Suggested courses for first-year students
Obtaining Appropriate Placement and Credit in Mathematics
- Every entering student — whether they intend to take any
mathematics or not — receives a math placement. You
should know your placement, its significance, as well as your
options to change it.
- Obtaining an appropriate math placement concerns not only
those who plan on taking more math or those who want credit for
material already mastered; it is equally important to those who
think they will never need or take any more mathematics.
- Often, students who have taken some calculus in high school
arrive with no plans to take math, and then later decide to add
a minor which has a calculus prerequisite, and because they have
not secured an accurate placement upon matriculation, are forced
to rearrange their crowded academic schedules to accommodate the
- While every student receives a default placement, advanced
placement and credit can be achieved in many ways including
standardized AP, IB-HL, and British-based A-level exams, as well
as (locally written) placement exams which you can take online
over the summer.
- Local placement exams are available online to matriculated
students starting August 1, and are taken only by those who
have either not taken a standardized placement exam, or wish to
improve their current (default) placement.
To ensure correct placement before enrolling in Fall term classes,
placements exams must be taken at the latest by Wednesday noon, two days prior to
enrollment, in the week before the start of Fall term classes.
You will receive an email in July/August providing more details.
If you were unable to take a placement exam in time for Fall term enrollment,
you may still take placement exams until the end of Fall term.
The due date for mathematics placement exams is November 30.
If, at a later date, you choose a major or minor which has a calculus prerequisite,
and you did not secure an accurate placement upon matriculation,
you may petition the advisor to first-year students, professor
Van Erp (firstname.lastname@example.org),
to re-open the appropriate placement exam for you.
Placement exams are specifically intended as a means to acknowledge prematriculation credits.
They can not be used after Freshmen Fall term as a means to test out of required college courses (through self-study, or by taking online courses, etc.).
- Since you are allowed to take a placement exam only once,
you are strongly urged to read the
relevant parts of this and related web pages.
The Dartmouth Mathematics Placement System will:
- allow you to determine the appropriate
starting point in mathematics (should you choose to
take math at Dartmouth),
- allow you to gain credit and/or advanced
placement for mathematics you mastered before coming to
- introduce you to the courses at Dartmouth and allow you
to see how your background dovetails with
- provide extensive review material to allow you to
prepare for any placement tests you choose to take.
Sneak Peek — What's my default placement?
[Click on either image to magnify/shrink.]
For further explanation, see the links below.
Getting to know Dartmouth ...
- How do Dartmouth course numbers correspond to
background? Math 1, 3, 8, 9, 11, 13
- How do Dartmouth course numbers correspond to
background? Math 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 70
- I have taken a standardized placement test and know my
score. What is my default placement?
Answers to many common questions
- What placement/credit exams are available to take?
- I have taken both AB
and BC calculus, but have credit for neither. Which placement/credit exams should I take?
- I have taken a math course at another college or university.
How can I get credit for these courses?
- Where and when should I take a math placement/credit
- When and where can I find out my official
- Is there any risk to my current placement by doing poorly on a
local placement/credit exam? None! You can
never lose placement.
- How can I determine if I should take a math placement/credit
test, and if so which
- I have reported AP/IB/A-level credit information to the
Registrar's office. Now
- I did poorly on my AP exam. Do I have any options?
- I took calculus and/or statistics before coming to Dartmouth, but did
not take any AP exams. Can I get credit? Answer
- Do these placement credits count towards graduation?
- I took math courses beyond calculus like linear algebra,
differential equations or number theory. What can I do?
Resources and Review Material
- Video tutorials for all levels of calculus from Khan Academy are available on the
Calculus Courses web page.
exams from Math 3, 8, 11/13 (Multivariable Calclus).
- Precalculus review material.
For more advanced courses such as linear algebra (Math 22),
differential equations (Math 23) or elementary number theory
(Math 25), refer to
the archive of course web pages to
see a typical syllabus. In some terms, practice midterms and
finals may have been posted, but generally such resourses are
restricted to students on campus.
Take me to the placement exam site
- You should go to the Canvas exam site only when you are ready
to take the appropriate placement/credit exam, and have the time
available. Math 1, 3, 8 exams are 60 minutes long; Multivariable
Calculus (Math 11/13), Linear Algebra (Math 22), Differential
Equations (Math 23), and Number Theory (Math 25) are 90 minutes long.
- You should also take the exams from a desktop or laptop
computer. A phone or tablet is likely to cause problems.
- You would be wise to use a cross-platform browser like Google
Chrome or Firefox to interact with the exams on Canvas. Safari, in
particular, has been known to cause problems when viewing the exam.
- The exam pages are by Dartmouth class: