If you plan to take economics courses at Williams, and you have no previous background in economics, your first course in our department should be ECON 110. You should not take the placement assessment.
If you have taken an economics course in high school, or you have an Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate exam score, you should take the placement assessment. Department faculty will use the placement results and your economics background — along with any Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate exam scores or A-levels grade — to determine which pathway through economics is the most suitable for you. There are three different pathways:
I. Begin with ECON 110, typically followed by ECON 120 or by a 200-level elective requiring ECON 110: this is by far the most common pathway and is where all students will begin except those who have demonstrated understanding of introductory microeconomics. Students who have demonstrated understanding of introductory macroeconomics but not microeconomics will begin with ECON 110 and then move on to any 200-level ECON course
II. Begin with ECON 120, followed by any 200-level ECON course: this is the pathway for students who have demonstrated understanding of introductory microeconomics but not macroeconomics.
III. Begin with a 200-level elective, followed by the 200-level core theory courses: this is the pathway for students who have demonstrated understanding of both introductory microeconomics and macroeconomics. Students who also have a strong calculus preparation may instead begin with the 200-level core theory courses.
The placement assessment is administered through Glow, the college’s course management service, and will become available on Glow on July 15, 2021. To ensure that placement information is available during registration, the assessment should be completed prior to August 15, 2021. All questions about access to the assessment should be directed to the current placement chair (Professor Gregory Casey: [email protected]).
You will need to activate your Williams College email account to access Glow.
The placement assessment consists of four sections, and should take about an hour to complete.
Section 1: Honor Code Statement
Williams College prides itself on the Honor Code. In this section, you will be asked to acknowledge that you have read the Honor Code statement and that you agree to abide by the code. Note that it is also in your best interest to provide the faculty with a fair description of your background in economics to allow us to place you most appropriately. The placement assessment is closed-notes and closed-book. Access to information and help other than that provided with the placement exam is in violation of the Honor Code.
Section 2: Economics Background
In this section, you will provide a basic description of your math and economics background, including high school economics classes and exam scores.
Section 3: Microeconomics Content
This section consists of approximately 20 multiple choice questions about microeconomics. If you are unfamiliar with the topic in any question, you can always select “I don’t think I’ve seen this before” or “I can’t remember how to do it.” If you have taken macroeconomics but not microeconomics, you can simply select “I don’t think I’ve seen this before” for every question in this section.
Section 4: Macroeconomics Content
This section consists of approximately 20 multiple choice questions about macroeconomics. If you have taken microeconomics but not macroeconomics, you can simply select “I don’t think I’ve seen this before” for every question in this section.
Do not worry if there are many topics you have not seen before. The vast majority of students will not know the answers to most questions in the last two sections. Simply do the best you can.