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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of Science
April 19, 2014
Canadian Excellence

Calculus Preparation Evaluation

Calculus Preparation Evaluation  (CPE)




Are you required to take Calculus as part of your program at Wilfrid Laurier University? Or perhaps you're thinking of taking a calculus course as an elective. Your job now is to decide for which calculus course you should register.

First, if calculus is a required course, check your program requirements very carefully so that you know what your options are. For the 2014-15 academic year, the Department of Mathematics will offer four entry-level calculus courses. 

A summary of the four options can be found on our Introductory Calculus Courses webpage.

Purpose of the CPE:

The Calculus Preparation Evaluation is compulsory for all students who intend to take an introductory level calculus course in either Fall 2014 or Winter 2015; this includes MA100, MA103, MA110* and MA129. 

The purpose of such a process is to maximize students' opportunity for successful completion of the calculus requirement of their program, to help them

    • decide on which course would be best suited to both their skills and their future goals; and to  
    • prepare for an introductory calculus course by reviewing key prerequisite material.

Placement:  The decision as to which course to take will always remain the student's to make.
The score obtained on the CPE will not result in a student automatically being registered in a specific course.  However, to enrol in MA103, as little time will be spent on review topics, a student must demonstrate adequate knowledge of prerequisite material.  Only students obtaining a grade of 70% or better on the Evaluation will be eligible to enroll in MA103 (but may still opt for one of the other courses).  See the stats.

Preparation:  This is the more important reason as to why completion of the Evaluation is mandatory for all students planning to take calculus.
While the amount of precalculus material incorporated into the content may vary, regardless of the calculus course taken, it is review and will not be retaught from the ground up.  The Evaluation allows students to discover what material their instructors will expect them to have a working knowledge of, and to take the opportunity to refresh their skills before starting their course.  See the stats.

It should be noted that students obtaining a grade 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. The Mathematics Assistance Centre offers a non-credit course titled "TriAGe: Preparation for Calculus" which can help such students review these prerequisite skills.  TriAGe will be offered both in an on campus classroom version, as well as in an online version, during the summer of 2014.  See the TriAGe webpage for further details.

Content of the Evaluation:

The Calculus Preparation Evaluation consists of 50 multiple choice problems, to be completed within 90 minutes, and without any aids such as calculators or computer software (pencil and paper at hand, is allowed and recommended). The questions cover material from secondary level mathematics: topics in trigonometry, algebra and geometry that are essential for success in entry-level mathematics courses, particularly first year calculus.

Part A Simplifying Expressions (15 questions): factoring, manipulating rational expressions, using laws of exponents, absolute value, remainder theorem, binomial expansions;

Part B Solving Equations and Inequalities (10 questions): linear, quadratic, and rational equations, absolute value, set notation and operations along with inequalities, systems of equations;

Part C Functions and Graphing (10 questions): the arithmetic and composition of functions, domains, ranges, graphs and transformations/translations, inverse functions;

Part D Geometry (5 questions): coordinate systems, equations and properties of lines, parabolas and circles;

Part E Exponentials and Logarithms (5 questions): evaluating, simplifying and solving equations involving exponential and logarithmic expressions, properties of the exponential and logarthmic functions;

Part F Trigonometry (5 questions): radian measure, evaluating, simplifying and solving equations involving trigonometric expressions, properties of the trigonometric functions.

Sample Problems:

A sample set of questions is available to preview the types of problems that you will see on the actual CPE. Click the links below to view the pdf files:

     Sample Evaluation
     Sample Evaluation - Answers
     Sample Evaluation - Full Solutions

Completing the CPE:

The Evaluation is completed on-line, from your home computer. The Department makes use of Maple T.A.TM software to conduct the Evaluation. The only technical requirement is that you have a Java-enabled browser to access the internet.  You must be a registered student at WLU to be able to login and complete the CPE. 

The Calculus Preparation Evaluation will become available on Monday April 28th 2014, and will then be accessible 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. Your results will be available immediately upon completion of the CPE.

After reading the remainder of this page, click here for further details on how to complete the CPE.


Registering for a Calculus Course:

Registration into any of MA100, MA103, MA110* or MA129 will be restricted until the CPE has been completed.  Once a CPE score has been recorded, the restriction on LORIS (Laurier's On-line Registration Information System) for your account will be removed and you will be able to complete registration into the calculus course of your choosing.

In order to begin your university mathematics education in the most positive way, it is important for you to be enrolled in the appropriate course at the start of Fall Term. You should enrol in the course most suited to your present skills and future goals.  Please consider your options carefully.

We are available to help you make an informed decision.  Feel free to contact either the Mathematics Department or the advisors in your home discipline.  In Mathematics, the individuals to contact include:

Tina Balfour (CPE Coordinator) 519-884-0710, Ext.2077
Dr. Roman Makarov (Undergraduate Advisor)    519-884-0710, Ext.3017