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Calculus Preparation Evaluation

Are you required to take calculus as part of your program? Or perhaps you're thinking of taking a calculus course as an elective. You now have to decide which calculus course is the right one for you.

The Calculus Preparation Evaluation (CPE) is a mandatory online test to register in one of Laurier's four introductory calculus courses: MA100, MA103, MA110* or MA129. Registration into any of those courses will be restricted until you complete the CPE. Once your CPE score has been recorded, the restriction on LORIS for your account will be removed and you'll be able to register for the calculus course of your choosing. 

The purpose of this process is to maximize your opportunity for successful completion of the calculus requirement of your program, by helping you:

  • Decide which course would be best suited to both your skills and your future goals; and     
  • Prepare for an introductory calculus course by reviewing key prerequisite material.

CPE Score and Calculus Prerequisites

If calculus is a required course, check your progression requirements very carefully so that you know what options are available for your specific program.

  • Students who score 70% or better on the CPE, and who have credit for Grade 12 Calculus and Vectors or equivalent, can select any of the above four courses (again, please check which courses are available options for your program).
  • Students who score below 70% on the CPE, and who have credit for Grade 12 Advanced Functions or equivalent, can select either MA100, MA129 or MA110*. While there is no minimum CPE score required to enrol in these courses, a valid attempt must be received, and students scoring below 50% on the CPE should strongly consider either MA100 or MA129, if allowable in their program of study.

Students obtaining a CPE score below 50% on the CPE will most likely have difficulty completing any first-year university calculus course, and should seriously consider upgrading their skills beforehand. Laurier offers two ways to do this:

  1. Our Mathematics Assistance Centre offers a non-credit course over the summer months, titled "TriAGe: Preparation for Calculus," that can help students review prerequisite skills.
  2. Alternatively, those students required to take MA100 as part of their BSc program are strongly recommended to take SC101: Essential Skills for Mathematics in fall term, followed by MA100 in winter term. If required, MA101 can then be taken the following spring/fall term, and then MA241 in fall/winter term of year 2, as these courses are typically offered every term.

We are available to help you make an informed decision! Contact either a mathematics advisor or an advisor in your home discipline if you have any questions.

Calculus Course Differences

The Department of Mathematics offers four entry-level calculus courses, in addition to a foundational pre-calculus course:

MA129: Introductory Calculus for Business and Social Sciences

This course serves as the minimum calculus requirement for various programs offered by the School of Business and Economics, and is taken by the majority of students in these programs.

Completion of MA129 will limit your choice of senior math courses for which you will have the prerequisite; thus, if you have a strong background in mathematics and think that you may want to further your studies in this area, you should consider either MA110* or MA103 instead.

A student who has earned credit for MA129 does have the option to later enrol in MA103 if she or he wishes.

MA103: Calculus I, and MA110*: Introduction to Differential and Integral Calculus

These courses form the foundation for the calculus required in the programs offered by the Department of Mathematics and Department of Physics and Computer Science. From either of these courses, a student can progress into MA104 Calculus II (and then subsequently, into many additional senior math courses).

MA103 and MA110* can be thought of, in one way, as equivalent courses taught in two different ways. MA103 assumes the student has a relatively strong mathematical background, and completes the material in one term (0.5 credit). MA110*, however, incorporates additional emphasis on basic algebra, trigonometry and limits along the way, completing the material over two terms (1.0 credit). For example, MA110* will take a closer look at properties of exponential and logarithmic functions and spend some time discussing trigonometric functions, as well as limits as the foundation of differential calculus, at the time these topics are encountered in the coursework, whereas MA103 will assume the students already have a good working knowledge of this material.

In order to consider MA103 as an option, a student must have credit for Grade 12 Calculus and Vectors (or equivalent), and must have scored 70% or better on the CPE.

MA100: Introductory Calculus for the Natural Sciences

This course serves as the entry point for most other BSc programs, such as Biology, Biochemistry & Biotechnology, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Psychology.

Normally this course is followed by MA101, though interested students may opt to take MA103 instead. Completion of either MA101 or MA103 then gives you the option of enrolling in MA104.

SC101: Essential Skills for Mathematics

A thorough review of pre-university skills in algebra, trigonometry and functions. Also integrated with the course content will be discussion of specific learning strategies to help students with the transition from high school mathematics to university level expectations.

This new course has been created specifically for students who may not be adequately prepared for MA100, and is open to those in Biology, Chemistry, Health Science, Environmental Science, Applied Water Science and Psychology.

Information about the CPE

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