How Amsterdam University College evaluates international applicants’ math proficiency

Amsterdam University College (AUC) is a highly selective institution that offers an interdisciplinary Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences. It is a joint program of the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije University Amsterdam.

Kasia Malarek is an Admissions Officer and Lecturer at Amsterdam University College.

Challenge

AUC provides a unique interdisciplinary program that allows students to apply for three majors: Sciences, Social Sciences, and Humanities. Each of these majors has specific math requirements that need to be met. 

This institution has a diverse student body comprising individuals from 45 countries and various educational backgrounds. Determining the suitability of applicants based on their math abilities is challenging. Before making any decisions, the admissions team must consider multiple factors, such as the applicant’s qualifications, course content, assessment type, and style. 

During the admissions process, AUC evaluates applicants not only at a diploma level but also compares their individual math programs, which is demanding since the curricula, grading cultures, assessment methods, and grade distributions can differ significantly in each country. 

AUC works with two categories of applicants. The first type comprises students from larger, well-known educational systems such as the Dutch VWO, International Baccalaureate, European Baccalaureate, and A-levels. The second kind includes students from less-known educational systems whose math programs cannot be assessed. Before using OMPT, validating students’ math levels was complicated. As Kasia explains:

“We tried to understand the educational system we were working with. This takes a lot of work and changes on a yearly basis. So, it was tough to compare the math programs. We looked at the curricula, the grade distribution and the available information. But we have learned over the years that that is not enough because these differences not only consist of differences in material or assessment methods but also in how students use these skills.”

So, they were looking for an objective solution to provide a fair and sturdy selection process in their admissions.

Solution

For several years now, AUC has been using the OMPT exams in their admission process for cases where it’s difficult to evaluate students’ math proficiency. They work with three exams: OMPT-A for their Social Sciences major, OMPT-B for Sciences, and OMPT-C for Humanities. Each type of exam is aligned with the skills needed to succeed in the program. These tests have proved to be the right solution for students and admissions:

“What is great about these exams is that the applicant can take a test in the comfort of their own home. But also because it’s proctored, it assures our results are accurate.”

OMPT facilitates worldwide access. Additionally, this solution offers resources to help students improve their math proficiency and be well-prepared for their exams and future courses. AUC encourages applicants to take advantage of the preparatory materials and mock exams provided by OMPT. 

Usually, candidates are responsible for paying for OMPT with other institutions. However, for this academic year, AUC has decided to cover its applicants' costs. They have set an earlier deadline for submission of the math exam on the 1st of July. This gives them a better view of eligible candidates and relieves the burden of financing from them. AUC assumes these costs even before assessing the eligibility of the students.

Results

To illustrate our use of the exams, Kasia provided data from their course showing the number of students per attempt and their average score. In order to pass, students must receive a minimum score of 75%. AUC allows a maximum of two attempts to avoid assessing candidates based on a bad exam. As Kasia explains: 

“We think this gives applicants a nice opportunity not to be very stressed about their exam and to have in mind that they have their second attempt.”
Table with AUC applicants' OMPT results

AUC is pleased to have found a solution that helps them save time assessing qualifications while ensuring fairness, transparency and consistency. In Kasia’s words:

“Now we can compare students from different educational systems that we don’t know much about. We can predict how well they will do in the program because, together with the results of the OMPT, you get more detailed information, showing how the candidate did in more particular aspects of the exam. So we have a great indication of the general and specific skills required to complete each major successfully”.

At OMPT, we are thrilled to assist leading institutions like AUC in their efforts to support their diverse applicants and guarantee students’ math readiness.

If you have any questions about OMPT, please get in touch with us at info@omptest.org.

Interested in math admission testing?

Schedule demoContact us