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Placement Diagnostic

PHYSICS PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC

The Physics Department's introductory course offerings are described here.   We offer introductory physics courses for students majoring in science and engineering, as well as non-technical courses for students majoring in humanities and social sciences.  An advisory Physics Placement Diagnostic is offered online. 
 
WHO SHOULD TAKE THE PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC?
 

You must take the Placement Diagnostic if you have never taken an Introductory Physics course at Stanford (i.e., you have not taken at least one of PHYS 21, 23, 25, 41, 41A/E, 43, 45, 61, 63, 65) AND you would like to enroll in one of these courses:  PHYS 21, 41, 41E, 43, 45, or 61.

WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE THE PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC?

The Placement Diagnostic will help us guide you on which Physics sequence you should take, and where you should start in the sequence, so that you are sufficiently challenged without being overwhelmed. The Placement Diagnostic is meant to be a useful tool to help students calibrate their readiness for the different physics sequences. It is not meant to be a barrier to entering courses. Our goal is to ensure that each student successfully completes the first physics course they take at Stanford. The physics teaching staff will provide advice to each student based on their placement-diagnostic results.

WHAT DOES THE PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC COVER?

The Placement Diagnostic covers both conceptual understanding and quantitative skills in mathematics and introductory physics.  It is intended to assess your existing command of the material; thus, it is neither necessary nor advisable that you study beforehand.  Because the diagnostic is designed to assess a broad range of preparation,  you should not be concerned if you find material in the diagnostic that is unfamiliar.  We will provide you with appropriate advice based on how you do on the entire diagnostic.

WHEN IS THE PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC OFFERED?

The Physics Placement Diagnostic will be offered online  and opens mid-July.  Taking the Diagnostic online will allow you to receive advice and ask questions so you can plan your classes better.  
 
See this page for complete placement test schedules including Physics and other departments.

WHAT SHOULD I HAVE WHEN I SIT DOWN TO START THE PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC?

You should have a sheet of paper for scratch work, something to write with, and your SUNet ID (you will need your SUNet ID to enroll in the placement diagnostic course).
 
Calculators are not needed or allowed.
 
The browsers Chrome, Firefox, Explorer, and Safari are all supported, so please use one of those browsers only.
 
The clock starts once you start the diagnostic -- please make sure you have a 60-minute block of time available. In addition to the diagnostic, there is a separate, brief background survey that you can complete before or after you complete the diagnostic.

WHEN DO I GET FEEDBACK ON MY READINESS FOR THE CALCULUS-BASED PHYSICS COURSES?

Emails will be sent out within an hour of taking the Physics Placement Diagnostic.  The advice will be sent from choosingphysics@stanford.edu to your @stanford.edu email account.  You will be provided with guidance on your placement into a course within a Physics sequence.  Please check your inbox, junk, clutter, and spam folders for this email.  If you do not see the email in any of your folders within an hour of taking the diagnostic, please contact us at choosingphysics@stanford.edu

STUDENTS WITH DOCUMENTED DISABILITIES

If you have a disability or required accommodations in high school, you should contact the Office of Accessible Education (OAE) as soon as possible. The OAE office is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone 723-1066, TTY 725-1067) and their website is oae.stanford.edu/students.  The OAE will evaluate the request, recommend appropriate accommodations, and prepare a letter that you should email to choosingphysics@stanford.edu.  You will get instructions for taking the Physics Placement Diagnostic from choosingphysics@stanford.edu within a week of sending in the letter.