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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, MA102, MA103, 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, will be able to 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, MA102, MA129. While there is no minimum CPE score required to enrol in these courses, a valid attempt must be received.

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 ST231 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 MA102 or MA103 instead.

A student who has earned credit for MA129 does have the option to later enrol in MA103 if they wish.

MA102: Introduction to Functions and Differential Calculus and MA103: Calculus I

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. Students complete either both MA102 and MA103, or MA103, based on their current skill set.

MA103 assumes the student has a relatively strong mathematic background, and has already been introduced to foundational calculus concepts (limits and derivatives). MA102 incorporates additional emphasis on basic algebra, trigonometry, as well as limits as the foundation of differential calculus.

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. Those who score below 70% on the CPE will take MA102 in fall term, followed by MA103 in winter term; if required in their program, MA104 can then be taken in second year.

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, Health Science, Applied Water 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 and other senior mathematics courses, for those interested in a mathematics minor.

SC101: Essential Skills for Mathematics

SC101 provides 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 in BSc programs who may not be adequately prepared for MA100.

Information about the CPE