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Skidmore College
Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning Requirement Prior to 2020

The information below is for students who entered Skidmore College prior to the Fall of 2020 who are under the old All College Requirement. If you started in the Fall of 2020 or later, you are under the new requirements and should go to the For Students link in the Navigation Menu.

The Quantitative Reasoning Requirement requires students to demonstrate competence in basic mathematical and computational skills by the end of their sophomore year as described below (this is called QR 1), and then to successfully complete a designated course in Quantitative Reasoning (referred to as a QR 2 course) by the end of their junior year. These courses, offered by a variety of departments, may involve mathematics, statistics, or other numerical operations appropriate to the discipline in question, as well as the use of computers for the manipulation of mathematical, social scientific, or scientific data. All QR 2 courses require as a prerequisite the completion of the basic skills portion of the QR requirement (QR 1).

All incoming students must demonstrate competence in basic mathematical and computational skills by passing the QR1 Requirement. This can be done in one of three ways:

  1. By achieving a score of at least 630 on the Old MSAT I examination (taken January 2016 or earlier), a score of at least 650 on the New MSAT I examination, a score of at least 570 on any Mathematics SAT II subject examination, or a score of at least 28 on the math ACT examination.
  2. By achieving a score of at least 20 out of 25 on the Skidmore Quantitative Reasoning Examination. This exam is offered during New Student Orientation to students who have not otherwise satisfied QR1. The exam will be offered periodically throughout the academic year. Students may take the exam up to four times, but to satisfy QR1 they must pass the exam during their first year.
  3. By successfully completing MA 100 (Quantitative Reasoning). This course is required for all students who have not passed QR1 by the end of their first year, and it must be completed by the end of their sophomore year. It may also be elected in the first year by students who have not passed QR1 and feel that their quantitative skills and/or confidence are particularly weak. Note, however, that MA100 satisfies QR1 but not QR2.

Many students will be interested in taking a designated Quantitative Reasoning course (QR2 course) during their first semester at Skidmore. Incoming students are encouraged to pre-register for such courses, but they must have fulfilled the QR1 basic proficiency requirement to remain enrolled. This is done via the SAT or ACT score (as described above), by passing Skidmore's QR1 Exam during New Student Orientation, or by retaking and passing that exam during the initial add-drop period (first week of classes). If after up to two attempts during that period the exam has not been passed, then the student will be required to withdraw from the QR2 course.

Questions regarding QR1 can be directed to:

Kim Newsom (Email Kim Newsom) or Csilla Szabo (Email Csilla Szabo)

TEST SCORE LEGEND (For students entering prior F'2020):

Best Math Placement (BMP)
Score = 1: QR1 not fulfilled
scored below 630 on Old MSATI (taken January 2016 or earlier)
scored below 650 on New MSATI
scored below 570 on SATII (M1, M2, C1, C2)
scored below 20 on Skidmore QR1 Test (can take up to 4x in 1st year) scored below 28 on ACT

Score = 2: Fulfilled QR1 Requirement
scored 630 or higher on Old MSATI (taken January 2016 or earlier)
scored 650 or higher on New MSATI scored 570 or higher on SATII (M1, M2, C1, C2)
scored 20 or higher on Skidmore QR Test
scored 28 or higher on ACT
taken and passed MA100

Frequently Asked Questions

We want you to have control over the decisions you make that involve numerical data. If you plan to major in business, a social science, or a physical science, the need to master quantitative information is obvious - you must use such reasoning constantly in your college work and beyond. However, those of you outside of these majors will also have to employ quantitative reasoning to answer questions such as which bank to use for savings, which loan to take for a new car purchase, for what duration to request the loan, how much to charge for an oil painting on which you've worked for months, whether or not to itemize deductions on your income tax, and whether or not to believe statistical statements made by business or political groups.

We cannot avoid numerical information as we carry on our lives in the new millennium. We would like you to be able to assimilate this information critically.

