Undergraduate

The RUReady Test

Starting Fall 2019, all students enrolling in Precalculus and Calculus I courses need to take the RUReady test.  It is a diagnostic test designed to improve student success rate by providing the students with an objective measure of how prepared they are for the course they have registered for.  The test will be offered during the first three weeks of the semester and can be taken multiple times.  Students who are unable to score above a certain threshold are strongly advised to switch out of the course and into a lower-level math course in order to be adequately prepared. For further details, please see the FAQ sheet below.

  1. What is the RUReady test?
  2. Why do I have to take this test even though I was placed in this course?
  3. When will the test be given?
  4. What kind of test is it? How many problems are on it?
  5. How long does it take?
  6. What do I need to have with me when taking the test?
  7. What material is covered in the test?
  8. How can I prepare for this test?
  9. Can I retake the RUReady test?
  10. What about accommodations for students with disabilities?
  11. How will the test be graded? When will results be available?
  12. How is the cut-off for passing decided?
  13. If I pass this test does it mean I am ready for the course I’m currently in?
  14. If I fail the test during the second or third week, can I switch to the lower math course, even though the add/drop period has ended?
  15. What happens if I fail the test or don’t take it at all, and choose to remain in the course I am currently in?
  16. What if I already have credit for the previous math class in the sequence for my major, or for some other reason cannot drop back?

1. What is the RUReady test?

The RUReady test is a diagnostic test designed to improve student success rate in first-year math courses (Precalculus and Calculus I) at Rutgers University, by providing the student with an objective way of gauging their level of preparedness for the course they have signed up for, and giving them the opportunity of switching to a lower course, where they would learn/re-learn/review the background material needed to succeed in the original course.

2. Why do I have to take this test even though I was placed in this course?

All students enrolled in Math 111, Math 115, Math 135, and Math 151 will take the RUReady test during the first week of classes this fall.  The purpose of the RUReady test is to determine whether students’ current mathematical skills are at the level needed to succeed in these courses.  The math department has extensive data showing that the online placement test is a very blunt instrument when it comes to gauging students’ level of preparedness for the course they are placed into. Our goal is to help students make informed decisions about the courses they take, in order to maximize their chance of success in those courses and reduce their time-to-graduation. 

3. When will the test be given?

The RUReady test will be given during the first recitation/workshop meeting of the course, with the exception of students in sections where that first recitation meets online or on the Monday of the second week (i.e. on 9/9/2019).  For those sections, the test will be given during the first lecture instead.

4. What kind of test is it? How many problems are on it?

It is a multiple-choice test with 25 questions. Students will answer questions by filling out bubbles on a Scantron form with a No. 2 pencil.   

5. How long does it take?

Students will have 45 minutes to answer the questions. It will take about 5 minutes to distribute/collect and for students to fill out the other information needed on the answer form. 

6. What do I need to have with me when taking the test?

You need to bring:

  • your Rutgers photo ID card
  • one (or more) No. 2 pencil(s) to fill in the answer sheet
  • an eraser

Use of calculators and other electronic devices will NOT be permitted during the exam. A Scantron form will be provided to you. In addition, you will be required to provide the following information on the answer form:

  • Name
  • RUID (You need to know your RUID, since you will not be able to use your phone to look it up during the test,)
  • Date
  • Course and Section Number
  • Your Intended Major
  • Exam Code (a 3-digit number encoding the exam version, it will be supplied with the questions sheet). 

There will be an announcement at the beginning of the test about how to provide the information regarding the intended major. For additional details, see the sample cover pages for PreCalculus and Calculus and a sample Scantron form .

7. What material is covered in the test?

For PreCalculus (Math 111 and Math 115), the material covered in the RUR-111 and RUR-115 tests consists of elementary and intermediate algebra. A list of review problems is available here. For Calculus I (Math 135 and Math 151), material covered in the RUR-135 and RUR-151 tests consists of elementary and intermediate algebra as well as precalculus material. A list of review problems is available here.

You may use these review sheets for preparation. However students who are well prepared for Calculus I or PreCaclulus should be able to answer all of the questions without much, if any,  preparation. Those who have not taken a math course the previous semester may wish to brush up using the list.

8. How can I prepare for this test?

The test consists of material you should already know.  Review problems are available for the PreCalculus RUReady test here and for the Calculus I RUReady test here.  You should be able to solve all of the problems corresponding to your course without difficulty.  If you find yourself unable to do that, please consider contacting your academic advisor and asking about the possibility of switching into a lower-level course before the first day of classes. 

9. Can I retake the RUReady test?

Yes.  Every student is allowed two retakes.  The retakes will be given during the second and third week of the semester. For Fall 2019, the retakes are scheduled for the following dates (times and locations TBA):

Week 2: Monday 9/9/19, Wednesday 9/11/19, Friday 9/13/19

Week 3: Monday 9/16/19, Tuesday 9/17/19, Wednesday 9/18/19

Only one retake per week is allowed.  Space will be limited, and requests will be accommodated on a first-come-first-served basis.  There will be a sign-up form on the department website for this purpose.

