More students pass chem & bio ASEs this year

During freshman orientation this year, over 39 percent of the incoming freshman class sat for Advanced Standing Exams to receive credit for a variety of classes. The overall passing rate for ASEs was 59 percent, which is slightly higher than the past two years’ average of 55 percent.

Freshmen performed unusually well on the 5.111 (Principles of Chemical Science) ASE this year, Julie Norman, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education told The Tech.

“This year’s pass rate was 32.3 percent; in the past 12–18 percent has been the traditional pass rate,” she said.

The number of students taking the exam, 443, was also up from last year’s 398, Norman said. The pass rate on this year’s 7.01x (Introductory Biology) ASE was also significantly higher than in previous years: 55 percent of students who took the exam this year passed, up from the 38 percent averaged over the last four years.

For the math and physics General Institute Requirements (GIRs), ASE pass rates deviated little from their past values. This year, 36 percent of students passed the 8.01 (Physics I) ASE, while 56 percent of students passed the 18.01 (Single Variable Calculus) ASE. The average rate over the last four years has been 37 percent for 8.01 and 52 percent for 18.01.

ASEs offer students an opportunity to receive credit for prerequisite classes, allowing them to move on to higher-level courses. With a few exceptions, MIT does not award credit for AP or IB classes, which often do not cover all the material in an MIT GIR.

Although most ASEs resemble the course’s final exam, Sooraj Boominathan ’19 found that “the 5.112 OCW materials definitely helped more that the 5.111 materials in preparation for the chemistry exam. The ASE was definitely harder than the 5.111 final posted on the OCW page.”

Some students chose not to take ASEs, even though they had the necessary high school experience.

Cannon Vogel ’19, decided not to take the 8.01, 18.02 and 18.03 exams, choosing instead to re-learn some material in order to “build firm backgrounds in the subjects.” Vogel does not regret his decision: “The professors are really good at taking things I thought I knew and twisting them into problems that are actually difficult.” Vogel also said that not jumping into new material right away has given him “more time for friends and activities.”