Preparation for the CPE

As a placement exam, the goal is NOT to "pass" the CPE. The purpose of the exam is to place students in the MOST APPROPRIATE Math course. Therefore, while it can be helpful to review material that will be on the test, extensive studying or "cramming" can be detrimental to a student's overall success by placing them in a class more advanced than their current level. Likewise, guessing is discouraged as it may lead to a higher score than is appropriate for the student.

The CPE has two parts. The first part cover topics in College Algebra. The second part covers material from Trigonometry and Precalculus. Students who want to place into Math 71, Calculus for Business and Aviation only need to take Part I. Students who want to place into Math 30P, Math 30, or Math 42 will need to take both Part I and Part II. 

To be placed into Math 30 or Math 30P, students need to demonstrate a basic knowledge of four years of college prep math, the same math covered in Math 19 (Precalculus). Specifically the topics needed are college algebra, trigonometry and properties of elementary functions. To be placed into Math 71, students need to demonstrate a basic knowledge of math covered in Math 8 (College Algebra), or Math 19 (Precalculus). You should not have to prepare for the Calculus Placement Exam unless, you have been away from the study of mathematics for many years though a little bit of review certainly will not hurt. The exam is designed to test what you need to know on a daily basis to understand the content of Calculus. It is important to be well rested so you can think clearly when you take the CPE.

Practice Test

If you feel you need to prepare for the Calculus Placement Exam, they you may want to do the Practice Test available online that has questions similar to the ones on the exam. The practice test requires users to create an account. Here are directions for how to create an account and view the test.

  • Students trying to place into Math 71 will only need to review Part 1. Students trying to place into Math 30 or Math 30P should review both Part 1 and Part 2.
  • The practice exam has more questions than the actual CPE.
  • For a more extensive review of the material covered by the CPE check out a standard Precalculus textbooks such as Precalculus, by Sullivan, 7th Edition. Read and solve problems in chapters 1.1-1.3, 2.1-2.6, 3.1-3.2, 3.5-3.6, 4.1-4.6, 5.1-5.6, 6.1-6.8, 7.1-7.4, 8.1-8.3, 9.1-9.4, 10.1-10.2, and 10.7, which covers functions, graphs, polynomials, rational functions, inverse functions, logarithmic and exponential functions, analytic geometry and trigonometry.