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Online precalculus, calculus readiness test (free by CSU/UC)


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I looked through the "calculus readiness" test and would only consider this a test for pre-calculus or intermediate algebra readiness.

 

The majority of the questions is algebra 1 through quadratics. A few questions have log and exponential function.

Two or three questions involve simplest trigonometry, about three or four simple geometry.

The test does not really contain any precalculus material; no roots of polynomials, and way too little trigonometry. No series, no limits.

 

A student may do very well in this test and not be prepared for calculus at all; he may be able to understand the basic ideas of calculus, but he may not posses the skills to actually solve calculus problems and pass a calculus course.

 

 

Here is a link to the diagnostic test found at the beginning of Stewart's Calculus text:

http://www.math.ncku.../diagnostic.pdf

 

I find that even this does not test everything the student needs.

One big issue is the structure of typical calculus courses. The heavy trigonometry and more advanced algebra are not needed until the second semester (or second year, if differential calculus is stretched over an entire school year), but they are typically taught before beginning calc 1. I suspect that this may be one reason why students find calculus 2 so difficult: solving integrals by trigonometric substitutions or partial fractions requires material they had ample opportunity to forget during calc 1 unless it was learned to mastery.

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I looked through the "calculus readiness" test and would only consider this a test for pre-calculus or intermediate algebra readiness.

 

 

I think the tests just reflects on how California does things.

When I look at some nearby high schools' criteria for taking the next higher math course, they only require a C grade. Considering that there is grade inflation going on, that compounds the problem.

It is typically Algebra I (8th gr), geometry, algebra II, precalculus, AP and/or calculus. The AP courses have a different criteria.

I had to ace my pre-calculus to take calculus.

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