Bypassing Math 115 by taking the Math Diagnostic Placement Test (MDPT)

Incoming new students who have studied pre-calculus coursework have the option to bypass Math 115 by taking the MDPT given on August 16, 2012 during HOP. The MDPT is used to determine if you have adequately mastered the material taught in Math 115. If you do well enough on the exam, you will be made eligible for courses with Math 115 as a prerequisite.

You must pre-register to take the MDPT. To pre-register, email using the following format:

Use the subject heading: “MDPT registration 2012”

Include the following information:
Last name, first name
Student ID
Preferred email address
Phone number

Exact time and location of the exam will be emailed to you. It is a 40-question one-hour multiple choice exam. No calculators or notes are allowed. Bring several #2 pencils. Scratch paper will be provided. There is no charge to take the exam. If you need any special accommodations please include that information in your registration.
A practice exam can be found at:

Some review material can be found at:

For more information, please email Mark Rizzardi at

Letter emailed to incoming new students, June 2012:

Bypassing Math 115 – incoming freshmen and transfer students

Your major may require you to take Math 115 (Algebra & Elementary Functions, 4 units) and/or courses that have Math 115 as a prerequisite. (Please consult with your major advisor.) Math 115 is more commonly known as pre-calculus and is often similar to the high school and junior college course that immediately precedes their school’s calculus course. An example of courses that have Math 115 as a prerequisite are Stat 109 (Introductory Biostatistics), Math 105 (Calculus for the Biological Sciences & Natural Resources), Math 109 (Calculus I), Physics 106 (College Physics: Mechanics & Heat), Engineering 115 (Introduction to Environmental Resource Engineering), and Wildlife 301 (Principles in Wildlife Management).

By default, HSU considers all incoming freshmen who are not in need of math remediation ready to enroll in Math 115 or a GE math course such as Math 103 or Stat 108. Many students entering HSU, however, may believe that they have already mastered “pre-calculus” skills and thus should be able to go directly into any course with Math 115 as a prerequisite. HSU requires that incoming students who believe they are proficient at the Math 115 level demonstrate readiness for calculus.

How does HSU determine that you have “demonstrated readiness” for calculus? There are three pathways to demonstrate readiness: (1) Score high enough on the Math Diagnostic Placement Test (MDPT) given on August 16, 2012 at HOP; (2) Pass either the Calculus AB or Calculus BC exam with a score of 3 or higher; or (3) Pass courses at another college that would have made you calculus eligible.
Expanding on each of the three pathways:

(1) The Math Diagnostic Placement Test (MDPT) is how we determine calculus readiness at HSU where the background of the student is not certain. This is the appropriate pathway for most incoming freshmen who have had trigonometry, pre-calculus, or calculus in high school and believes they are ready for college-level calculus. This one hour exam will be given on August 16, 2012 during Orientation at HSU. When you pre-register for the MDPT, you will be provided with the location information. For more information about registering and preparing for the MDPT, please read the HSU Math Department’s webpage link ( Only students who have pre-registered for the MDPT will be able to take the test during HOP in August.

(2) Passing an AP Calculus exam in high school makes you eligible for either Calculus I or Calculus II. The university, however, may not get your AP Calculus exam results until July. Even if you passed with a score of 3 or higher, you may not be able to register for your next calculus class until the August HOP. Plan your schedule carefully so that you leave space for that next calculus class. You will hopefully enroll in Calculus 2 (Math 110) or, if you passed the Calculus BC exam, Calculus 3 (Math 210). If you did not pass the exam, you should prepare to take the MDPT (see pathway1 above).

(3) If you passed math courses at another college, you may be calculus ready. Make sure that the HSU Office of the Registrar is sent an official transcript to confirm you passed the course and given university credit. To help determine if your previous college course prepared you for calculus, look at the college course catalog to see if the class you passed is the pre-requisite for their Calculus I course. You might also find this information for many California Colleges by going to the ASSIST web site: . Contact the Office of the Registrar if you have questions about transfer credit.

Please consult with your major advisor to determine if you need Math 115 for your major and whether or not you may be eligible to bypass Math 115. For information that is not answered on the website at nor by your advisor, please email the Mathematics Department Chair, Mark Rizzardi, at