Calculus Readiness Information and Test

Many students take calculus at Georgetown, typically to satisfy either a core requirement or a requirement of their major program(s) of study. The reason calculus is required by so many major programs is because its concepts form the theoretical underpinnings for many disciplines. Therefore, in order to make it most useful, calculus at Georgetown University is taught with an added emphasis on both concepts and contexts.

Students normally begin their study with MATH-035 Calculus I, but because of the added contextual emphasis students without a strong mathematics background often struggle in this course. To insure that students are ready for Calculus I, we require one of the following in order to enroll in MATH-035:

  • A passing grade on our online placement test (see below)
  • Permission of Professor Mary Erb, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Department of Mathematics and Statistics (

To help students with an insufficient mathematics background succeed, we have a fall course, MATH-029 Calculus with Review. This three-credit course introduces the same concepts of calculus, but at a slower pace and with added emphasis on applications. The class size for this course will be smaller so that students can receive additional support from the instructor. Students taking this course will continue in the spring with specially marked sections of MATH-035 Calculus I in which they will continue from where they left off in the fall. At the end of the year, the students will have completed MATH-035, plus will have gained a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the applications of calculus to different fields. MATH-029 itself does not fulfill any core or major requirements, but it does count as an elective, and the spring sections of MATH-035 fulfill math/science core and major requirements as outlined in our Guide to Preregistration and elsewhere.

To help students determine which course they should take, the Department of Mathematics and Statistics has an online calculus readiness test which tests both students’ algebraic skills and their ability to reason mathematically. This test will take under 45 minutes to complete and may be retaken once if a student believes the first result was not an accurate reflection of his or her background and preparedness. A calculator may be used on this test.

To take the test, click here, and follow the instructions below.

  1. At the login screen, click ‘Register’ and fill in your name, NetID, and email address. Also create a login and password for yourself and keep it handy and safe.
  2. After creating your account, you are taken back to the login page, where you can now enter your login and password and click ‘Log in.'
  3. Once inside, you will see “Math Placement Tests.” Click on this and you will see “Calculus Readiness Test Fall 2016.” Click on this link to begin the test. Once you begin you have 45 minutes to complete. At the end of the test, you will receive your score and a recommendation.
  4. If you believe the results of the first test were not an accurate reflection of your background and preparedness, you may retake the test once.

This test is designed to help each student enroll in the class in which he or she will have the best chance for success.