PHYSICS PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC
The Physics Placement Diagnostic is open (as of August 1). Please review the information on this page and then CLICK HERE to enroll in the Canvas course that has the link to the 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, or just interested in physics! The Physics Placement Diagnostic is an online tool that will recommend the initial Physics course in which to enroll.
Incoming students should review the Placement Tests & Diagnostics webpage for information regarding all the placement tests & diagnostics offered. Most students enrolling in an entry-level Physics course should take the Math Placement Diagnostic preferably before taking the Physics Placement Diagnostic.
WHO SHOULD TAKE THE PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC?
You must take the Placement Diagnostic if you intend to enroll in PHYS 41E 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, 40/41A/E, 43, 45, or 61. This applies regardless of any AP, IB, A-Level or other advanced or transfer credit you may have.
WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE THE PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC?
The Placement Diagnostic will help us guide you on which Physics course/sequence you should take, and where you should start in a 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 courses. 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 is offered online and will open a month before Autumn quarter registration opens. It will close at 3 PM Thursday of week 3 of Winter quarter. Taking the Diagnostic will allow you to receive advice and ask questions so that you can plan your classes more effectively; therefore, take the Diagnostic earlier rather than later!
WHAT SHOULD I HAVE WHEN I SIT DOWN TO START THE PLACEMENT DIAGNOSTIC?
You should complete the Math Placement Diagnostic before you take the Physics 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 choosingphysics [at] stanford.edu (choosingphysics[at]stanford[dot]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 [at] stanford.edu (choosingphysics[at]stanford[dot]edu)
If you are taking the Diagnostic so you can enroll in one of the intro Physics classes, please bear in mind that while the Diagnostic advisory emails go out almost immediately, completion of the Diagnostic will not immediately fulfill your enrollment prerequisite. If you complete the Physics Placement Diagnostic by 3 PM on Friday you should be able to enroll in a calculus-based Physics class on the weekend. If you complete the Physics Placement Diagnostic after 3 PM on Friday, you will receive an email within 7 days letting you know when the system has processed the diagnostic and you are able to enroll. If you are a continuing student at Stanford and complete the Physics Placement Diagnostic by 3 PM on Tuesday before registration opens, the Physics Placement Diagnostic portion of your hold should lift before registration opens. Incoming frosh and transfer students, please make sure you complete the Physics Placement Diagnostic well before registration opens for you and no later than 3 PM, the day before frosh/transfer registration opens.
While we absolutely do not recommend adding a Physics class on Friday of week 3 since the first midterms are typically on week 4, if you do decide to add that late, bear in mind that you must complete the Physics Placement Diagnostic by 3 PM on Thursday of week 3.
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 [at] stanford.edu (choosingphysics[at]stanford[dot]edu). You will get instructions for taking the Physics Placement Diagnostic from choosingphysics [at] stanford.edu (choosingphysics[at]stanford[dot]edu) within a week of sending in the letter.