Physics Readiness Exam
Math Qualification Test for Introductory Physics – Physics 111 or Physics 220
In addition to meeting course prerequisites, students wishing to enroll in Physics 111 or Physics 220 must demonstrate adequate competence in mathematics by achieving a satisfactory score on the Physics Readiness Exam.
This exam will be given twice.
The first offering for Physics 111 and Phys 220 for Summer 2013 will tentatively be at 1pm on Friday June 14th in SCI 201. The test takes about 45 minutes.
There is no fee for the test. Please sign up by e-mailing email@example.com with your name, student ID, and the course in which you are enrolled or waitlisted (Phys 111 or Phys 220). For this test you will need a scantron form, which may be purchased in the bookstore. You need form 882 or 882-E, which has space for 50 answers on each side. Also bring a #2 pencil.
Note that this exam is for students taking classes in summer session only.
The second offering will be during the first week of classes, either at the first lecture meeting or the first lab meeting. If you take the test the first time and do not pass, you may take it again at the second offering.
You must take the test even if you have taken it in a previous semester. Scores are not carried forward. The passing score is established by the department faculty. It is our experience that students who cannot pass this test will not be able to successfully complete introductory physics, and therefore will be dropped from Physics 111 or 220. Students who fail the readiness test should review in preparation for the next time the course is offered. See references below for study purposes. Math 199 (previously numbered Math 109) and Phys 101 are SFSU courses that are recommended for preparation.
The readiness exam covers the following topics:
- Exponents, roots, and scientific notation - ability to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and take powers and roots of variables and numbers expressed in scientific notation.
- Algebra – Ability to solve linear and quadratic algebraic equations, including use of the quadratic formula. Ability to solve for one variable in terms of other variables. Ability to solve a set of two simultaneous equations.
- Geometry – Basic knowledge of angles, triangles, perimeters and areas of figures.
- Trigonometry – Ability to use sin, cos, and tan functions and the Pythagorean theorem.
- Graphing – Knowledge and ability to work with graphs of linear and quadratic functions, including understanding slopes and intercepts and ability to write the equation for a straight line based on knowledge of the coordinates of two points on the line.
- High-School Physics – Some elementary questions at the level of high-school physics courses.
No outside aids, including calculators, are allowed.
Brief lists of relevant formulae and relationships may be found in the back of many introductory physics textbooks.
There are several math review books that might be helpful in preparing for this test, such as:
- Maths, 2nd edition, by Jenny Olive (Cambridge University Press, 2003), ISBN: 0521017076
- Just-in-Time Algebra and Trigonometry, by Guntram Mueller and Ronald I. Brent (Addison-Wesley, 2004), ISBN-13: 9780321269430
- Precalculus – A Self-Teaching Guide, by Steve Slavin and Ginny Crisonino (Wiley, 2001), ISBN: 978-0-471-37823-5
There is a very useful on-line course that you can use to prepare for the readiness test.
Go to the ALEKS web site and sign up for Math Prep for College Physics, course code
PHYS 111 - Su 2013 / Math Prep for College Physics XQ4WU-HFGY6
PHYS 220 - Su 2013 / Math Prep for College Physics HCX4E-PNJEE
PHYS 111 - Fall 2013 / Math Prep for College Physics MRYVU-QQVRE
PHYS 220 - Fall 2013 / Math Prep for College Physics MKEUK-99939
The cost is $30 for six weeks of access.
TEST RESULTSResults will be posted here
Pass-- you have passed the test and are eligible to take the class.
Marginal pass-- you have passed the test by less than 5 points. You should continue to brush up on your math skills before the start of the semester.
Marginal fail -- you have failed the test by less than 5 points and should be able to pass at the second attempt if you study well.
Fail -- you have failed the test by more than 5 points.