Freshmen Placement

Should I be in Math 131 or Math 121 and 122 for Calculus?

So you want to major in math, engineering, computer science, biology, or chemistry. What math course should you start in? With a solid math background and strong test scores, you should start in MA 131 Accelerated Calculus. With a weaker background and lower test scores, but with precalculus preparation, you should take your calculus over a full year with the MA 121 – MA 122 sequence. Without a background in precalculus (strong algebra and trigonometry), you should take MA 117 Difference Equations and Linear Algebra, followed by MA 112 Precalculus.

What if you’re not sure how strong your background is or how ready you are for an accelerated calculus course? Use these questions as a guide. It’s reasonable to need to look up a few things to refresh your memory. If you don’t have too much trouble with these problems (only need to look up a few things, or easily remember the ideas once you’ve looked them up), then you’re probably going to be in good shape in MA 131. If you have to look up several things and still have trouble with a few of the questions, but you know you have seen all of this material before, then you would be best off in the MA 121 – MA 122 sequence for calculus. This sequence will begin with a precalculus review before launching into calculus. If, however, you look at these questions and see concepts that you really don’t understand, or that you have never seen before, then you should start with MA 117 followed by MA 112 to be sure that you have the proper background before taking a calculus course.

Placement Questions & Solutions (Word)

Calculator Requirements

If you are taking one of the following math classes,  you will need one of the calculators listed below. If you have any questions about substitutions, please contact your instructor or Dr. Kelly Cline (Math Professor) at

  • MA 117 Difference Equations & Linear Algebra - TI 89, TI Voyage 200, or TI NSpire CAS
  • MA 121 Calculus I - TI Voyage 200 or NSpire CAS suggested
  • MA 131 Calculus of Single Variable Functions - TI Voyage 200 or NSpire CAS suggested
  • MA 207 Elementary Statistics - none (all work will be done on MS Excel)