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Skidmore College
815 N. Broadway
Saratoga Springs,
New York, 12866
Quantitative Reasoning Web Site

Why does Skidmore have a Quantitative Reasoning Requirement?

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.

Do I need to take the QR1 Exam, and if so, when?

If you have not fulfilled the QR1 requirement through an adequate SAT or ACT score, then you must take the QR1 exam during the Orientation period (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; you will be informed as to those times and dates, as well as the times and dates of review sessions.

What is the QR1 Exam like?

The exam consists of 25 multiple choice questions on basic arithmetic and data interpretation. To pass the exam, you must get 20 questions correct. A sample QR exam is one of the choices on our QR website outline page (

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.

May I use a hand calculator on the QR1 Exam?

The QR1 exam has two parts: an initial 8 questions on arithmetic on which calculators may not be used, and then 17 more questions on which you may use your calculator if you wish. (Note that you must supply the calculator!) Be sure to look at the sample QR exam on our QR website (

How do I know whether or not I've passed the QR1 Exam?

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

What happens if I don't pass?

If you answer fewer than 20 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 Computer Science to review your exam, find out what areas you need to strengthen, and take practice exams to build confidence. 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.

What happens if I want to take a QR2 Course in the fall but don't pass the QR1 Exam given during Orientation?

In order to be enrolled in a QR2 course, you must first satisfy the QR1 requirement. If you have preregistered for a QR2 course and do not pass the first QR1 exam given during Orientation, then you will be given an opportunity to retake the QR1 examination during Orientation and/or during the add-drop period. You must contact the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science to schedule a retake of the exam. If you pass the retake, you may remain enrolled in the QR2 course. If you do not pass, then you will be required to withdraw from the QR2 course. Remember that you have up to 4 opportunities to pass the QR1 exam during your first year.

How do I know whether or not to preregister for a 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.

Whether or not you preregister for a QR2 course in your first semester depends on your academic strengths and interests. Introductory courses in several disciplines are QR2 courses, and so require the satisfaction of the QR1 requirement as a prerequisite.

In past years about two-thirds of incoming first year students have fulfilled the QR1 requirement either through their SAT scores or through passing the QR1 exam given during Orientation period. Please use the sample QR exam on the website to assess your quantitative skills and plan accordingly. 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.

Do you have any questions?

For further help or advice, call or e-mail Kim Newsom, Administrative Assistant, Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at 518-580-5280 or e-mail