I am reviewing the Fundamental Concepts Memo and the online USMA curriculum, and I'm curious. Are ALL new cadets enrolled in MA103, or does it vary based on your performance on the FCE? If so, does that mean that if you do not score the 90% on the FCE the first time that you will automatically be placed in MA100?

Nevermind, I just read the "Required Mathematical SKkills" memo and found the answer. All cadets are enrolled in MA103, but the results of the FCE affect whether or not we will go onto MA104 or not.

You may skip MA103 as well as MA104 etc. One of my friends started in the Yearling math class because he validated and did well on the FCE during Beast. You needed an 80% to pass it last year. I don't know where you got the 90% from but they may have changed it.

Will not doing well on the math placement test (and other placement tests) affect one's grade or ranking?

And you are right this for this year too AF, from the Mailing on Math: Early in Cadet Basic Training, the Department of Mathematical Sciences administers a “Gateway” exam to assess fundamental concepts. Therefore, we encourage incoming cadets to evaluate their mathematics skills and work at remediation of any deficiencies prior to arriving at USMA. The Department of Mathematical Sciences administers two additional “Gateway” exams during the first semester in MA103 (Mathematical Modeling and Introduction to Calculus). Self-paced texts and software files offer opportunities for self-remediation. Failure to pass at least one “Gateway” exam at mastery level (≥ 80%) may result in placement in MA100 (Precalculus) during the second semester instead of continuing into MA104 (Calculus and Differential Equations), or other scheduled remediation. Cadets enrolled in MA100 who do not demonstrate proficiency in these fundamental mathematics skills by the end of their first year may be separated from USMA. Almost any high school algebra book is a suitable reference for these fundamental concepts.

Could you explain why not doing well will affect one's grade (GPA), or just his/her ranking in the class? Is the placement test considered a course? I am worried about the math placement test, the language placement test, and...

The placement tests have no effect on your gpa or class ranking. They are merely used to place you in the correct courses for your level of mastery. There are several different math curriculums. The vast majority of plebes will take Math 103 - Modeling during the first semester and Math 104 Calculus I during the second semester. A very few will not qualify to take Math 103 - Modeling and will take a remedial math course and some will start out poorly in 103 and fail the gateway exam. These cadets will be given the opportunity to take Math 100 and then go to summer school to catch up. Anything below Math 103 does not grant you core credit at West Point, so you essentially lose an elective or go to summer school. A few will validate the modeling class and move right into Calc I or Calc II. Don't assume that if you get a 5 on the AP Calc test you will skip Calc I. Mastery in math is extremely important at West Point and you need to do really really well to validate Math 103.

It might not change a GPA but I was told it would change your class standing with having to take summer school. I'm also basing this on the USMAPS model, they mirror the West Point curriculum and after the diagnostic tests were given, shortly there after class rank was started. I could be wrong as I can't find it in writing but, it made sense when explained to me.

Maximus - that might be true at least until you get summer school out of the way - probably because you don't get credit for the remedial math class. I guess that depends on what you mean by 'not doing well'. If you are put into modeling then you are good to go and that vast majority of cadets are. I *think* that most of the new cadets who do poorly on the math and must take remedial math are those who are prior enlisted and/or went to USMAPS. Frankly if you are a direct admit - assuming you had pretty good math SAT's (over 600) you should go into Math 103 or advanced . Coming right out of high school, practice but you don't really need to obsess. Also don't be overly dissappointed if you are put into Math 103 and find you must take Calculus again. Lots/most kids who took Calc in hs take it again at West Point. The curriculum at West Point is unique and you need to master the material to their standards. BTW - you will also take a History exam and a Chemistry exam. A fair number will validate History (which is a blessing) and some will validate Chemistry. The Chem exam will also place you in the proper section as some are honors.

This must be a newer development. Way back in the way back when I was a plebe, you couldn't validate history. You could only place out of U.S. History and into World History, which was obviously a more difficult course.

Yeah, there are a whole bunch of history's they put you in. You dont' get to pick - btw. Either you will take US History or Western Civ/World History. Now, I think they place you either in World or US History depending on your background - what AP's you have taken and how you scored and your test results. There are some plebes who will validate both by AP's/college courses and exam. Plebes who validate both go right into 'dirt'.

What is "Dirt"? I scored a 5 APUS and AP Euro, but honestly don't think I would do great on a placement test because I took Euro Soph year and US junior year but who knows. I'm considering majoring in history, so maybe it would be a good idea to not place out

BeatNavy - don't worry about it. Really. You don't get a choice. You take the placement exams, they look at your transcripts and they tell you what to take. No decision by you is necessary!

Dirt = Geography My son (Military History major) validated US History so he was placed in yearling level history as a plebe. This allowed him to start taking history electives during yearling year.

If I make a 4 on a History AP test, will it be possible to validate History if I do well on the placement test? I didn't know if 5 was the standard. Any input is appreciated. Thanks.