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The Department of Mathematics and Statistics uses a variety of methods to place students in the most appropriate first mathematics or statistics course at SLU.  Students can receive credit based on Advanced Placement (AP) or International Baccalaureate (IB) test scores while at the same time establishing a natural placement in the next appropriate mathematics or statistics course.  Students without AP or IB credit are placed using their standardized test scores (ACT/SAT), high school GPA, prior coursework, and/or scores from online skills tests administered by the department.

Credit & Placement Based on AP/IB Test Scores

Entering students can receive course credit for certain mathematics and statistics courses based on AP/IB test scores.

Advanced Placement (AP)

  • A score of 4 or 5 on the Statistics test gives credit for MATH/STAT 1300 Elementary Statistics with Comptuters.
  • A score of 4 or 5 on the Calculus AB test gives credit for MATH 1510 Calculus I and places the student in MATH 1520 Calculus II.
  • A subscore of 4 or 5 on the Calculus AB portion of the Calculus BC test gives credit for MATH 1510 Calculus I and places the student in MATH 1520 Calculus II.
  • A score of 4 or 5 on the Calculus BC test gives credit for MATH 1510 Calculus I and MATH 1520 Calculus II and places the student in MATH 2530 Calculus III or any other course with MATH 1510 or MATH 1520 as a prerequisite.

Students who receive 1818 Mathematics credit for MATH/STAT 1300MATH 1510, or MATH 1520 are not eligible to receive AP credit.

International Baccalaureate (IB)

  • A score of 5, 6, or 7 on the Mathematics Standard Level (SL) Course gives credit MATH 1510 Calculus I and places the student in MATH 1520 Calculus II.
  • A score of 6 or 7 on the Mathematics Higher Level (HL) Course (with Topic 9 Calculus) gives credit MATH 1510 Calculus I and MATH 1520 Calculus II and places the student in MATH 2530 Calculus III or any other course with MATH 1510 or MATH 1520 as a prerequisite.

Placement without Credit

Initial placement for incoming students can be made using the high school GPA along with the standardized math scores or using online skills tests administered by the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. The online skills tests are often important for students without an ACT or SAT score, e.g., international students.

Math-Index

Initial placement for students without AP or IB credit is determined from a combination of their prior coursework and the Math-Index, which is computed using a student's high school GPA along with the math subscore on either the ACT or SAT.

Math-Index = 100 x (High School GPA) + 22.5 x (ACT:MATH)

Math-Index = 100 x (High School GPA) + (SAT:MATH) - 38

These formulas were designed for use with an unweighted GPA using a 4.0-scale, but can still be used for an approximate placement in other cases.  Online skills tests offered by the department may be useful in borderline cases.  The table below indicates the minimum Math-Index required for placement in various mathematics and statistics courses.  In most cases, these standards are based on a five-year study of SLU students and are designed to give students the greatest opportunity to succeed in their first mathematics or statistics course at SLU.  Note: In addition to the minimum Math-Index, students should have taken and passed the appropriate prerequisite courses in order to be placed in a given course.

Minimum Math-Index for Course Placement

CourseMath-Index Required
MATH 0240 Elementary Algebra I 700
MATH 0250 Elementary Algebra II 700
MATH 0260 Intermediate Algebra 700
STAT 1100 Introduction to Statistics 750
MATH 1200 College Algebra* 800 (860)
MATH 1220 Finite Mathematics 750
MATH 1240 Math and the Art of M.C. Escher 750
MATH 1250 Math in the Real World 750
STAT 1260 Statistics in Sports and Politics 750
MATH/STAT 1300 Elementary Statistics with Computers 900
MATH 1320 Survey of Calculus 900
MATH 1400 Precalculus*  900 (950)
MATH 1510 Calculus I 1020
MATH 1520 Calculus II 1050
MATH 1660 Discrete Mathematics 850

*Students who need to take a sequence of two or more math courses starting with either MATH 1200 College Algebra or MATH 1400 Precalculus should meet the higher minimum Math-Index shown in parentheses.

Online Skills Tests

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics administers three online skills tests that enable students to demonstrate background knowledge at three different levels. These tests are particularly useful for students who have not taken the SAT or ACT, but also allow any student to challenge the initial placement based on the Math-Index in order to start in a higher course.

  • Incoming students may contact their academic advisor to ask about the possibility of taking one or more of the online skills tests.
  • Students may not receive credit based on the skills tests, but can place out of a given course with a score of 70% or higher on the corresponding skills test.
  • Students are allowed only one attempt at any skills test, so it is important to review the relevant material before taking the test.  Online resources, e.g., ALEKS, may be useful for this purpose.
  • The department does not offer online skills tests for MATH 1510 or MATH 1520, but students can arrange to take a skills test in person by contacting the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Intermediate Algebra Skills Test

This test is devised to assess mastery of the material in MATH 0260 Intermediate Algebra.  A score of 70% or greater leads to the recommendation that the student may take a course with MATH 0260 as a prerequisite, e.g., STAT 1100 Introduction to Statistics, MATH 1200 College Algebra, and MATH 1220 Finite Mathematics.

College Algebra Skills Test

This test is devised to assess mastery of the material in MATH 1200 College Algebra. A score of 70% or greater leads to the recommendation that the student may take a course with MATH 1200 as a prerequisite, e.g., MATH/STAT 1300 Statistics with Computers, MATH 1320 Survey of Calculus, and MATH 1400 Precalculus.

Precalculus Skills Test

This test is devised to assess mastery of the material in MATH 1400 Precalculus. A score of 70% or greater leads to the recommendation that the student may take a course with MATH 1400 as a prerequisite, i.e., MATH 1510 Calculus I.