Math Placement Exams


What is the purpose of the math placement exam?

The math placement exam may be taken by students who do not have ACT or SAT scores or by students who would like to challenge their ACT or SAT scores.  You can NOT lower your current ACT/SAT scores by taking this test.  High school students planning to enroll in college level math must have ACT or SAT scores.

When can a student take a placement exam?

Students are only permitted to take placement exams before beginning MTH 100/102/102B or the appropriate course.

Where can a student take the placement exam?

Placement exams are given in Laidley Hall; please call (304) 696-3169 to make an appointment.

What placement test will I take?

  • Students wishing to test out of math 100/102/102B will take the Accuplacer Elementary Algebra placement test.
  • Students wishing to test out of math courses requiring an ACT Math score higher than 19 (or SAT math score higher than 460) will take the COMPASS placement test.

What does a student need to bring with them to take the exam?

  • A photo ID (A valid driver’s license or MU ID)
  • MU Student ID Number
  • $10 cash, check or money order only. (Please bring correct amount.  Change will not be available.
  • There is a calculator available on the computer; pencils and scrap paper will also be provided.

What happens if I score lower than my ACT/SAT score?

Don’t worry.  If the ACT/SAT score has you placed in a higher level class, you will be allowed to stay in that class.

How many times can a student take the math placement exam?

The math placement exam can be taken 2 times during your Marshall University career.  There must be at least one calendar month between tests.

What happens if I don’t cancel my math placement test appointment?

University College must be notified 24 hours in advance when cancelling a placement test.  The first time the appointment isn’t cancelled will result in having to wait 2 weeks to reschedule.  The second time an appointment isn’t cancelled the student will need to wait one month to reschedule the appointment.  By cancelling the appointment with adequate notice we are able to offer the appointment to a fellow student.

Should I study before taking the placement exam?

Yes, come to the assessment prepared.  If you don’t take the test seriously, you won’t be successful.  We only have a 12% pass rate from one class level to another because students “just show up” to take the test and have not taken the time to refresh their algebra skills.  The test is difficult and is similar to the ACT/SAT math test; so, if you had difficulties with that test without preparing, you will see similar results on the placement test.

What type of math problems can I expect on the test?

  • Accuplacer elementary algebra test:  The Elementary Algebra test, comprised of 12 questions, measures your ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems involving elementary algebraic concepts. There are three types of Elementary Algebra questions:
    • Operations with integers and rational numbers: topics include computation with integers and negative rationals, the use of absolute values, and ordering.
    • Operations with algebraic expressions: topics include the evaluation of simple formulas and expressions, adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials, multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, the evaluation of positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring.
    • Solution of equations, inequalities, word problems: topics include solving linear equations and inequalities, solving quadratic equations by factoring, solving verbal problems presented in an algebraic context, including geometric reasoning and graphing, and the translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions
  • COMPASS College Algebra Test:  Mathematical items in the COMPASS College Algebra Test focus on algebra knowledge and skills in a variety of content areas.  The majority of items come from the following areas:
    • Functions
    • Exponents and Complex Numbers
    • Arithmetic and Geometric Sequences and Series
    • Matrices (basic operations, equations, and determinants)

If you are not familiar with one of the above topics please review the study guide or use the below links to practice:

Questions or Comments?

Contact University College