Advanced Placement for Calculus

CEEB Exam - Calculus AB or BC

Scores on the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) determine credit and placement as follows.

BC Exam for non-engineering majors

Students in non-engineering majors with a score of 4 or 5 on the BC exam will receive 8 credits and placement out of Calculus I (MATH 1110) and Calculus II (MATH 1120). They will forfeit 4 credits if they take MATH 1120, 1220, or 1910 or 8 credits if they take MATH 1106 or 1110.

BC Exam for engineering majors

Students in engineering majors with a score of 5 on the BC exam will receive 4 credits and placement out of MATH 1910, and they will forfeit those credits if they take MATH 1910. Students with a score of 4 are encouraged to take the Engineering Math Advanced Standing Exam if they believe the score does not fairly reflect their preparation.

AB Exam or AB Subscore

Students in non-engineering majors with a score 4 or 5 on the AB exam will receive 4 credits and placement out of Calculus I (MATH 1110) and will forfeit those credits if they take MATH 1106 or 1110. Students in engineering majors receive no credit.

International Credentials

General Certificate of Education “A” Level Exam (GCE)

Students with a score of A, B, or C will receive 4 credits and placement out of Calculus I (MATH 1110). Engineering students receive no credit. More credit may be obtained by passing a Cornell placement exam during Orientation. 

Students who take the A level exam in Singapore will receive an additional 4 credits and placement out of Calculus II (MATH 1120). Engineering students only receive 4 credits and placement out of MATH 1910.

International Baccalaureate (IB) Higher-Level Exam

Students with a score of 6 or 7 on the higher-level exam will receive 4 credits and placement out of Calculus I (MATH 1110). Engineering students receive no credit. No credit is awarded for the standard-level exam. More credit may be obtained by passing a Cornell placement exam during Orientation.

Other Exams

No credit will be awarded for the French Baccalauréat Examination or the Cambridge Pre-University Examination. Credit may be obtained by passing a Cornell placement exam during Orientation.

Cornell Placement Exams

Cornell placement exams are recommended for: (1) students who have had at least a semester of calculus and have not previously taken a placement exam; (2) students who believe their placement is incorrect; (3) students who are uncertain of their grasp of the material.  Students may use the higher of two placement recommendations.  A failing score is not recorded on the student’s record.

Mathematics Department Placement Exam

The Mathematics Department Placement Exam is an optional placement exam for non-engineering majors who seek credit for Calculus I (MATH 1110) and/or Calculus II (MATH 1120). The exam is offered twice each academic year, during fall and spring orientation, with no make-up exams. Students who have taken MATH 1110 and/or MATH 1120 during a semester at Cornell and earned a W grade or did not pass with a C- or better are not permitted to take this exam as an alternative means of earning credit. Students who fail this exam once may not take it again.

The fall 2022 exam will be offered in person on Thursday, August 18th, 2:00-4:00 p.m. in 228 Malott Hall. Results will be announced over email the following day. No online exams will be offered. Please register your intent to take the Fall 2022 Math Department Placement Exam by Tuesday, August 16th at 4 p.m. The exam will be offered again during spring orientation in January.

Students may take the Engineering Math Advanced Standing Exam instead of this exam to seek credit for multivariable calculus (MATH 1920). Cornell does not offer a placement exam for linear algebra.

Engineering Math Advanced Standing Exam

The Engineering Math Advanced Standing Exam is an optional placement exam for any student seeking credit for MATH 1910 and/or MATH 1920, including (but not limited to) Engineering freshmen and transfer students. The exam is offered twice each academic year, during fall and spring orientation, with no make-up exams. Students who have taken MATH 1910 and/or MATH 1920 during a semester at Cornell and earned a W grade or did not pass with a C- or better are not permitted to take this exam as an alternative means of earning credit.

The fall 2022 exam will be offered in person on Thursday, August 18th, 2:00-4:00 p.m. in 155 Olin Hall. No online exams will be offered. Please register your intent to take the Fall 2022 Engineering Math Advanced Standing Exam by Tuesday, August 16th at 4 p.m. The exam will be offered again during spring orientation in January.

There is no placement exam for MATH 2930 (differential equations) or MATH 2940 (linear algebra).

Placement Recommendations

Advanced placement credit makes it possible to start with a more advanced course, but students should not hesitate to forfeit their AP credit and take an earlier course if the advanced course is too difficult.

Students with one semester of AP credit may start with Calculus II (MATH 1120, MATH 1220, or MATH 1910) and are encouraged to read First-Year Calculus. MATH 2310 (fall only) is also an option for students who don't need a second semester of calculus and don't plan to take more advanced math.

Students with two semesters of AP credit may enroll in a linear algebra or multivariable calculus course, such as MATH 2210, MATH 1920, or MATH 2230. MATH 2130 (spring only) and MATH 2310 (fall only) are options for students who don't plan to take more advanced math.

MATH 1220 and MATH 2230-2240 are challenging (and fun!), digging into the theoretical underpinnings of calculus and linear algebra. They are taught at a much higher level of mathematical sophistication than MATH 1120 and MATH 2210-2220, respectively. Students in these courses invest considerably more time and effort on coursework and are responsible for learning a significant amount of material independently.

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