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 Basic Skills Test
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What is the Basic Skills Test?

The BST is an assessment test that covers high-school mathematics skills that are essential for the passing of a university-level calculus course. We recommend that students registered in Math 110 take the optional Basic Skills Test as a way of assessing their math skills. Those who score 15 or higher out of 30 will be eligible to take Math 180 or 184. Those who score 15 or higher out of 30 and who have also completed a high-school calculus course will be eligible to take Math 100, 102, or 104.


Why is this test in place?

The data from past final exams show that 75% of students' mistakes are related to basic high-school materials. Students often understand the concepts from calculus, but their algebra tools fail them when they are solving problems. The test will show you where your basic weaknesses are, and will provide you with means to improve.

Students who do not receive a score of 15 out of 30 on the basic skills test will take Math 110 which reviews necessary background material in addition to covering the calculus content of Math 100, 102, 104, 180, or 184.


When and where will the test be given?

The next sittings of the BST will take place in 2014.  The first sitting, which gives students an opportunity to qualify themselves for MATH 180, which is being offered in Term 1 of the summer, will take place on May 13th, 6:00 to 7:30 pm.  All sittings are in LSK Room 121.

You can only take the test once a year. The test will last for 90 minutes and will be given only on the Vancouver campus of UBC. If you need to take the test, you are encouraged to do so as early as possible, so that any resulting rearrangement of your course timetable can be done before the start of classes.

The second sitting of the Basic Skills Test for 2014 will be on August 28th, at 6:00 pm, in LSK Room 121.  When that sitting fills up, we will offer other sittings on the same day at different times.  The third sitting will be on September 4th, at 6 pm, in LSK Room 121.  When that sitting fills up, we will offer other sittings on the same day at different times.  The location for all sittings will be LSK Room 121.

****Please be aware that, those who do not have the regular pre-requisite, a grade of 80% or higher in a Pre-Calculus 12 or equivalent course, will not be able to take  MATH 180 unless a passing score on the BST is achieved.  You will be removed from the course and will not be allowed to re-register.****  In that circumstance your option is to take MATH 002 at UBC or a Pre-Calculus 12 course during the summer.


What will the format of the test be?

The test will consist of 30 questions and will be administered on computers.  The test includes both multiple-choice and open-ended questions.  We will provide you with paper to work out your answers on.

sample test  is provided.


What are the contents of the test?

  • Algebra: 50%
  • Analytic Geometry: 25%
  • Functions: 25%
  • Trigonometry, logarithms, inverse functions, and statistics will not appear on the test.


What aids are allowed for the test?

  • Calculators are not allowed.
  • Electronic communication devices are not allowed.
  • Formula sheets will not be provided and are not allowed.


What do you need to bring to the test?

  • Pencil and eraser
  • UBC student number
  • Photo ID with your full name clearly shown


How difficult is the test?

The level of difficulty will be similar to the sample test above.


How do I prepare for the test?

  • Try to do the sample test provided above.
  • Take a practice test (courtesy of SFU). Feel free to ignore questions referring to trigonometry, logarithms, and inverse functions, since they will not appear on UBC Basic Skills Test.
  • Take the diagnostic tests A, B, and C in Calculus, Early Transcendentals, 6th edition by James Stewart. Even if you don't have this textbook, you can access these tests by clicking here.
  • Go to the Stewart Calculus website and work on the problems from the Algebra Review and Analytic Geometry Review.
  • Review materials from Grades 10, 11, and 12.