First math course

You may have done well in high school calculus, maybe even scoring high on your Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate or A-Level math exams. Still, don’t assume you’ve mastered the understanding of calculus needed for college-level engineering courses.

Each Berkeley Engineering major requires Math 1A and Math 1B (two calculus courses) in the freshman year and Math 53 (multivariable calculus) and Math 54 (linear algebra and differential equations) in the sophomore year. The sample tests on this page will help you plot your course.

Can I skip Math 1A and start with Math 1B?  Even if you have met the Math 1A requirement with your AP, IB or A-Level transfer credits, we recommend that you take Math 1A if you have any concerns about your mastery of calculus.

Take the Math 1A final exams on this page. If you can answer the questions easily and know that you have a strong mastery of the concepts tested on these exams, skipping Math 1A may be an option for you. If you can’t solve some of these problems, if you have only a basic understanding of how to complete the questions or if it has been so long since you took calculus that you don’t remember how to solve these problems, you should take Math 1A.

Can I skip both Math 1A and Math 1B and go straight to Math 53 and Math 54?  Skipping Math 1B because you have the transfer credits can also be risky. Many engineering students who score as high as 5 on the AP calculus BC exam perform poorly in Math 53 and 54 if they skip Math 1B. Math 54 will expect you to have a strong knowledge of ordinary differential equations (first order ODE, population dynamics, second order ODE, oscillation and damping, series solutions of ODE). These concepts are taught in Math 1B.

Take the Math 1B final exams on this page. If you can answer the questions easily and know that you have a strong mastery of the concepts tested on these exams, skipping Math 1B may be an option for you. If you can’t solve some of these problems, if you have only a basic understanding of how to complete the questions or if it has been so long since you took calculus that you don’t remember how to solve these problems, you should take Math 1B.

Start your engineering studies with the math course that best prepares you for the demands of college-level work. Talk to your Engineering Student Services adviser if you need more guidance.