Pre-Calculus Essentials

Solid Foundations Program

The MDTP Assessment Tool
MDTP Results
MDTP Support


Berkeley’s Math Department offered Pre-calculus Essentials (PCE), a 3-week course being offered during Summer Session E (July 25 - August 12). PCE was created by faculty in the Berkeley Math Department to focus on the essentials of what you need to know to excel in your first college math courses at Berkeley. The goal of this program is to prepare students for Berkeley introductory mathematics courses. Over a period of three weeks, the course offers live lectures, group peer-tutoring sessions, and worksheets. Students will be offered both a self-study and interactive peer-tutor group option. Enrollment in the PCE summer course is free if taken for no credit. A for-credit option (Math 98) will be available for a fee in Summer Session E, but the course material and experience will be the same whether it is taken for credit or not. All students enrolled in Math 1A, 10A, 16A, and 32 are encouraged to participate.


In Summer 2023, PCE will not run its traditional summer program since we will be converting it into a semester course called Math 1 Foundations of Lower Division Mathematics. It will be a seven-week course that runs twice (back-to-back) during both Fall Semesters. This class predominantly aims at students who intend to major in STEM or related fields.  More specifically, it's designed for those students who have had limited exposure to rigorous mathematics prior to coming to Berkeley but still intend to go into introductory calculus classes (Math 1A/16A/10A) in their first semester.  This course is intended to be taken in parallel to these classes.

Pre-calculus Essentials & the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP)

To help identify the subject areas in which students might need additional support, the PCE program will use the Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP) assessment tool. The MDTP tool was developed by partners at the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems and currently led by UC San Diego. The MDTP Calculus Readiness Test is an online assessment consisting of 60 questions to be completed within a 2 hour time limit. The MDTP assessment  is entirely diagnostic and will have no impact on fall course grades. This assessment is meant to provide incoming students a better idea of what mathematical topics to brush up on before starting lower-division mathematics classes at Berkeley. Mathematics Diagnostic Testing Project (MDTP) is free for all students enrolled in Math 1A, Math 10A, Math 16A, and Math 32 for Fall 2022. Learn more about the MDTP assessment please visit their website.  Students who plan on taking a math course or a course that requires some mathematics are encouraged to use the PCE resources over the summer, but will have access to the PCE materials throughout the Fall and Spring semesters. 

PCE Companion Website & Resources 

Students who plan on taking a math course or a course that requires some mathematics are encouraged to use the PCE resources over the summer, but will have access to the PCE materials throughout the Fall and Spring semesters.   

Please visit the Pre-calculus Essentials website  for access to materials in Fall 22 and additional resources! Questions? Contact the PCE program at  

Pre Calculus Essentials


What is MDTP? The Mathematics Diagnositic Testing Project (MDTP) system is designed to help you identify and strengthen areas of knowledge relevant to Berkeley mathematics courses. The tool offers you an individualized mathematics learning experience tailored to your unique strengths and helps to identify any gaps you may have in your preparation. 

What is Pre-calculus Essentials? The Pre-calculus Essentials (Math 98) summer class is a customized three week class, typically during Summer Session E, created by Berkeley Math Department faculty to focus on the essentials of what you need to know to excel in your first math courses.  The course can be taken for one unit credit with a fee OR for free for no-unit-credits.

Should I use MDTP assessment and enroll in summer class Pre-calculus Essentials?  If you plan on taking a math course (or a course that requires some mathematics) at Berkeley, you should begin using MDTP resources along with enrolling in Pre-calculus Essentials (Math 98) class in the summer. 

What will MDTP and the Pre-calculus Essentials summer class provide to me? 
MDTP is an assessment that you can use to determine what you know and what you need to work on. The purpose of this assessment is to help you identify and focus on topics that you might wish to brush up on, that you may have forgotten, or that you’ve not practiced for some time. 

The materials prepared for Pre-calculus Essentials 3-week course are not like other resources online: the course is prepared by the faculty who will be teaching you and will explain foundational concepts from a university level perspective. Find more details on Pre-calculus Essentials website .

Is there a deadline to enroll in the Pre-calculus Essentials 3-week course? Yes, there are enrollment deadlines for the program. Deadline vary based on the engagement option selected, for example the “peer-tutor” option has an enrollment deadline due to capacity constraints. To find updated enrollment deadlines go to the PCE website.

What topics are covered in MDTP?

  • Exponents and Radicals 
  • Functions
  • Geometric Applications
  • Linear Equations and Inequalities, Absolute Values and their Graphs 
  • Logarithmic and Exponential Functions
  • Polynomials and Polynomials Functions
  • Rational Expressions and their Graphs
  • Trigonometry 

Why should I use MDTP? 

  • The MDTP assessment will help you determine math topics that you need to brush up on during summer prep, before starting fall courses.

  • Participating in the assessment may count toward extra credit in your math class or may be required by your math instructor as part of the course (more details to come from your instructor).

  • Your scores on the assessment will NOT affect your grades at Berkeley and will not replace in-class instruction. 

The Initial Assessment MDTP

What is the format of the questions on MDTP?

The MDTP assessment is multiple-choice. Some questions might require that you work out solutions with a paper and pencil. Be sure to have scratch paper with you.

May I use a calculator while completing the MDTP assessment?

The MDTP does not allow the use of a calculator.

May I use any other resources during the assessment?

You may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided within MDTP. You should not receive assistance from friends, family, other websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by MDTP.

Can I review a question after I've answered it?

MDTP assessment will allow you to return to an answered question using the “previous button”. 

What if I see questions I don’t know?

It is likely that you will be asked questions on material you have not yet learned. On such questions it is appropriate to answer, I don't know. On any question that you have familiarity with, however, it is important to do your best. You may skip a question by clicking on the “next” button without selecting an answer. 

Are the MDTP assessment timed?

You are free to complete the assessment at your own pace for up to 2 hours. If you need to exit the assessment for any reason, you will need to restart the exam again. 

What happens if I do not complete the assessment in the allotted time?

This is a timed assessment. If you do not complete the assessment in the 3 hour period, your progress will not be recorded. You will need to retake the assessment. Please contact email for further instructions. 


What is my result?

The recommendations offered at the end of your assessment will provide you with a list of topics that are recommended to you for additional review and prep. Within 1-2 days of completing the assessment the PCE Program will email you a detailed report with a score. Refer to the Precalculus Essentials website for results guide, go the PCE website . 

Note that the MDPT assessment includes a number of topics that help you determine how well prepared you are for  Math 1A, Math 10A, Math 16A, and Math 32. As such, incoming students are not expected to have mastered the majority of topics in MDPT assessment. You can find our provided recommendations based on MDPT assessment results on the Precalculus Essentials website.

Where can I see my score?

Within 1-2 days of completing the assessment the PCE Program will email you a detailed report with a score. Refer to the Pre-calculus Essentials website for results guide, go the PCE website.  If you do not receive this email within 1-2 business days (excluding weekends Sat/Sun) please contact us via email

What do I do with my results?

This is a perfect opportunity to take advantage of the tools the Math Dept is offering this summer 2022. Register for the Pre-calculus Essentials summer 3-week class starting in Summer 2021 Session E by completing the registration form found on the Math Department, Pre-calculus Essentials website.

Can I retake the MDTP assessment?

Yes you may retake the MDTP assessment, please contact to make this request. 


Who do I contact if I have questions?

For technical questions about use of MDTP, please contact the Pre-calculus Essentials For questions about UC Berkeley procedures and policies with regards to MDTP, please contact Pre-calculus Essentials email at

Where can I get help with the MDTP?