Math the Final Frontier:


On most days I’ll have at least one or two students sitting across from me with this pervasive problem. They’ve completed everything to apply, and they still need to pass the math placement test, or in the case of our nursing students the math placement test and the TEAS (Nursing Pre-Admission) test.  You can see the frustration hang in clouds around them as they come to the common issue of mastering math before a deadline.  Let us call these two students Sigma (∑) and Mu (µ).

“Do I really need to do this?” Mu asked with a
hopeful glance that I will say no. “Is there someone I can talk to” Sigma plaintively asked, looking to be absolved from the burden of dealing with math.  Again I have to break the news that no, they must meet all established requirements.  Math for most of the allied health and nursing programs is not something to be taken lightly. The placement test requirement is there to make sure a student is well equipped to deal with the mathematical concepts present in the different disciplines.  As such it must be taken to heart that passing the test is not just meeting a requirement, but signaling that you are at least in part ready to tackle the challenge ahead.

Sigma stirs and says, “I’ve completed a degree….I don’t need to take the placement test do I?”  The short answer is always yes; all students are required to demonstrate that they are able to operate at the prescribed math level.  Not all degrees require college-level math courses and as such a student may in fact still need to take a test.  If a student has transferred college-level math to NOVA than a test is not required. For all others taking the math placement test is a must.

“Ok, I get it. I’m going to have to take the math placement test?  What can I do now? I’m ‘terrible’ at math,” grumbles Mu. At this point in the visit, the hope starts to drain out of a prospective student, swallowed up by the idea that this abstract assortment of esoteric knowledge will hold them back in their march forward.

Most students do not realize that they can prepare for the math placement test like any other test. They also do not understand that there exists a wealth of resources to get them up to speed in almost any topic imaginable and they’re all for free.  The cost to the student is the time and effort it takes to understand the material.  (Easier said than done right?)  Nothing comes easy, but at the end of the day, the question is how bad you want/need it.  For some students, this will mean taking a developmental math course for a semester or two, and potentially missing a deadline. For others, it will involve setting aside other commitments to focus on the primary objective.  Math does not need to be the end of the road, often it is just the beginning of it.

Take the time to look over the following links as you prepare to take a step towards your goal.

The first step is to review the Math Placement Test site on the NOVA website.  It offers a wide variety of links that may assist you. For many students the practice test and review packet is sufficient.

Placement test information:

Review Packet:

Some students will wish to practice their math skills before taking the exam. Khan Academy is a free online school.  Students typically find that practicing on this site at least an hour a day for a week or two  gets them ready for the test.

Math Practice:

If you are not able to pass the required units that your program application requires, you will then be required to take a developmental math course.  Developmental math is not a four letter word, but an opportunity for you to grow academically and better prepared to succeed in your program of choice.


Student Development (SDV) – Your Entrepôt to Success

For many students the idea of attending college feels daunting or overwhelming. A student might ask themselves, why should I go on for another two, four or eight years of school?  Perhaps that student has a relatively well paying job lined up for them straight out of high school.


Some students will find success outside of college or through some sort of post secondary education. However for the vast majority of people young or old seeking an advantage in today job market earning a college degree presents the best pathway to financial success.   The Center on Education and the Workforce detailed in their most recent publication The Economic Value of College Majors the importance the right credentials can have.  For those students that opt not to complete a degree they can expect their lifetime earnings to be significantly lower than their peers that did.

At NOVA, we strive to facilitate your educational goals and provide courses that maximize your potential.  NOVA requires students to complete a Student Development (SDV ) course. This prepares a student to get the most out of their time in higher education. As part of the course you will learn and hone the skills necessary to excel in higher education regardless of your current level of achievement. At the Medical Education Campus we offer several sections of SDV that meet any schedule.  SDV 100 and SDV 101 sections are available this summer and fall. If you are willing to commit the time and energy and education at NOVA will be  yield rich rewards. SDV is the first step in that journey to life long success.

For those students with tight schedules we offer SDV as an eight week meeting once a week for an hour and forty minutes.  Our SDV 100 (58345) starts this fall and meets every Thursday from august 24th until October 20th.


You can view a listing of SDV courses available at the Medical Education Campus HERE. You can also find more offerings by logging into MYNOVA and doing a  class search in SIS.

New look New links

NOVA has a fantastic new website designed to work better on your mobile device.  Be aware that some of your old bookmarks may no longer work. Take some time now to find your favorite NOVA websites and update your bookmarks.