Notes for Students on the Math Assessment and Challenge Tests
Revised, Fall 2010
Before taking the Math Assessment
Make sure you know where you are headed. You’ll find a chart of math courses and prerequisites on the SMC Math Department website at
http://www.smc.edu/math . Click on “Math Course Sequence” on the left side of the page under “Course & Schedule Information” to see the chart.
Note that placing in Math 21, 26, 41, 52 does not take care of the Math 20 prerequisite for Math 2. This is 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) in
the COMPASS assessment.
What if I don’t like my Math Assessment results?
If you take the math assessment and do not like the outcome, the first thing to do is to re-take the math assessment. This is possible two weeks
after the first date you took the Math Assessment. Please note that you will not be able to retake the Math Assessment once you have enrolled in a
math course. The Mathematics Department strongly recommends that you do some review before retaking the math assessment.
Review materials are available on the Math Assessment web site at http://www.smc.edu/assessment . There, under “Tests and Services”,
click on “Math Assessment & Prep” and then on “Practice Tests”. You’ll see a chart with a list of practice tests available and the classes to
which they apply. Scroll down to the desired test and read through the introductory paragraph for how to access and use the practice test.
You will find additional resources on the Math Department website at http://www.smc.edu/math . Click on Student Resources, then On-
Line 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. You may wish to use
these as references for review.
I took the Math Assessment a second time and still think I’m placed in the wrong class!!!
If, after testing a second time, you still have not placed in the class you desire, you may request a challenge test. The chart on the reverse side
lists the challenge test(s) you should take depending on your math assessment score and the class you want. You should be aware that:
A challenge test may be taken once only. The reason for this is that when you take the challenge tests you are telling the Math
Department that you don’t need the prerequisite class because you already know the prerequisite material,
Challenge tests are done without use of a calculator,
Challenge tests are paper-and-pencil multiple choice timed tests, generally lasting 40 minutes,
You 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 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 3 years or more since your last math class, it is probably wise to start at a
lower level just to get back in practice! If you have additional questions or situations not listed here, please contact Department Chair, Fran Manion,
by phone (310-434-4722) or email (email@example.com ).
If you on the Math Assessment and the course THEN the challenge test(s) needed
placed in named you want is will cover
Math 31 Pre-Algebra Math 20 Math 31 Elementary Algebra (high school Algebra 1) topics
Math 18, 20, 32 Algebra Math 21, 26, 41, 54 Math 20 Intermediate Algebra (high school Algebra 2) topics
Math 18, 20, 32 Algebra Math 2 Math 20 Intermediate Algebra & Math 32 Geometry topics
Math 21,26,41,54 Algebra/College Algebra Math 2 Math 20 Intermediate Algebra & Math 32 Geometry topics
Math 28 College Algebra Math 2 Math 32 Geometry topics only (your Algebra is OK)
Math 28 College Algebra Math 7 Math 02 Precalculus including Trigonometry and College Algebra
Math 2 Trigonometry Math 28 No challenge test needed
Math 2 Trigonometry Math 7 Math 02 Precalculus including Trigonometry and College Algebra
Other challenge test situations
You may have successfully completed Math 20 and wish to take Math 2. In this case you also need to demonstrate proficiency in geometry, Math
32. You may do this by taking a geometry (Math 32) challenge test. Specific information about the geometry test is available on the Math
Department web site under Student Resources, Challenge Tests.
How to schedule a challenge test
To schedule a challenge test, you should contact the Math Department chair, Fran Manion, by phone (310-434-4722) or by e-mail
(firstname.lastname@example.org). You should provide your name, student ID number and birth date in addition to the course in which you wish to enroll and
some possible dates and times when you are available for the challenge test.