smc.edu/math. Click on “Resources for Students”, then “Online 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. Students may wish to use these as references for review. Other websites are: www.khanacademy.org and www.math.com
If, after taking the math assessment a second time, the student still has not placed in the class he/she desires, the student may request a challenge test. The chart below identifies which challenge test the student might take dependent upon his/her math assessment score and the class desired. If taking a challenge exam please note:
· A challenge test may be taken once only. The reason for this is that when a student takes the challenge tests s/he is telling the Math Department that s/he doesn’t need the prerequisite class because s/he already knows the prerequisite material
· Challenge tests are done without use of a calculator
· Challenge tests are paperandpencil multiple choice timed tests, generally lasting 40 minutes
· The student 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(s) 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 three years or more since your last math class, it is probably wise to start at a lower level just to get back in practice!
Here are the most typical scenarios and guidelines to follow.
Student
placed in 
COMPASS/Math Assessment test 
Student wants 
Challenge test(s) needed 
Math 31

PreAlgebra

Math 20 
Student will take a test on Math 31 topics (elementary algebra) 
Math 18, 20, 32

Algebra 
Math 21, 26, 41, 54 
Student will take a test on Math 20 topics (intermediate algebra) 
Math 18, 20, 32

Algebra 
Math 2 
Student will take tests on both Math 20 & 32 topics (intermediate algebra & geometry) 
Math 21,26,41,52 
Algebra or
College Algebra 
Math 2 
Student will take tests on both Math 20 & 32 topics (intermediate algebra & geometry) 
Math 28 
College Algebra 
Math 2 
Student will take a test on Math 32 topics because algebra skills seem reasonably strong but we have no information on geometry skills. 
Math 28 
College Algebra 
Math 7 
Student will take a test on Math 2 topics including Trigonometry and College Algebra 
Math 2 
Trigonometry 
Math 28 
(No challenge test needed) 
Math 2 
Trigonometry 
Math 7 
Math 2 Precalculus including Trigonometry and College Algebra 
Other challenge test situations
You may have successfully completed Math 20 and wish to take Math 2 (precalculus). In this case, you also need to demonstrate proficiency in Math 32 (geometry). You may do this by taking a geometry challenge test. Specific information about the geometry test is available on the Math Department web site under Student Resources, Challenge Tests.
Please note that challenge tests are not given to make up D, F or W grades in a course.
How to schedule a challenge test
To schedule a challenge test, you will need to go to MC 26, take and fill out a Challenge Test Request form, and bring to the Interim Math Department Chair, Betty Wong, in MC 34. At that time, she will schedule you for the appropriate challenge test(s). Dates and times of these weekly tests will vary.
How Can I Best Prepare for the MPA?