# Math Placement Exams

**What is the purpose of the placement exam?**

The 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 098/099 or the appropriate course.

**Where can a student take the placement exam?**

Placement exams are given on the first floor of Laidley Hall; please call (304) 696-3169 to make an appointment.

**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.

There will be a calculator available on the computer for student use, 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 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?**

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 student “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 math test so if you had difficulties with that test without preparing you will see similar results on the COMPASS math test.

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

The test is adaptive to your skills so as you answer questions correctly, the items will advance in difficulty. As you answer questions incorrectly, the questions get more basic. The number of questions you have will be based on your skill level however there is a minimum of 12 questions.

Mathematical items in the 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 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:

- Video Lessons from the Khan Academy – http://www.khanacademy.org
- Algebra topics from Purplemath – http://www.purplemath.com/modules/index.htm
- COMPASS sample questions from ACT – http://www.act.org/compass/sample/index.html
- MyOpenMath sample questions for COMPASS test- https://www.myopenmath.com
- COMPASS Test Prep – http://www.testprepreview.com/compass_practice.htm
- ALEKS free math diagnostic test – http://www.aleks.com
- Under the “Higher Education” heading select “Free Trial” and follow the directions.

**Questions or Comments?**

Contact University College

304-696-3169