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Frequently Asked Questions about Math Placement

Frequently asked questions

Does everyone have to take the math placement assessment?

Everyone needs to be placed in mathematics, but not everyone has to take the placement assessment. Exceptions are listed on the page Guide to ALEKS PPL Math Placement.

Do the results of my math placement assessment ever expire?

Yes, but only 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 18 months of passing the placement assessment at the required level, then you will need to take the placement assessment again and pass it at the required level.

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

Yes and no. If we establish at the initial Math Placement Meeting that you need assessment, you must take the scheduled assessment two weeks after you arrive at MUM. However, before you arrive at MUM you may request the opportunity to take a practice assessment and study on your own using an ALEKS PPL module. (Email Connie Eyberg at We strongly advise you to take this opportunity seriously. If you don’t do this, you will be given instructions how to sign up for ALEKS PPL shortly after the initial Math Placement Meeting, and you will still have two weeks before the proctored assessment occurs to take the practice assessment and study on your own using ALEKS PPL. On the other hand, the results of the assessment at this point are not written in stone. You do have the opportunity to use your ALEKS PPL module to study on your own for six months and to take up to three more proctored assessments within a one-year period from signing up. But we need this initial proctored assessment for planning your schedule for the year.

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

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 assessment?

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 or at another college or university, do I still have to take a placement assessment?

Yes. You may opt to try to place out of Calculus 1 or Calculus 2 or to take the ALEKS PPL assessment for the courses that precede calculus.

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 assessment?

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

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

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

Yes, the ALEKS Placement, Preparation and Learning system used at MUM allows you to take the assessment up to five times in a one-year period. Furthermore, it gives you practice between assessments for six months.

I would like to study on my own and try to place higher than I did on my initial assessment. 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 Connie Eyberg at 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. On the other hand, many students find ALEKS PPL quite adequate for reviewing math.

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

You can still count a course taken elsewhere numbered Math 100 or above for your general education 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 assessment?

Yes, if it has been more than 18 months since you took the placement assessment before.

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

Yes, there will be a time set for an assessment for those who are not able to come to the initial proctored assessment for new students. It will be a week later, probably on the next Saturday afternoon. See the Schedule of Proctored Math Placement Assessments.

If I place high enough on the math placement assessment, will that count for my general education requirement in math?

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

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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