Incoming students have already met the QR1 requirement (and may proceed to a QR2 course without taking the QR1 Exam) if they present any of the following test scores upon admission to Skidmore:

  • A score of at least 630 on the Old MSAT I examination (January 2016 and earlier)
  • Or a score of at least 650 on the New MSAT I examination (March 2016 and later)
  • Or a score of at least 570 on any Mathematics SAT II examination
  • Or a score of at least 28 on the mathematics portion of the ACT examination.
  • If you applied to Skidmore as a test-optional applicant, you may still use qualifying scores to fulfill your QR1 requirement.  Please visit the Registrar’s office during Orientation to verify your qualifying scores.

All other new students must demonstrate competence in basic mathematical and computational skills (QR1) through one of the following means:

  • By achieving a passing score on the Skidmore Quantitative Reasoning Examination.  This exam should be taken during New Student Orientation (see the Orientation schedule for the exam and review session times and places); if you do not pass the exam at this time, you will have several opportunities during the academic year to retake the exam and will be informed as to those times and dates, as well as the times and dates of review sessions. Students may take the exam up to four times, but to satisfy QR1 they must pass the exam during their first year.
  • Or by successfully completing MA-100 (Quantitative Reasoning) by the end of their second year.

QR2 courses require more developed quantitative skills and have the QR1 requirement as a prerequisite.  Many academic fields have introductory courses that require these skills, for example: CH115 (Fundamentals of Chemistry), EC 103 (Introduction to Macroeconomics),   CS 106 (Introduction to Computer Science), GE 101 (Earth Systems Science), MS 104 (Introduction to Statistics), and MA 111 (Calculus I).  If you are unsure if a course is QR2, the course description will provide this designation.  Please visit the College Catalog for all course descriptions (

Whether or not you preregister for a QR2 course in your first semester depends on your academic strengths and interests. As noted above, introductory courses in several disciplines are QR2 courses, and so require the satisfaction of the QR1 requirement as a prerequisite. If you do want to enroll in one (or more) of these QR2 courses for the fall, follow the steps below to help you assess your readiness.

First, you must work through the online Practice QR Exam.
Go to:

Second, when you finish, make note of how many of the 25 questions you answered correctly (on the first try).

If the answer is 17 or better, then you have an excellent chance of achieving a passing score (20 out of 25) on the actual exam during Orientation, so go ahead and sign up for the QR2 course(s) you want to take in the fall.

However, if you only answered 16 or fewer questions right, then you should consider not taking a QR2 class in the fall. This delay will give you the entire fall semester to be sure you pass QR1 (remember, you get 4 chances to pass the exam), and then you can go ahead with QR2 in the spring.

If you sign up for a QR2 course in the fall and do not pass the exam during orientation (you can take the exam twice during orientation), then you will work with your faculty mentor to change your course schedule.  

Again, we strongly advise you not to sign up for a QR2 course if you do not do well on the QR practice exam.  Trying to change your schedule after failing the QR exam during Orientation can be difficult because many of the courses you might want to add to your schedule may be filled by then.

In past years about two-thirds of incoming first year students have fulfilled the QR1 requirementeither through their SAT scores or through passing the QR1 exam given during Orientation period. Use the practice exam as a guide to making an informed choice about your abilities in quantitative reasoning. If you can handle the questions asked with facility and confidence, you should be ready to take a QR2 course (and pass the QR1 exam, if need be). If you find that certain skills have eroded but can be refreshed with practice, then by all means practice those skills! If you find the sample questions to be very difficult or intimidating, you may want to consider enrolling in MA100 early on to shore up your quantitative skills as a foundation for other studies, including a subsequent QR2 course.

The QR1 requirement must be fulfilled by the end of the second year. Although satisfaction of the QR2 requirement may be accomplished as late as the second semester of the third year, the QR requirement is a Foundation Requirement, so we encourage you to satisfy it as early as possible. Of course, you must balance how and when you satisfy this requirement with your own particular interests as well as with the need to satisfy the other curricular requirements.

Please take the practice QR examination on the following web site:

The practice exam will prove very helpful as you consider courses for your fall-semester schedule.  The practice exam contains quantitative questions typical of our actual exam and provides answers as well.  

Review sessions will be offered during Orientation and during the semester.  QR tutors and the QR coordinator are also available to answer questions.

