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This page will help you determine which math class you should take as a first-year student. You may need your ACT math, SAT math, or ALEKS score, a copy of the Centenary catalog, and some idea of what you may major in.

You should discuss which class is best for you with your advisor based on your overall background and academic goals. Your performance in advanced high school math classes is the most important factor in determining your first college math class.

The math department recommends the following based solely on your test scores. You may be ready even if your score falls below the ones listed here. Talk with your advisor!

Math 102 (Art of Mathematical Thinking) and Math 104 (College Algebra)

  • Math ACT score 19 to 22
  • Math SAT score 500 to 550
  • ALEKS score 46 to 60

Math 107 (Pre-calculus) and CSC 207 (Intro to Computer Science)

  • Math ACT score 23 to 27
  • Math SAT score 560 to 650
  • ALEKS score 61 to 75

Math 109 (Calculus for Business and Economics)

  • Math ACT score of at least 26
  • Math SAT score of at least 610
  • ALEKS score of at least 70

Math 115 (Calculus I)

  • Math ACT of at least 28
  • Math SAT of at least 660
  • ALEKS score of at least 76

 

  1. Do you need calculus?
    • How do you know? Under the core, any student who plans to earn a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree needs to take at least one semester of calculus. In addition, some Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degrees majors and minors (such as physics or economics) require calculus. If you are unsure, look at the majors you are interested in the catalog. If they offer B.S. degrees or mention Math 109 or Math 115 as a supportive requirement, you will need calculus.
    • If your answer is yes, go to question 2.
    • If your answer is no, go to question 6.
  2. Which calculus class do you need?
    • How do you know? Generally speaking, if you are going to major in a science, you should (eventually) take Math 115. If you are going to major in business, you should (eventually) take Math 109 (although Math 115 is also acceptable). Economics majors should consider Math 115 if they plan to go on to graduate school. You cannot get credit for both Math 109 and Math 115. Please note two facts when making the choice between classes:

      • Math 109 is an easier option. It covers less material, requires less precalculus knowledge (e.g., no trigonometry), and is more focused on applications.
      • Math 109 is a terminal course. You cannot normally go on to Math 201 (Calculus II) having taken Math 109. In addition, a B.S. degree requires one semester of calculus plus either another semester of calculus or a semester of statistics. Thus, if you choose to take Math 109, you will choose statistics as your second class.
      • If your answer is Math 115 (Calculus I), go to question 3.
      • If your answer is Math 109 (Calculus for Business and Economics), go to question 4.
  3. Are you ready for Math 115?
    • How do you know? The most important factor is your performance in advanced math classes in high school. You must have taken a class that covered exponential functions, logarithms, and trigonometry. This would be the class after Algebra II and might be called Advanced Math or Precalculus. If you got a B or above in that class, you are probably ready for Math 115. If you took a calculus class in high school and got a B or above, you are also probably ready for Math 115. In addition, the following facts may be helpful:
      • If you have a math ACT of at least 28, math SAT of at least 660, or an ALEKS score of at least 76, we strongly encourage you to take calculus.
      • If you have a math ACT score of at least 23, math SAT of least 560, or ALEKS score of least 61, you need to discuss with your advisor whether to take MATH 107 (Pre-calculus) before taking MATH 115. For example, if your scores are close to the cutoff for calculus and you have a strong high school math background, you may be ready for MATH 115.
      • If you have a math ACT score less than 23, math SAT less than 560, or ALEKS score less than 61, then most likely you need to start with MATH 107 (Pre-calculus) or MATH 104 (College Algebra). Talk with your advisor.
    • If your answer is yes, go ahead and enroll in the class. (However, if you are thinking of going to pharmacy school or physical therapy school, see the information on note 7.)
    • If your answer is no, go to question 5.
  4. Are you ready for Math 109?
    • How do you know? The most important factor is your performance in advanced math classes in high school. You must have taken a class that covered exponential functions and logarithms (but trigonometry is not necessary). This would be the class after Algebra II and might be called Advanced Math or Precalculus. If you got a B or above in that class, you are probably ready for Math 109. If you took a calculus class in high school and got a B or above, you are probably ready for Math 109.
    • If your answer is yes, go ahead and enroll in the class. (Note that Math 107 is a prerequisite for this class --- if you and your advisor agree you are ready, your advisor can call the mathematics department and have this prerequisite waived.)
    • If your answer is no, go to question 5.
  5. What class should you take to prepare for calculus?
    • Typically, you enroll in Math 107 (Pre-calculus) to prepare for calculus. This course reviews the material covered in a high school Advanced Math class, but at a quicker pace and with a focus on modeling and concepts that will prepare you for our calculus courses. You should then enroll in Math 109 or Math 115 in the following semester. If you have strong concerns about your math skills backed up with evidence but still need to take calculus, we suggest starting in Math 104 (College Algebra). The course covers the material in the first two-thirds of Math 107 at a slower pace. A student who then succeeds in Math 104 would go on to Math 107 and then a calculus class.

       

  6. What class should you take if you do not need to take calculus?
    Unless you are interested in higher mathematics, we suggest that you do not take Math 107. That class is the most difficult way (besides calculus) to satisfy the mathematics portion of the core and is designed to prepare students for calculus. The remaining symbolic reasoning classes are:
    • Math 104 (College Algebra). Offered every fall. Math 104 is the class closest in content to what you may have had in high school.
    • Math 102 (Art of Mathematical Thinking) is intended as an alternative to Math 104 primarily intended for students in the humanities. You should consider Math 102 if you don’t need to take calculus or are looking for an elective. It may be a good option if you have an interest in exploring mathematical topics outside of the usual high school material. It is offered on demand in some May terms and counts towards L*A*B.
    • Students can also take CSC 207 (Introduction to Computer Science) and Phil 210 (Symbolic Logic) to satisfy the symbolic reasoning portion of the core. Generally, students who can be advised to take MATH 107 (Pre-calculus) can also be advised to take CSC 207. If you aren’t sure, then you can contact the math department (James Reid) for an override.
    • The Mathematics Department recommends that you take your mathematics core course early in your Centenary career. However, it is not necessary for you to take your desired mathematics course at the first possible opportunity. Since many of the sciences require first-year students to take mathematics immediately, it might be prudent for non-science students to wait until the spring semester to meet their mathematics requirement.
  7. If you are interested in going to pharmacy or physical therapy school, be aware that some of these programs require a certain number of hours of mathematics classes (typically, six hours). Usually, Centenary’s 300 level statistics courses (which are offered in departments besides mathematics) will not count toward that requirement. Thus, if your first math class at Centenary is Math 115 for four hours, you will need two more hours. By catalog policy, you cannot move backward to Math 104 or Math 107. Thus, you must move on to Math 201 (Calculus II). For these reasons, it may be advisable for you to start in Math 107 and then take Math 115. The student will amass eight hours of mathematics credit at Centenary and satisfy the above programs.
  8. A last note for mathematically strong students: A student who scores a 4 or higher on the AP calculus AB exam receives credit for Math 115 and may enroll in Math 201 in the spring. A student with a strong mathematics background (including a semester of calculus) and a high level of confidence in their abilities may skip Math 115 and enroll in Math 201 with the permission of the department.

If you have any questions, please email Katherine Brandl kbrandl@centenary.edu, James Reid jreid@centenary.edu,or Christal Schoen cschoen@centenary.edu.

 

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