RU Ready Testing has now been completed.

10. What about accommodations for students with disabilities?

Once the student files the required paperwork with Office of Disability Services and they are approved, they will be able to take the test under the purview of ODS for a total of three times, during the second and third week of the semester, up until 9/18/2019.  In addition, all students eligible for disability services will be allowed to also take the test during the first week in the first recitation/lecture together with their classmates.  This is so that they would not have to miss that first recitation/lecture where important material will be covered. Students who require accommodations should contact the Office of Disability Services for more information.

11. How will the test be graded? When will results be available?

The test will be machine graded.  Barring unforeseen circumstances, the students will receive their score on the test, which will be in the form of a percentage, as well as whether or not they have made the cut-off for passing the test, within 48 hours after taking the test.

12. How is the cut-off for passing decided?

The cutoffs for each of the courses (111, 115, 135, 151) will be announced after the initial administration of the test during the first week.

13. If I pass this test does it mean I am ready for the course I’m currently in?

 Not necessarily. Getting a passing score on the test does not indicate that the student is definitely ready for the material in the course they are currently registered for, nor does it in any way imply or guarantee eventual success in that course, especially if the score is only marginally above the cutoff.  On the other hand, getting less than 80% on the diagnostic test does indicate that there are serious problems with student’s level of understanding of the prerequisites for the course.  Those students are strongly encouraged to review the material covered in the test, either on their own, or with the help of a tutor, especially if they need to retake the test.  There will be some tutoring available at the Learning Center during the first three weeks of the semester.  Students with a low passing score on the diagnostic test are forewarned to redouble their efforts in order to meet the challenges that will lie ahead.

14. If I fail the test during the second or third week, can I switch to the lower math course, even though the add/drop period has ended?

Yes, the math department has arranged with the Registrar to allow those students who have failed the test to switch to an appropriate lower-level course without penalty, up until the end of the third week of the semester (subject to availability of seats in the lower course, and students’ schedule constraints.)

15. What happens if I fail the test or don’t take it at all, and choose to remain in the course I am currently in?

The RUReady tests are designed to help students form a realistic expectation of their chances for doing well in the course they are currently in.  Repeated failures in the test are a clear indication that the student does not have the mathematical background that is absolutely necessary for passing the course, meaning that their chance of success in that course is almost zero.  Their almost certain failure in the course, or withdrawal from it later on, will result in a waste of their tuition money and other valuable resources, increase their time to graduation, and impede their chances of getting into their intended major. 

With this in mind, the RU Ready test will count towards 25 points on the first midterm exam. When this exam is given, it will be the same length as the second midterm will be, so that students know what to expect for the second midterm, and there will be 100 points to be earned on both midterms. However, for the first midterm, the recorded score to be used for computing the final course grade with be a composite score computed as follows:

75 percent of the score on the first midterm exam plus 25 points for those who have passed the RU Ready test, but 75 percent of the score on the first midterm for those have have not passed the RU Ready test.

For example, if a student scored a 60 on the midterm and had passed the RU Ready test, the recorded grade for the first midterm would be (0.75)X60 + 25 = 70.  However for a student who failed the RU Ready Test, the score of record would be 45. The points from RU Ready are treated as an indivisible block because the test covers only prerequisite material, and the only thing we are testing for on this is:
Are the prerequisites under good control, Yes or No?   In particular, once a student has passed the RU Ready Test, there is no point in trying to retake it for a higher grade.

If a student who fails the RU Ready test drops back, say from 135 to 115, they will be credited with a "pass" on the RU Ready Test for the lower course regardless of what their actual RU Ready Test score is.

16. What if I already have credit for the previous math class in the sequence for my major, or for some other reason cannot drop back?

 First, it is not entirely clear that even if you have transfer credit for, say, Math 115, that you cannot re-take it at Rutgers. Generally, you would be able to do this, and the retake would count for elective credit. However, different schools have different rules and you should
consult the dean's office in your school on what options are open to you.

If despite taking advantage of all the opportunities to take and re-take the RUReady test, you were not able to pass it, and cannot drop back because you already have credit for the lower course, you will not receive the 25 bonus points on your first midterm, but your midterm score will not be reduced either.

Moreover, for those in Calculus 1 who cannot drop back, there may be an alternative: The Math Department has created a new 4 credit course, Math 123, "Preparation for Success in Calculus" that will run for the final 8 week of the semester. This will be an intense, immersive course, and upon completion, students should indeed be ready for success in calculus classes at Rutgers.

The number of places in this course is quite limited, and during the first three weeks of any semester, students should look into enrolling in a course that best fits their preparation. They should not count on the 123 option being available later on because the places are limited. However, after that window of opportunity for re-placement has passed, any student who is still in the course into which they were placed on the basis of the on-line placements test, but find themselves in over their heads, are advised to apply early for a place in 123, as soon as invitations go out: Places are limited.