Diagnostics Exams


Diagnostic tests in calculus and statistics will be administered for ALL NEW STUDENTS. Students are strongly encouraged to review the key topics in calculus and statistics during the summer. Exams are primarily multiple choice and calculators are not permitted. Students will have 1 hour and 15 minutes to take each test. Only students who have successfully completed prerequisite-level courses in calculus and statistics may take the diagnostic exams. Successful grades on prerequisite level courses and diagnostic exams will allow students to enroll in graduate level courses (ENV 710, Applied Data Analysis and ENV 520, Resource and Env Economics) requiring calculus and statistics as prerequisites.

Those students with low scores relative to their peers will be required to engage in self-study or take remedial coursework prior to diagnostic retesting and preparation for enrollment into various ENVIRON classes with statistics and/or calculus as prerequisites. Avoid this!! Study ahead of time. Again, students who have not successfully completed prerequisite level courses, by the start of fall orientation week, may not take the diagnostic exams. After orientation week, the next opportunity to take the diagnostic exams will be in spring 2020.

Diagnostic tests in calculus and statistics will be available in Sakai July 29 through August 8, 2019.


Exam(s) Eligibility

1.  Only students who have successfully completed prerequisite-level courses in calculus and statistics may take the diagnostic exams. 

2.  Students who are almost done with their summer prerequisite course may take the online diagnostic exams this summer if they feel prepared to do so.

3.  Students who are completing calculus and statistics courses this summer will have a chance to take the diagnostic test during Orientation Week.

4.  Students who are not prepared to take diagnostic exams prior to the start of fall classes will be required to take the tests in the spring semester.


Please Do Not Stress! This cannot be emphasized enough. Although we want students to do well on the diagnostic exams, please do not stress about these tests in advance. The exams are only intended to assess where students are in these subjects at the time that they enroll, and to make sure that students are prepared for graduate level courses requiring calculus and statistics as prerequisites.


Failed the Exam(s)?

ENVIRON 710 is required by their program area, and you fail to pass the statistics exam, you will need to take a remedial course, audit a remedial course or otherwise study sufficiently to improve their knowledge in statistics and earn an adequate score on a retest (given on the first Friday of classes in spring or next fall).  If they earn an adequate score on the retest they will be permitted to enroll in ENVIRON 710 the next time it is offered.

ENVIRON 520 is required by their program area, and you fail to pass the calculus exam, you will need to take a remedial course, audit a remedial course or otherwise study sufficiently to improve their knowledge in calculus and earn an adequate score on a retest (given on the first Friday of classes in spring or next fall).  If they earn an adequate score on the retest they will be permitted to enroll in ENVIRON 520 the next time it is offered.


Review Calculus and Statistics in Advance/Key Topics

We encourage students to review the key topics in calculus and statistics over the summer. You can do this by reviewing the key topics in college level textbooks, working through practice problem sets or taking free online courses (where available).

  • Introductory college-level course in Calculus should include and prepare you in these topics: Algebra (graphing linear equations, solving systems of linear equations); functions (characteristics of functions in one variable, logarithmic functions, exponential functions); calculus of one variable (derivatives, definite and indefinite integrals); calculus of more than one variable (partial derivatives, total derivatives); first-order differential equations (discrete and continuous time, rates of decay, initial conditions)
  • Introductory college-level course in Statistics should include and prepare you in these topics: An introductory college-level Statistics course should include the following key topics: Descriptive statistics, probability distributions, hypothesis testing, confidence intervals, correlation, and simple linear regression

Calculus Review Materials (Duke Resources) 

Calculus Review Session PowerPoint (2016)

Calculus Review Session PowerPoint (2017)

Non-Duke Calculus Resources Below
     Supplemental Online Calculus Review Courses with Study Guide 

  • Khan Academy
    • Calculus 1; Click here to view
    • Khan Academy: Multi-variable Calculus; Click here to view
    • Study Guide for Khan Academy Course work; Click here to view
      • It is likely that the content in the course below exceeds what will be covered on the calculus diagnostic exam. This guide will direct you to important portions off the course as it relates to the diagnostic exam.  
      • Contact- for technical questions about the Khan Academy course site, contact the Khan Academy directly  
  • Coursera


Statistics Review Website & Recording (Duke Resources)

     Supplemental Online Statistics Resources

  • Duke Coursera: Statistics with R (Duke NetID and password required); Click here to login
    • Go to Coursera for Duke
      • Join for free
      • Log in with Duke University
      • New User or Existing User entry points
      • Create a password
    • Search for the “Statistics with R” course
      • Select “Enroll for Free”

Q&A Sessions: Statistics and Calculus 

Pre-work: Students are asked to review the videos and study materials in calculus and statistics prior to attending the Q&A sessions. The purpose of these review sessions are to respond to student questions regarding the key topics in calculus and statistics. Please come prepared with questions. 

  • Date: Wednesday, July 10 at 12:00 pm
    • Access the WebEx Meeting:  Click here to login
    • Meeting Number: 851 779 611
    • The login code for the session is: diagnostics
    • Hosted by: Lane Scher
    • The session is live.
  • Date: Tuesday, July 23 at 12:00 pm
    • Access the WebEx Meeting:  Click here to login
    • Meeting Number: 859 829 392
    • The login code for the session is: diagnostics
    • Hosted by: Lane Scher
    • The session is live.
  • Date: Thursday, July 26 at 12:00 pm
    • Access the WebEx Meeting:  Click here to login
    • Meeting Number: 857 219 473
    • The login code for the session is: diagnostics
    • Hosted by: Lane Scher
    • The session is live.

Exam Dates/Times & Preliminary Instructions

Diagnostic tests in calculus and statistics will be available in Sakai July 29 through August 8, 2019.

You can decide when to take both exams during this window. Both exams can be taken on the same day if you choose. 

Before the exam window opens, we will provide you access to take a sample exam in Sakai so that you can test your internet connection and to make sure that you can navigate Sakai. Please note that limited tech support will be available over the weekend so please keep this in mind when choosing your test date(s).

The diagnostic evaluation is an advising tool to assess your background and knowledge of calculus and statistics.

Keep in Mind

  1. You are not permitted to use books, notes, other exams or calculators during the exams
  2. Questions are primarily multiple choice
  3. You will not need a calculator for the exams
  4. You have 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete each exam
  5. The exam software in Sakai will automatically close when you reach the time limit for each exam
  6. You should save your answers frequently throughout the exam so that you do not lose your work
  7. Do not start the exam until you’re ready to complete it; remember it’s timed.
  8. You are not permitted to confer and/or consult with other students, people or sources during the exam times or after you complete the test(s)

Students who do not take the exams online before arriving in the fall will have the option to take both exams during Orientation if they’re eligible. More details about eligibility can be viewed above. Additional questions about eligibility should be directed to Erika Lovelace, Registrar and Associate Director of Student Administration and Advising.