Review Sessions will be offered:

  • Tuesday, September 3, 2019, 8:30 – 9:45 a.m., Gannett and Davis Auditoriums
  • Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 4 – 5:15 p.m., Davis Auditorium
  • The first Thursday of every month, exact dates TBA
The QR1 exam consists of 30 multiple choice questions on basic arithmetic and data interpretation. Of these 30 questions, 5 will be experimental questions and will not factor into your QR score. The remaining 25 questions, the operational questions, are used to assess your QR result. The 5 experimental questions are interspersed among the 30 questions. To pass the exam, you must get 20 out of the 25 operational questions correct.  (Please note, it is common practice on standardized tests to include experimental questions). There is no time limit for taking the exam.

The basic arithmetic questions test your ability to manipulate whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percents, and will include questions dealing with applications of these concepts to consumer issues. In addition, there may be questions involving practical geometry. Students who have mastered the basic arithmetic operations and their proper application should find this section very easy; however, those who have not taken courses involving arithmetic for several years may find this section more difficult.

The data interpretation questions test your ability to read and understand data presented in words, tables, and graphs. To perform well on this part of the exam, you should be familiar with the construction of pie charts, histograms, and scatter plots, should be able to employ the mean, median, and mode in the analysis of a set of data, and should be able to predict behavior based upon analysis of linear and exponential graphs. Lastly, you should be familiar with the basic concepts of probability.
The QR exam will be offered:

  • Tuesday, September 3, 2019, Harder 201, 202, and 203
    • 8 – 9:45 a.m. (for students enrolled in a QR2 course)
    • Noon - For students with last name starting with A-F
    • 1 p.m. - For students with last name starting with G-L
    • 3 p.m. - For students with last name starting with M-R
    • 4 p.m. - For students with last name starting with S-Z
  • Wednesday, September 4, 2019, 5:15 PM, Davis Auditorium
  • The first Friday of every month, exact dates TBA
  • After the start of the semester, you may also take the QR exam by appointment.  Please contact Kim Newsom ( or Csilla Szabo ( to make arrangements.

Please bring:

  1. Your Skidmore ID
  2. No. 2 pencil
  3. Calculator (if you plan to use one for Part II of the exam)
The QR1 exam has two parts: an initial 8 questions on arithmetic on which calculators may not be used, and then 22 more questions. If you wish you may use any calculator on the second part of the exam. (Note that you must supply the calculator and cell phones are not permitted!)

Incoming students will receive information about the application process for testing accommodations for students with disabilities at Skidmore from Student Academic Services in orientation materials.  Please contact Meg Hegener ( with any questions or concerns related to the application process.  Following your application, eligible students can make arrangements for accommodations for the QR1 exam by contacting Kim Newsom ( or Csilla Szabo (

The results of the QR1 exam will be emailed to students and their advisors. A minimum score of 20 out of 25 is required.

If you answer fewer than 20 of the operational questions correctly, you will be allowed to retake the exam up to 3 additional times in your first year, and you will fulfill the QR1 requirement by passing the exam at one of those retakes. You will be notified of the dates for the retests, and there will be scheduled review sessions before each testing date. Also, you may contact the Department of Mathematics and Statistics to review your exam, find out what areas you need to strengthen, and take practice exams to build confidence. QR tutors and the QR coordinator are available for additional tutoring.  In the event that you are unable to pass the exam by the end of the first year, you will be required to complete MA100 successfully by the end of the second year in order to satisfy the QR1 requirement. This course (MA 100, Quantitative Reasoning) features an intensive review of arithmetic and an introduction to data analysis.

Any first-year student who does not pass the QR1 exam may elect to fulfill the QR1 requirement by successfully completing MA100, rather than by retaking the QR1 exam; however, this option is primarily for those with serious quantitative deficiencies. Students with very weak arithmetic skills are encouraged to preregister for MA100.

For further help or advice, call or e-mail Kim Newsom, Administrative Assistant, Mathematics and Statistics Department at 518-580-5280 or e-mail or Csilla Szabo, QR1 Coordinator, at 518-580-8421 or email