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Phone: 218-726-8747 / 218-726-8254
Fax: 218-726-8399
Email: mathstat@d.umn.edu
Undergraduate Studies
Email: math.dus@d.umn.edu
Graduate Studies
Email: math.dgs@d.umn.edu
140 Solon Campus Center (map)
1117 University Drive
Duluth, MN 55812-3000

Home > Undergraduate Studies > Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is there a math placement test at UMD?
Placement is done through students' mathematics scores on the ACT test. If a student truly believes that he/she is placing incorrectly, you can contact Carmen Latterell at clattere@d.umn.edu. However, the mathematics professors have done considerable research on how to correctly place students, and really believe that ACT mathematics scores do the best possible job. Students are strongly advised to follow their recommended placement.

2. How do I get into a course that is full by the time I register?
Once a class fills the only means of getting the permission number needed for the registration process is to add your name to the online wait list. Individual instructors do not have permission numbers.

3. What are the materials needed for my class?
This may vary from instructor to instructor. Some instructors choose to use online homework systems or personal response systems (clickers). It would be best to contact your instructor or wait for the first day of class to receive a course syllabus. Some instructors have course web pages and you can find a copy of the syllabus there, perhaps even ahead of time. Below is a table that includes the textbook, author and ISBN for some of the 1000-level courses.

Course Textbook Author ISBN
Math 1005- College Algebra College Algebra and Trigonometry Raymound A. Barnett 978-0-077-99903-2
Math 1160- Finite Mathematics Finite Mathematics + Applied Calculus, 5th Ed. Stephan Warner and Steven Costenoble 978-0-538-73492-9
Math 1250-Precalculus College Algebra and Trigonometry Raymound A. Barnett 978-0-077-99903-2
Math 1296-Calculus I Calculus, 7E Early Transendentals James Stewart 978-0538497817
Math 1297-Calculus II Calculus, 7E Early Transendentals James Stewart 978-0538497817

4. Will I need a graphing calculator for my math or statistics class?
There is no graphing calculator requirement for mathematics or statistics courses at UMD. Some instructors do allow the use of calculators on exams, and other instructors do not. You can certainly get through math courses without a graphing calculator, but most students have one. We recommend the TI-83 (or another brand with equivalent features). If you are a physics, math, chemistry, engineering, or computer science major, you might want to consider the TI-84 plus. You can compare all of TI's calculators on their web site. Remember, there are some calculators that are not allowed in some classes.

5. Where can I purchase the required materials?
All books can be purchased at the UMD bookstore. The UMD bookstore also sells calculators. You can, however, make purchases elsewhere. If you choose to purchase your books elsewhere, be sure to pay attention to the ISBN number used for the course. You may want to check the price of packaged material at the bookstore (e.g., textbooks with bundled solutions manuals or online homework) since these may be a savings for your specific course needs.

6. How can I be successful at a mathematics course?
There are a few key things that are required to be successful. Students must have a study plan and follow it. This plan may depend on the student. Some may benefit from studying with others, while some may learn more studying alone. Regardless, there are some common elements to all successful study plans. Attend every session, don't fall behind, and work lots of problems. A sample study plan might look like this. Attend class. Later that day, re-read class notes. Read the section in the textbook (and work examples as you are reading). Try the odd numbered problems. Try the even numbered problems. Memorize any formulas that need to be memorized. Try to summarize the concepts (the point of the section, the how to do things, the why you do things that way, what things mean). Then, go back and review previous sections. Do this between every lecture. Some students complain that mathematics is difficult and that they are doing everything they can. Yet, most students only do a fraction of what was just described.

7. What if I need help?
There is an excellent tutoring center on campus. Their website is http://www.d.umn.edu/tutoring. If your course is a large lecture, you should be attending recitation and asking questions. In addition, your recitation leader holds office hours. You can go to his/her office and ask questions. Also, your professor holds office hours. Be aware however that you will get much further with office hour help if you have tried to help yourself first. Asking something like, "I see how to get from here to here, but why does this next step follow?" rather than saying "I don't understand any of this." makes the world of difference in getting effective help.

8. What can I do if my algebra is weak?
We offer a college algebra course, Math 1005, at UMD. If you place into it, you are required to take it. Even if you place above it, but your algebra feels weak, you might want to take it. Also, we offer another choice for you. We offer a 1-credit algebra review course, Math 1007, which is taught online. This course will cover set/interval/inequality notation, exponents, radicals and rational exponents, factoring, rational expressions, rationalizing denominators, and solving linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, and absolute value equations and inequalities. You may register for this course online. Please contact Chad Pierson for more information. He is located in SCC 76, phone is 726-8137, and email is cpierso1@d.umn.edu

9. How do I test out of a mathematics course?
It is possible to test out of a mathematics course. Basically, one takes the final in that course, and if you pass it with a C or above, you have tested out. You will have to pay a $50 per credit fee in advance in order to take the test. It is best to go to the Math Department Office (SCC 140) and ask about the possibility of taking a test for credit before doing anything else. If you are told that it is possible, then fill out the paperwork at the Student Assistance Center, SCC 23.

10. What should I be doing in high school to prepare for college mathematics?
The biggest thing that you can do to help yourself is take mathematics courses every semester of every year that you are in high school. Traditional mathematics courses, like algebra, trig, precalculus, and geometry, are especially important. It is not so important to take calculus in high school. It is more important to make sure that you have solid algebraic skills.

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Last modified on 08/27/12 02:45 PM
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