My community college won’t let me take Pre-Calculus?

TLDR; My community college says I don’t test into Pre-Calculus

I am having dilemma as far as being accepted into the math courses in order to transfer into the degree for my major. Going to community right now and want to transfer to a 4 year. The school I want to end up attending is UMASS Lowell.

So I am a chem engineering major, and I have now successfully completed Chem 1 & 2, and have taken physics courses at community college. These did not have a math perquisite. However one of the requirements of the degree is to have taken Calc 1, 2, 3.

Is anyone familiar with the software Blackboard? For math courses there is module 70s or module 80s. 70s is for liberal arts majors and 80s are for STEM majors. I had already completed the 70s from the previous liberal arts degree I had. Also before going back to college again, I had completed Mods 80-83 and skipped out on 84 and 85. Just to prepare myself for the degree I was about to enter. I never thought it would be a testing requirement.

So I was informed by my college I “did not test” into Calc 1 without having taken Pre Calc first. I then go to signup for Pre Calc, and I’m informed because I did not complete all of the 80 modules, that I could not be accepted into Pre-Calc either.

Flash forward to this semester. They wouldn’t allow me to take a full semester because they explained I only had two modules left to take, so they signed me up for a “mini-mester” which is only a month and a half. To make a long story short I did not complete the last two algebra modules (radical exponents and expressions) in time, and because of that my B+ grade changed to an F grade, even though I already took the class before. I did not believe that was possible. I was told I could retake the course over again if I was willing to pay for another semester and start over from the beginning.

Each chapter/module requires you to fill out a 100 page workbook scanned and emailed to the professor. Get above an 80 on 5 sections of the chapter which contains 30 questions each, pass the online quiz and then test with written work scanned and submitted.

This seems sort of bizarre for me. Isn’t there another way to be accepted into pre calculus which is the lowest level of math? I already took these algebra courses in high school but it has been many years since I was last in high school and never took SATs. It’s holding me back from taking the math courses I need for the degree I want, and is now affecting my GPA with an F grade.

Why didn’t you complete the last 2 modules? If there are extenuating circumstances you might be able to request an incomplete. If not, can you take precalc someplace else and transfer the credits?

Math is very sequential. In order to take Calc 2, you need Calc 1. In order to take Calc 1, you need precalculus. In order to take precalculus, you need its prerequisites which seems to be Mods 80-85 at your school. You haven’t completed Mods 80-85, so you can’t sign up for precalculus. It was nice of them not to make you take the entire 80-85 course. Precalculus may be the lowest level of math taught at your CC, but it’s not the lowest level of math. At your CC, you will have to show completion of Mods 80-85.

Did you complete Algebra II/Trigonometry in high school? That’s the usual prerequisite for precalculus.

Blackboard software has nothing to do with prerequisites.


Cool. That’s what I was wondering. So everyone has to test into even the lowest level math that is offering. I was not aware of this. I assumed high school was enough.

However yes, I did complete Algebra II in high school. This of course was a decade ago. Just wanted to make sure there wasn’t a better option before singing up for another semester.

Now I was originally under the impression that if you score high enough on your SATs, you automatically qualify into the programs you want to take and don’t need placement tests.

To answer the above question, funny you mention. I was told I only needed to complete four modules to pass the course so that is what I did. Only come to find I needed to complete all six modules to test into pre-calc. I am fully prepared to complete them if I have to.

Each program and each college is different in what they require for admission to their programs. You have to go with what your school says is required.


I’ve read through your previous posts, back in July. Most of the advice is the same that you will be receiving on this post- the only advice that matters is the advice from your current community college and UMass transfer staff.

You seem to be having an issue with only taking your own advice. This is why you are running into issues, with credits here and credits there, and missing crucial information because you’re making a lot of general assumptions that you believe should be right. But your assumptions have nothing to do with the schools’ requirements and the articulation agreements they have with the universities.

If you are “under the impression“ that you wouldn’t need to take placement tests at a CC, then that’s your mistake, not the CC’s placement office. After several years out of high school people, tend to “forget” things. Your SAT score, from high school is in the past; you took it as a high school student.

Your CC is making sure that you can handle the information that will be presented in the classroom so that you don’t out and out fail. They want you to succeed.

If you’re applying as a new engineering student to your in-state university, you need to be aware that engineering is extremely competitive. (I have four engineering graduates in my family).
My daughter wanted to take a specific engineering course at a local CC for the “fun of it” during a recent summer. (She had an electrical engineering and computer software degree at the time). She was required to take a math placement test before she could sign up for the course. (It may have been a lower level environmental or bio engineering course. I don’t remember which.) The CC had rules, and one of the requirements was a math placement test and she didn’t mind taking it.

If you make a lot of assumptions, without going to the admissions advisors, who are directly affecting your future, then you’re going to have a lot of hits and misses. This will adversely impact whether or not you even get into an engineering program with too many units and misguided steps. Following directions and sequences, in upper level engineering courses, is crucial to your success.

So far, it sounds like you’re unwilling to follow the hierarchy of the recommended steps to admission requirements. You’re on this website seeking to confirm your erred assumptions and if the CC and the University are correct. Please re-read your previous post answers and recommendations from this past summer.

My best advice to you would be to stop listening to yourself, and what you assume to be correct, and what you think should be right. Go instead to the source.


You really need to double check that the physics courses you’ve completed will count toward your engineering degree. It is extremely unusual for an engineering curriculum to accept non-calculus physics for the engineering prerequisites.


I am in constant communication with advisors and staff at the college I attend. When I first applied to my community college I took a placement test. I did not test high enough to make it into calculus or precalculus. The school advised me that if I wanted to meet the requirements I would have to take “preparation for college math”, and at this community college the requirements are these five chapters/modules I have been taking. I showed them my high school transcript of math courses and the staff spoke with me saying it would “not enough to meet the requirements” and they wouldn’t allow me to apply to pre calc.

If this didn’t work out, I was willing to find another community college that had easier testing standards, because I only have so long to drop the course before it counts as an F grade. I was sort of surprised I did not make it into pre-calc as I was ready to jump into calc 1. I was wondering if it was common or sounded accurate for a college to deny entry to pre-calculus which I would have believed is a very “easy” course. Looking for second opinions out there from other students to see if my college is being honest and if this is common.

On a sidenote, I enjoy chemistry. Math has never been my strong point. I love chemical engineering, but have never been “naturally” good at math or enjoyed it. It’s always been a large struggle for me personally, but UMASS Lowell only requires a 2.0 GPA for transfer students. I’m going to shoot for much higher than that obviously.

Which semester are you planning on transferring? You will take a math placement test most likely then as well.

You did not complete the modules at the CC for whatever reason so retake it or see what you can take somewhere else. Study before the placement test so you get into trig/calc. It is usually Algebra II stuff that throws off the placement test. Look online at UMass Lowell or UMass Boston for math classes that line up and take their placement test instead.

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