Well, be careful about being too anti-math too soon. People do change their minds about what they want to do, and at least some mathematics is important in many fields--you may be surprised by the programs which have required math courses. Also, good performance in your high school math courses can be important for getting admitted to the University in the first place.

Now, on to the minimum. The University has a Fundamental Studies mathematics requirement. It is possible to meet this by suitable community college transfer credit, certain AP test scores, or an SAT Math score of 600 or above. Otherwise, to meet this requirement, you will have to take a math course at UMD, such as MATH 110.

BUT! To succeed in such a course, you need high school math at least through Algebra II. In fact, to be allowed to take such a course, you will have to get a suitable score on the University's Mathematics Placement Exam (because we want you to have a reasonable chance of success). If you come to UMD and don't get such a score, then you will be required to take (and pay a special fee for!) a non-credit-bearing "developmental" mathematics course preparing you in the high school mathematics you need. The University launched a very creative and effective revolution in its developmental mathematics courses -- but really, you don't want to take them. You don't want to start college by paying high tuition for the opportunity to take high school math without academic credit. It is better to arrive prepared to move forward.

Each year, hundreds of students are not prepared, and are forced to take the developmental math courses. Since you hate math, what do you do to avoid this?

  1. Be strong in algebra. Be sure your work includes Algebra II. You can get an idea of what we consider to be essential in high school algebra by consulting our online syllabi for the courses MATH 001 and MATH 002. If your algebra skills are bad, then you will have trouble with math forever, even the minimum courses for satisfying the University Fundamental Studies math requirement.
  2. Try to learn the math you take. In the short run, it's easier to cut corners, but in the long run it's much less work to understand the math, rather than being stuck in the position of trying to produce adequate work when you don't understand what you're doing.
  3. Take four years of math. The University strongly recommends (on PAGE ONE of the undergraduate catalog!) four years of high school mathematics. If you haven't had math in over a year and then try to restart the motor ... this is a big risk factor.
  4. Review before the Placement Exam. As you approach the University and get within a few months of taking the Math Placement Exam, you can look at our information and advice for preparation for the exam.
  5. Take the Early Math Placement Exam. Tens of thousands of Maryland high school students have taken our Early Math Placement Exam at their high schools. This is a no-penalty, no-cost exam similar to the real thing; we grade the work and send students and their advisors individual feedback on preparedness, depending on student career interests.