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Frequently asked questions

Does everyone have to take the math placement test?

Almost everyone. There are a very few specific exceptions listed on the page Who Needs It.

Do the results of my math placement test ever expire?

Yes, if you are planning on using the results to satisfy the math prerequisite for a course you want to take. If you do not take that course within three semesters of passing the placement test at the required level, then you will need to take the placement test again and pass it at the required level.

Can I review my math when I arrive at MUM and take the math placement test later?

Yes, but you won’t have much time to do so. Before you arrive you will be given the opportunity to take a practice test and study more on your own using an ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning Module to try to place higher when you arrive at MUM. We strongly advise you to take this opportunity seriously. Alternatively, you can take the practice test and study more on your own when you arrive. The proctored placement test takes place two weeks after you arrive.

What's the best kind of calculator to bring to the test?

None. They aren’t allowed. Cell phones are not allowed either.

If I intend to start at the beginning of the math sequence by taking the course Basic Mathematics, do I still have to take a placement test?

No, but you will need to sign a form that you accept placement into Math 051 Basic Mathematics (the lowest level). On the other hand, it would be much better to take a practice placement test and use an ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning Module to try to place higher. Even if you don’t place higher, it will prepare you better for success in the class Math 051.

If I passed a course in Calculus in high school, do I still have to take a placement test?

Yes. You may opt to try to place out of Calculus or to take the ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning assessment for the preceding courses.

If I have taken a course equivalent to MUM’s Basic Mathematics, Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, Functions and Graphs 1, Functions and Graphs 2, Calculus 1, or Calculus 2 at another college, do I have to take a placement test?

Yes, if your major requires any mathematics courses or prerequisites, or if you intend to take any course with a mathematics prerequisite. The results of the math placement test take precedence over transfer credit at this level.

No, if the course you took elsewhere satisfies the math distribution requirement and your major requires no mathematics in addition to the distribution requirement.

If I don’t do as well on the math placement test as I thought I could, can I study some more and take it again?

Yes, the ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning used at MUM allows you to take the test up to 5 times in a one-year period. Furthermore, it gives you practice between tests.

I would like to study on my own and try to place higher than I did on my initial test. Does MUM provide tutors to help me do this?

No. MUM provides courses for you to review math you don’t remember. It does not have a system of tutors specifically for math placement purposes. However, if there is a math course being taught currently that has a tutor after class, you are welcome to come and ask them questions. The students in the class take precedence if the tutor is very busy. If you would like to hire a private tutor, please ask Anne Dow ( for names and numbers of local tutors in Fairfield. There are also online companies that connect you with personal tutors, although MUM cannot guarantee their quality. One such company is Chegg Tutors.

What if I place lower than a course I took elsewhere on the placement test?

You can still count a course taken elsewhere numbered Math 100 or above for your distribution requirement. However, you cannot use it to satisfy the prerequisite for any course you plan to enroll for at MUM, and you cannot use it to satisfy the mathematics requirements of a major or minor. This same rule may apply to students who completed mathematics courses at MUM in the past and are returning after more than one year to finish their degree.

I am a readmit student. I started my degree a few years ago and now I’m back. Do I need to take the placement test?

Yes, if you left more than one year ago. No, if you left within the past year.

What if I am sick on the day of the test and can’t come? Can I take the test later?

Yes, there will be a time set for a test for those who are not able to come to the initial test for new students. It will be a week later, probably on the next Saturday afternoon. See the Schedule of Tests.

If I place high enough on the math placement test, will that count for my distribution requirement in math?

No. You need to actually take a course in mathematics .You cannot fulfill this requirement by taking a placement test.

If I place out of a course required for my major will that count as units towards my major?

Yes. The units for any course you place out of that is required for your major counts towards the total units required for that major, although the units will not count towards the overall total units required for graduation.

If I only place into Basic Mathematics or Elementary Algebra, does that mean I shouldn’t pursue a math major?

Not necessarily. There have been students at MUM who started with Elementary Algebra and completed a math major. Starting with Basic Mathematics is also possible. But please do consult with your academic adviser in the Mathematics Department about it to see if it is right for you.

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