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Engineering Math Placement Exam

  • DRAFT: (Revised 5/18/06, FSS)
  • Email to "deposited" students regarding the on-line MATH 111 exam
  • adapted to TWiki -- DickFurnas - 13 Mar 2007
  • ..perhaps also of interest: a work in progress for the Math Support Center Algebra and Trig diagnostic tests at DiagnosticTest on this wiki. -- DickFurnas - 09 Apr 2007
Table of Contents

Cover Letter:


Dear First-Year Engineering Students,

Congratulations on your decision to become an undergraduate Engineering student at Cornell! We look forward to meeting you and welcoming you to campus in August. Between now and then, however, there are two items that will require your attention:

  1. BY JUNE 30: Respond to the Mailing to First-Year Students from Engineering Advising. Sent in late May, this mailing will contain information about Orientation and selecting your Fall 2006 courses. Please be sure to complete the Student Information Card on-line (or mail it to us) by June 30, 2006.
  2. BY JUNE 2: Take the On-Line Engineering Math Diagnostic Exam. (See below for instructions on accessing the exam.) IMPORTANT: If you received a score of 4 or higher on the AB Calc exam, a score of 3 or higher on the BC Calc exam, or have successfully completed the GCE A-Level program or IB-Higher Level program in math, it will not be necessary for you to take the on-line exam.

This exam is designed to help us determine your knowledge of basic calculus and place you in an appropriate math course for the fall term. As you know, high school calculus courses vary greatly in their coverage of important topics. The results of this exam will be used only to indicate your readiness for our initial engineering math course (MATH 191).

We recommend that you allow one hour of quiet time to take the exam, plus an additional 15 minutes prior to learn the procedures for the on-line exam. Before you can access the exam, you will need to register for a Blackboard account (see instructions below). After you register, please allow a day or two for your account to be activated.

After your account is created, you will be able to access the exam. You are to do the work alone, so that we (and you) have an accurate assessment of your current calculus skills. You may use a calculator for arithmetic only. Have paper and pen/pencil ready and do the necessary calculations on paper before selecting an answer for each question.

Your exam will be graded automatically, and the score sent (electronically) both to you and to Engineering Advising, where it will be reviewed. A member of our staff will contact you within a few days if it appears that additional study in calculus will be recommended over the summer in order for you to be ready to take MATH 191 in the fall. At that time, the staff member will discuss your options with you, including taking a calculus course near your home (or at Cornell) this summer or taking MATH 111 in your fall semester at Cornell. If you do not hear from a member of our staff, you can assume that your results indicate that you are adequately prepared to enroll in MATH 191 at Cornell in the fall. Please note that you cannot earn credit by taking the on-line exam. You may take a test to earn Cornell credit for MATH 191 and 192 during Orientation in August.

If you have questions about the on-line exam and/or the results, feel free to contact our office: By phone at (607) 255-7414; Via email at:

Best wishes,

Engineering Advising Staff

Outside the box? What box?


Instructions for accessing and taking the Engineering Math Diagnostic Exam:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on "Get a Blackboard Account"
  3. Following the instructions enter your Cornell Network ID password and other information where prompted to. When creating your Blackboard account, please enter your last name as one word. (For example: If your last name is "April May", please enter it as "Aprilmay.") You are now registered for a Blackboard account (which you will use throughout your studies at Cornell). Your account will generally be created the day you register, but it could take as long as two working days. CIT (Cornell Information Technologies) will confirm your Blackboard account by email sent to your Cornell email address, which you can access through our Webmail service at .
  4. Once your account is created, when you return to Blackboard to take the exam you need only to click on the "LOG IN" button from
  5. You should now be in the blackboard system. There are two tabs: "My Blackboard" and "All Blackboard Sites". Click the "All Blackboard Sites"tab.
  6. In the upper left corner is a "Course Search" window. In the textbox, type "mathplace" and then click the "GO!" button
  7. There should be one record located: Engineering Math Placement Exam (MathPlace _v0-2) Instructor(s): Laurence Hammer, Rich Robbins, Fran Shumway, Alan Zehnder, Dan Maloney Hahn, Hannah Maxson, Bryant Adams. Exam to assess readiness for Math 191 (Engineering Calculus)
  8. Click on the "Enroll" button near the right edge of the window. Confirm the enrollment by clicking the "Submit" button.
  9. Click the "Ok" button to continue. (Once you are enrolled, if you need to come back to the exam you can skip the search and enroll steps. The "Prototype Math Placement...." will appear as a link on your Blackboard page.)
  10. You should now be in the pretest course. On the left are two buttons: "Options" and "Diagnostic Exam". Click the "Diagnostic Exam " button.
  11. Two Maple T.A. Assignments ("MapleTA Practice" and "Diagnostic Exam") should be displayed in the content area. Click on "MapleTA Practice".
  12. Click on "Help."
  13. In the help window, click on "Math Help" and read the instructions under Basic Math Syntax in the System. After reading the Help, work through the 5 practice questions. When you have completed the 5 questions, click on "grade" and then on "quit and save".
  14. You will be allowed to take the diagnostic exam only when you can score 100% on the practice exam. You may take the practice exam as many times as you need.
  15. When you have aced the practice exam and are ready to take the diagnostic exam, click on "Diagnostic Exam". You will have one hour to complete the exam. The exam may be taken once.
  16. After you have completed the exam click on "grade" and then on "quit and save." You may view your question by question results by clicking on "view details".


  • What's with the "Student Registration" page? I already have a netID so Cornell knows who I am! Should I be making up a new login name and password or using those of my netID? -- DickFurnas - 13 Mar 2007

-- DickFurnas - 13 Mar 2007
  • Engineering Logo:
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