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During the first week after arrival, all undergraduate students are placed at a particular level of mathematics, which usually involves taking a placement test in mathematics. This is because MUM has a distribution requirement in mathematics and many majors have mathematical prerequisites or requirements.

Every new and readmit student is required to come to the Mathematics Placement Meeting that usually takes place in the first week after the student arrives on campus. At this meeting, students either take a placement test or establish that they don’t need to. A make-up meeting is held about a week later for late arrivals.

All undergraduate students must be placed before they can enroll for any mathematics course or for any course with a mathematics prerequisite.

If a student wishes to use his or her standing in a math placement test to satisfy the prerequisite for a course, that course must be taken within three semesters of the test. Otherwise, the test will need to be taken and passed at that level again.

Where does a placement test place you?

The Comprehensive Mathematics Placement Test places you into a course in the sequence:

  • MATH 051 Basic Mathematics
  • MATH 152 Elementary Algebra
  • MATH 153 Intermediate Algebra
  • MATH 161 Functions and Graphs 1
  • MATH 162 Functions and Graphs 2
  • MATH 281 Calculus 1

For example, if you place into Math 153 Intermediate Algebra, that means you are ready to take the course Math 153 Intermediate Algebra or any course that has the prerequisite Math 152 Elementary Algebra. Two further tests place you out of Math 281 Calculus 1 or Math 282 Calculus 2.

How does the math placement test fit into math placement?

Factors affecting mathematics placement may or may not include taking a placement test given by the Department of Mathematics, official AP Calculus results, COMPASS tests for prealgebra and algebra, etc. See the section Who needs it in the bar on the left for details.

Math Requirements at MUM and How to Satisfy Them (Important)

There are two distinct types of undergraduate mathematics requirements at MUM.

  • Distribution requirement in mathematics: Every undergraduate must pass at least one course (4 units) in mathematics at the level of Math 153 Intermediate Algebra or above. This requirement is not satisfied by passing a placement test at MUM, nor by passing a course in high school, nor by the COMPASS Test. It is satisfied by advanced placement or if a student’s transcript shows a mathematics course at the 100 level or above with grade C or above, taught by the Mathematics Department at an accredited university or college, no matter how long ago the course was completed, and no matter what standing was achieved on any mathematics placement test taken at MUM. It is also satisfied by enrolling for and passing a mathematics course at the level of Math 153 or above at MUM or by passing MGT 314 if a student has been placed by the Department of Mathematics higher than MATH 153.
    In short: The distribution requirement in mathematics may be satisfied by passing a math course at MUM or by transfer credit. It may NOT be satisfied by passing a placement test.
  • Math requirements or prerequisites for the various majors. Some majors do not require any mathematics in addition to the distribution requirement. But if you need a math course for your major or as a prerequisite for any course, then the knowledge needs to be current. Enrolling for and passing a course at MUM does satisfy this requirement. Passing a placement test does satisfy this requirement. (If a student places out of a course that is required for the major then the units for that course count towards the total units required for that major, although the units will not count towards the overall total units required for graduation.) Advanced placement or COMPASS tests at the required level obtained at most two years prior to entry to MUM also do satisfy this requirement. Transfer credit for courses equivalent to Math 051, 152, 153, 161, 162, 281, or 282 does not satisfy this requirement. Since the knowledge must be current, the standing achieved on any mathematics placement test takes precedence for this purpose over courses taken at other universities and colleges. For example, if your transfer credit is for a course at the level of Math 161, and you place into Math 153 on the math placement test, and your major requires Math 153, then the result of the math placement test takes precedence. You would have to take and pass Math 153 at MUM.
    In short: Major math requirements may be satisfied by taking a math course at MUM or by passing a placement test. They may NOT be satisfied by transfer credit.

How is the Math Placement Test administered?

MUM uses the online ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning program for placement from the level of Math 051 Basic Mathematics up through the level of Math 162 Functions and Graphs 2. This provides both initial placement assessment and online personalized resources for improving your skills and retaking the placement test. See the Guide to ALEKS PPL Math Placement.
Note that only ALEKS PPL assessments taken on campus with a proctor provide official placement. To place out of Calculus 1 or Calculus 2, you will need to take separate written tests.

Contact us

For information about math placement, contact Dr. Anne Dow at MUM extension 3431 or

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