Choosing Courses


CHOOSING THE FIRST MATH COURSE AT U.C. BERKELEY



Q:     WHICH MATH COURSE SHOULD I ENROLL IN?

A:     That depends on your math background and your intended major (see below). Math 16A-16B covers much of the same basic topics as Math 1A-1B, but lacks in-depth calculus and so, is less rigorous and demanding. Math 10A-10B covers calculus and discrete topics that are particularly appropriate for inended life science majors. Mathematics 32, Precalculus, is designed to prepare students for Mathematics 1A or 16A. Prerequisites for Math 32 is 3 years of high school mathematics.

On a side note, Math 16A-16B are referred to as a “terminal one-year calculus sequence,” because they do not prepare you to continue in math. In order to take Math 53 or 54, you must pass Math 1A-1B (or equivalent) with a letter grade of C- or better. The Math 10 series covers the calculus in the 1 series, but at a faster pace, since it also covers combinatorics and probability.

Q:     DO I HAVE TO TAKE A PLACEMENT EXAM?

A:     Students who enroll via Tele-BEARS in Mathematics 1A, 16A, or 32 should take the Calculus Diagnostic Placement Exam:

  • If you scored in the red on most of the topics, then you should consider a serious review of precalculus mathematics before taking a calculus course.
  • If you scored in the green on most of the topics, you should consider taking Math 1A rather than Math 16A.
  • Please note that for Math 32, you should also have received:

    at least a score of 560 on the SAT I: Math or
    at least a score of 570 on the SAT II: Math Level I, or
    at least a score of 520 on the SAT II: Math Level II/IIC.


Please allow an hour to complete the exam. If not happy with the results, review the material and take the exam again. New problems will be generated each time the exam is selected. Students who are repeating 1A, 16A, or 32 must also retake the Math Placement Examination. Copies of sample placement questions are available in 970 Evans.


Note: We have not yet updated the placement exam to include Math 10A-10B.


Q:     ARE THERE EXCEPTIONS FOR THE PLACEMENT EXAM?

A:     Yes. Students do not need to take the Math Placement Exam for Math 1A, 16A, or 32 if within the past year, they:

  • received a letter grade of C- or better in Math 32 at Berkeley, or
  • scored a 3 or better on the Advanced Placement Examination (AB or BC), or
  • scored at least a score of 650 or better on the SAT I: Reasoning Test--Math, or
  • scored at least a score of 670 on the SAT II: Math Level I, or
  • scored at least a score of 620 on the SAT II: Math Level II/IIC.

 




FOR MAJORS IN:                    ENROLL IN:                    PREREQUISITES:

  • Physical Sciences             MATH 1A          3 and 1/2 years of high school
  • Engineering                                              mathematics
  • Mathematics
  • Computer Sciences
  • Economics (check their Undergraduate Announcement)

 



FOR MAJORS IN:                    ENROLL IN:                    PREREQUISITES:

  • Architecture                   Math 16A          3 years of high school mathematics
  • Business Administration                             including trigonometry
  • Economics

Note: Business Administration& Economics majors should check the Undergraduate Announcements in those departments.



FOR MAJORS IN:                    ENROLL IN:                    PREREQUISITES:

  • Integrative Biology          Math 10A          3 years of high school mathematics
  • Life Sciences                                             including trigonometry
  • Molecular and Cell Biology