MATH 10550 Diagnostic Test FAQs

MATH 10550 Diagnostic Test Frequently Asked Questions


What is the purpose of this diagnostic test?

The First Year of Studies is using this online diagnostic test to gather information about the math skills that incoming first-year students have as they enter the University. The test is designed to assess “calculus readiness,” so it focuses only on pre-calculus material.

The information collected will be used to help us improve the math support services we provide to better address student needs. You are expected to complete this test on your own without any outside assistance; it is vitally important that we can get an accurate picture of our students’ prior math experience. The results of this test will not penalize you in any way.


Who is required to take this diagnostic test?

The online MATH 10550 Diagnostic Test is required for the following students even if they have previous experience in calculus:

  • Students considering a major in any of these programs: 


  • All College of Engineering majors
  • College of Science majors in biochemistry (BCHM), chemistry (CHEM), mathematics (MATH), applied and computational mathematics and statistics (ACMS), statistics (STATS), or physics (PHYS


  • Students (of any college and major) considering taking MATH 10550, 10560, or any higher level MATH course (20000 level courses or above), or any ACMS course above 10145.

If either of these two categories applies to you, you must take this test, even if you have taken an AP or IB exam in calculus (any level).  If you will be taking MATH 10350 to satisfy your math requirement, you are NOT required to take the test.


Will I be able to see my test results?

No. We will not provide personal test results at this time because we have not yet collected all of the data needed to help you place a test result into an appropriate context.


What will the test results be used for?

The First Year of Studies will use the overall test results to gain a clearer picture of the math backgrounds of our students so that we can determine appropriate support services to promote student success during the upcoming academic year.


What is the diagnostic test designed to measure?

The test is designed to assess “calculus readiness,” so it focuses only on pre-calculus material.


How will the results of this diagnostic test affect my choice of intended major?

The results of this diagnostic test will not affect your choice of intended major in any way. At the University of Notre Dame, you are able to choose any major offered at the university. The results of the diagnostic test will not change your options for a major.


Is there someone I can contact if I have technical problems with the test?

This test is offered through WebAssign, an online math and science instructional system developed at North Carolina State University. Once you log into the WebAssign system, you will be able to use their technical support links for any problems that you may encounter. The First Year of Studies cannot provide technical support for this external system.


How should I prepare for this test?

No preparation is needed for the test.  The test is designed to assess what you already know, so just do your best and answer all questions on your own.

Is there someone I should contact if I have questions about the content of the test?

The test is designed to assess what you already know, so do your best and answer all questions on your own.


What do I need to take the test?

You should only need scratch paper, a pen or pencil, and the test open to full screen on your computer. Do not use references, phones, calculators, or other computer software.


How many times can I take the test?

You have only one opportunity to take the test. Before you begin, be sure to have scratch paper and pencil ready and make sure that you are in an environment free from distractions for the duration of the test.


How long do I have to take the test?

You have 90 minutes to take the test and the time is kept by the WebAssign system. The timer starts as soon as you download the test. You may submit answers to individual questions as many times as you like until time runs out. Exiting the test and signing in later does not stop the timer. At 89 minutes, you will be warned that there is only one minute left in the time allotted for the test.

The test should be completed in 90 minutes; you will not be stopped automatically. You will need to time yourself and stop yourself. Taking longer than 90 minutes to take the test will invalidate your test score.


How is this diagnostic test different from the Notre Dame mathematics credit examination program that takes place in August?

The MATH 10550 diagnostic test does not give any student credit for a calculus course and is being used only to gather data about first-year math skills.

The Notre Dame mathematics credit examination program offers optional exams taken in person on campus on the Friday before Orientation Weekend. These examinations are intended for students who took calculus in high school and believe that they have sufficient mastery of the material to receive credit for the equivalent course(s) at Notre Dame. Students who are eligible for credit through the AP or IB exams for calculus should not request to take the math credit examination.


If after taking the diagnostic test, I am concerned about my ability to succeed in my calculus course this fall, what can I do?

If you have concerns about your readiness for calculus, please discuss them with your First Year advisor right away. We would also suggest reviewing our summer mathematics resources found at


Didn’t find your question(s) here? You can call the First Year of Studies at (574) 631-7421 to speak to a First Year advisor who will be glad to help.