math placement exam

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by NorthUnited, Apr 18, 2015.

  1. NorthUnited

    NorthUnited New Member

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    Has anyone's DS/DD taken the math practice exam? My DS took it and got quite a few wrong. He seems to be rusty on some algebra concepts. Does anyone know what an average score is on the actual placement exam? I know it's multiple choice. Any suggestions for the quickest, most thorough way to continue practicing for the actual placement exam?
     
  2. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Do well in high school math.

    Actually, being put a "level down" in math at USAFA might not be the worst thing in the world; your DS would be more likely to score well, thus protecting his GPA, especially if he has gotten "quite a few wrong." Calc only gets more difficult and is very fast paced.

    It should not hurt your pride if he is placed in a lower level.
     
  3. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    As I recall, the math placement exam was harder than Calc I was...I'd encourage your son to keep studying for it (SAT/ACT study materials might be helpful), but make sure you have a good grasp on some basic calculus concepts before you come in, especially if you didn't take calculus in high school.

    I don't think they publish average scores for the placement exam. If you absolutely bomb it, you'll do "remedial calc I" (not a bad deal if you're struggling), if you are pretty average you'll do regular calc I, and if you do amazingly well on it you might go straight to calc II. I wouldn't worry too much about the score-you won't be held back here, just use it as a resource to know what to work on before you get here.
     
  4. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    The absolute LAST thing YOU should do as a parent is second guess USAFA's placement.
     
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  5. NorthUnited

    NorthUnited New Member

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    Thanks for the words of wisdom. DS has gotten all A's in pre-calculus as a junior and now in calculus as a senior. He'll do what AFA recommended, which is brush up on the concepts covered in the numbers he missed on the practice exam. He'll do all he can on his end and then the actual test will place him where they feel he belongs.
     
  6. Usafamom2016

    Usafamom2016 Member

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    One day during basic when you are dead tired they will put you in a room and put a math test in front of you. Do the best you can and you will be placed in the appropriate class based on your abilities.
    My son had AP calc as a junior in high school then more math after that. He placed into calc 3. One of the other cadets home on break at our doolie day picnic said calc was really hard, don't try to place higher. I was so worried until my son told me he made a calculated decision during the test. He spent 15 minutes doing math and took a much needed 30 min nap. Not sure how he got away with sleeping but if he can test into calc 3 in 15 min then I figured he'd be fine, and he was.
    Bottom line, I agree with fencers mother, they know what they are doing.
     
  7. Montec

    Montec New Member

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  8. Montec

    Montec New Member

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    I can tell you my son took the test on the computer which you are referring to and only got a few answers correct. I was terribly afraid he would struggle when he was at the academy. He had taken AP calc his junior year and against my advice he took stats senior year. He was placed in Calc1 this year and received an A. He is currently has an a minus in Calc2. He has gone in several times for EI and he did this very early on when he didn't understand the topic. He thinks this helped in a variety of ways in that it helped him understand the course work, the teacher knew he cared enough to come in for help, and he got to know his teacher much better which always helps when you strengthen relationships. If you put your pride aside and ask for help when needed, your ds or dd will succeed. They will challenge them to the level they can handle if they work very hard. I can tell you from what he says is that he went to the library and got away from distractions so he could focus on his course work in between and after classes. Time management is critical for him as An IC athlete. I wish all the incoming 2019 class the best and know if you work hard, you are prepared. Enjoy the summer, be smart, don't do stupid things, enjoy your friends, and hug your family. You'll wish you had hugged them more those six weeks of basic.
     
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  9. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    I BEGGED to be "put down" in the (waaay back then) Math 100 (pre-calc) class...they said "No, you'll do fine; our test showed your okay."

    A year later, at the end of a LONG polished table I faced "The Colonel" head of the department, and about 6 other math officers...Lt Col's and Majors...my fate was to be decided that day as I had received an "F" in my third calc class.

    I won't go into the gory details...they're long, interesting, but would take a lot of reading...suffice it to say, back then we had 42 lessons per semester...and during that semester I had 142 hours of EI...

    They kept me...

    I am a HUGE advocate of EI and NEVER being afraid to ask for help!

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  10. Invisibility

    Invisibility Member

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    As I recall, the initial practice test is multiple choice but I don't think the follow-up one is (if you place into Calc 2, you take an additional test).

    Look, as others have said--it doesn't really matter. Your DS should probably brush up on algebra, differentiation, and basic integration. I didn't do much... worked a few practice problems, went over integration by parts, etc. And made educated guesses. Honestly, your DS doesn't want to cram for the test and go up a level based on stuff he doesn't really remember. Better to take the extra course, really understand it, and get a good grade.
     
  11. shellz

    shellz Parent

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    So, if you are put in remedial Calc 1, does that satisfy the first year of Calc at USAFA? Or does the cadet then take regular Calc 1 as a 3rd class? And then Calc 2 as a 2/c? Would being in remedial mean summer school the next year to "catch up"?
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2015
  12. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    shellz, not unless they failed one of the calc classes or were already set up for "4-5-1" academics (typically athletes or people identified as struggling early on.) There are a few different paths people typically take for calc classes here:

    remedial calc 1-calc 2
    calc 1-calc 2 (most common)
    calc 1-advanced calc 2 (if you finish calc 1 above a certain grade cutoff)
    advanced calc 2-calc 3
    calc 3

    Note that if you take calc 2 your first semester here, you don't have to take calc 3 at all. USAFA tends to encourage people to take calc 3 in hopes of them declaring a techie major, however. Let me know if that doesn't make sense
     
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  13. Freefall

    Freefall New Member

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    So, if I were placed in remedial calc 1 4th class year, I could go on to take calc 2 3rd class year?
     
  14. shellz

    shellz Parent

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    Thanks, @BlahuKahuna. That makes perfect sense. I know the motivation to do well on the placement exam will be mitigated by fatigue and nerves, so it's nice to know that even if one was to not do so well on the exam, the resulting course placement would not extend the math sequence into 2/c year. Unless of course one wanted to....

    Last question...are Calc 1 and 2 year-long courses? Physics and Chem as well?
     
  15. BlahuKahuna

    BlahuKahuna Member

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    No. You'd take calc 1 and 2 during freshman year. Each one is only a semester long. Physics and chem are currently two semester-long courses each.
     
  16. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    Not having to take calc 3 has been the inspiration for many happy dances by "fuzzy" majors.

    This is definitely true. The C4Cs are also under tremendous pressure and have additional work loads outside of the class room. Having a course with some familiar material is a definite plus.
     
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  17. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Momba, you made work for me as I had to wipe the spewed coffee off my computer monitor's screen!!! Happy Dances by Fuzzy Majors. I'll bet there are none too few doing that after Chem 215 is over!
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
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  18. MombaBomba

    MombaBomba Member

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    From what I hear, there is a choreographed dance for Chem 215 ;)
     
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