Advanced Placement for Calculus

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CEEB Exam - Calculus AB or BC

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

AB Exam or AB Subscore

Students with a score 4 or 5 on the AB exam will receive 4 credits and placement out of Calculus I (MATH 1106, 1110), and will forfeit those credits if they take Calculus I at Cornell or receive transfer credit for an equivalent course. Students in Engineering programs receive no credit.

BC Exam

Students with a score of 4 or 5 on the BC exam will receive 8 credits and placement out of Calculus I (MATH 1106, 1110) and Calculus II (MATH 1120, 1220). They will forfeit 4 credits if they take Calculus I at Cornell or receive transfer credit for an equivalent course and/or 4 credits if they take Calculus II at Cornell or receive transfer credit for an equivalent course. Students in Engineering programs receive 4 credits and placement out of MATH 1910.

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 1106 or 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, 1220, or 1910). 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 1106 or 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 AP Exam

An optional placement exam for non-engineering majors seeking credit for Calculus I (MATH 1110) and/or Calculus II (MATH 1120). Offered twice (no make-ups) each academic year:

  • Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - 9:00 a.m. in 228 Malott Hall - no advance registration necessary
  • Monday, January 20, 2020 - 10:00 a.m. - please register in advance

There is no placement exam for linear algebra. Students seeking credit for multivariable calculus should take the Engineering Math Advanced Standing Exam instead of this exam.

Engineering Math Advanced Standing Exam

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. Offered twice (no make-ups) each academic year:

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

Placement Recommendations

Advanced placement credit enables students to start with a more advanced course, but they should also not hesitate to forfeit their AP credit and drop back to an earlier course if the advanced course is too difficult.

Students who earn a 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus AB exam (or equivalent) typically continue with Calculus II (MATH 1120, 1220, or 1910). MATH 2310 Linear Algebra with Applications (fall only) is an option for students who don't need a second semester of calculus and don't plan to take more advanced math.

Students who earn a 4 or 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam (or equivalent) typically enroll in a linear algebra or multivariable calculus course, such as MATH 2210, 1920, or 2230. MATH 2130 (spring only) and 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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