A GUIDE FOR YOU TO
CHOOSE YOUR MATH COURSES
If you are planning to take MATH, read this:
Since many introductory mathematics courses are offered, you should be able to select a course to match your level.
Most beginning students will take Math 90, 100, 170 or
Here is a guide:
|ADVANCED PLACEMENT POLICY:|
|BC||1,2||none||Math 100 (or 90)|
|AB||3||none||Math 100 (or 90)|
|AB||4,5||Math 90||Math 170 (or 190)|
|BC||3||Math 90||Math 170 (or 190)|
|Third Semester Math 180,200,350|
|No calculus, weak grades in algebra and trigonometry||Math 50|
|No calculus, grades O.K. (A's B's) in algebra and trigonometry||Math 90|
|One semester calculus, good grades||Math 100|
|Two semesters calculus, weak grades||Math 100|
|Two semesters calculus, good grades, no infinite series||Math 170(or 190)|
|Two semesters calculus, good grades, covered infinite series and Taylor polynomials||Math 180 (or 200)|
|Two semesters calculus, good grades, strong interest in Math||Math 350|
If you returned the math placement card with your registration, placement into a fall math course was made for you and is listed on your registration notification in this envelope. Occasionally this placement is different from the one you chose. If you have not taken an AP exam, this placement can be regarded as tentative. However,
- If you have had little or no calculus but your secondary school preparation is firm, take Math 90. Don't take a placement test. Otherwise, consider Math 50-60.
- If you have had two semesters of calculus, with good grades, take Math 100 (or Math 170 or Math 190). You should not take Math 90 except with permission of the Mathematics Placement Advisor.
- If you have some questions about your placement, before or after the start of classes, please consult the Mathematics Placement Advisor.
When should you take a Math Placement Test?
- If you have had one semester of calculus, take the Calculus Placement Test to help decide between Math 90 and Math 100.
- If you have had two semesters of calculus, have not taken the AP tests and wish to be placed in a course more advanced than Math 100, take the Calculus Placement Test.
- If you have taken the AP test and wish placement more advanced than that assigned to you, take the Calculus Placement Test.
The Calculus Placement test is a self-grading, multiple-choice
exam. The exam is completely optional. Your score will not be
known to anyone but yourself. In particular, it will not be recorded
or used for any official purpose. We shall offer course recommendations
based on your exam score. Clearly, those recommendations will
be more reliable if you have already reviewed calculus.
Students who qualify for a third-semester (sophomore-level) course on the basis of AP scores or the Calculus Placement Test should consult the information below. For higher-level courses, please consult the Mathematics Placement Advisor (Professor Hoffstein) or the instructor for the course.
If you are having trouble deciding between two possibilities,
it is strongly advised that you choose the higher-level class.
It is relatively easy to drop down to the lower one within the
first weeks of the course.
If you have studied third-semester calculus and/or linear algebra, please consult the Math Placement Advisor. If you have decided to take math, but didn't return the placement card, use the guidelines above.
Math 100 is the second semester of the introductory calculus sequence. It covers techniques of integration and applications of integration, sequences and series including Taylor series and power series, parametric curves, polar coordinates and first order differential equations.
Math 170 is for students who have the equivalent of a one-year AB calculus AP course. It treats in more detail the topics of Math 100, assuming that students already have studied integration and its applications.
Math 190 is a version of Math 170 especially suited for students of engineering and physics. It has an additional weekly problem session devoted to applied problems.
There are three distinct third-semester calculus courses at Brown: Math 180, 200 and 350.
All three courses include the topics of functions of two variables,
partial derivatives, maxim and minim, gradients, space curves,
constrained maxim and minim, multiple integrals, calculation of
volumes, cylindrical and spherical coordinates, functions of three
or more variables, line integrals and Green's Theorem
(and Stokes' Theorem).
Math 180 ordinarily assumes that students have had the equivalent of Math 170 or 100 (or an honor grade in the Advanced Placement BC calculus exam).
Math 200 is a version of Math 180 specially adapted for concentrators in Engineering or Physics with an additional weekly problem session devoted to applications.
Math 350 is the honors version of third-semester calculus. Students with high motivation and interest in mathematics, with high achievement in Math 90-100 or a 4 or 5 in the Advanced Placement BC calculus test, are especially encouraged to take on the extra work involved in such a course.
Linear Algebra and Calculus form the foundations of the mathematics used in applications, as well as of most higher-level mathematics. Linear Algebra is taught in Math 520, and in an honors version, Math 540. For the latter, remarks analogous to those on Math 350 apply.
Three semesters of calculus and a semester of linear algebra are the ordinary prerequisites for any 1000-level mathematics course (except for Math 1260, which does not require linear algebra).