PHYSICS PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC
The Physics Department's entry-level course offerings are described here. We offer entry-level 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?
All students: You must take the Placement Diagnostic if you intend to enroll in PHYS 40 or PHYS 41 or PHYS 45 or PHYS 61 AND you have never taken an entry-level 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.
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.
Incoming students should review the Approaching Stanford 2021 course in Canvas for information regarding all the placement tests and diagnostics offered this summer.
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.
You will complete a separate, brief, untimed background survey before you start the diagnostic. Following the background survey you will start on the diagnostic. The clock starts once you start the diagnostic. Before you get started please make sure you have over an hour of time available so you can complete the background survey and the diagnostic in one sitting.
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 email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com. You will get instructions for taking the Physics Placement Diagnostic from firstname.lastname@example.org within a week of sending in the letter.