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Placement Exam FAQ

Placement into mathematics and statistics courses can usually be based on your score on the mathematics portion of the ACT. Please see the Department of Mathematics and Statistics Undergraduate Placement and Prerequisites Page for complete details. In some cases students may take a placement test, and that is what is discussed below.


How do I find out if I need to take a math placement exam?
To determine whether you need to take a placement test, and which test you should take, use the adviser robot. Some of the material on the robot is inoperative (in particular, you can no longer take a practice test on line), but other portions of the robot provide some useful information.

Incoming freshmen and transfer students will receive information about placement in the packet of materials sent by the admission office. For more information, please refer to the Oakland University Admissions Page.

Additional information is available on the Department of Mathematics and Statistics Undergraduate Placement and Prerequisites Page. 


I didn't know you offered three different placement tests. Which one do I take?
In most cases, if you want to place directly into MTH 154 (Calculus I), MTH 122 (Calculus for the Social Sciences), STA 227 (Introduction to Statistical Methods), or STA 228 (Statistical Methods for Biology), you must take and pass Placement Test C, which covers advanced algebra and trigonometry. This exam is given during orientation, and it is available in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics office, as explained below.  However, if you scored 28 or higher on the mathematics portion of the ACT, then you may take any of these courses without passing the placement exam.

Placement into MTH 062 (Intermediate Algebra), MTH 121 (Linear Programming, Elementary Functions), MTH 141 (Precalculus), STA 225 (Introduction to Statistical Concepts and Reasoning), or MTE 210 (Numerical Structures) can be based on your ACT mathematics score (see the Department of Mathematics and Statistics Undergraduate Placement and Prerequisites Page). If you feel after discussion with an adviser that your ACT score is not an accurate reflection of your current mathematics preparation (for example, if you took the ACT your junior year of high school and then studied mathematics during your senior year), then you can take Placement Test I (to place into MTH 062), or test R (to skip MTH 062 and place into the other courses listed here).

If you are planning to take MTH 061 (Elementary Algebra) or MTH 118 (Mathematical Sciences in the Modern World), then you do not need to achieve any ACT math score or take a placement test.
 

I took MTH 062 and didn't get a 2.0 or better. Can I now take the Placement Test in order to qualify for MTH 121?
No. The placement process through ACT scores and a short test are imprecise at best. If you have taken a course like MTH 062 (or MTH 061, or MTH 141, or equivalent courses at other colleges), then this will be a much more accurate gauge of what you know and whether you are ready for subsequent coures, such as MTH 121 (or MTH 141, or MTE 210, or ...). We do not permit students to take the Placement Exam in such circumstances. You need to repeat MTH 062 and receive a 2.0 or better. 
 

When can I take the test? Do I need an appointment?
You may take the placement test at the Department office (368 SEB); no appointment is necessary. The test is offered year-round. Just show up between 8 and 11 AM or between 1 and 4 PM. You should allow about one hour to take the test and receive your results. Make sure to bring your OU student ID number (Grizz number, which starts G00...) and your OU e-mail address (and password), which needs to have been activated. Call 248-370-3430 if you need more information. 
 

When is the best time during a semester to take the test?
You should take the placement exam before you register for your first mathematics course.
 

When will I find out my results?
The test is graded immediately after you finish and your placement level will then be explained to you.
 

Where do I go to take the test?
Room 368 of the Science and Engineering Building (the main office of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics). We are in the complex southwest of Kresge Library, in the tower between Dodge and Hannah Halls.
 

How long will the test take?
The maximum time allotted for the I and C tests is 30 minutes. The R test is longer and has a time limit of 45 minutes. Allow an additional 10 minutes to receive instructions before the test.
 

What do I need to bring to the test?
Just yourself and a pencil, although you should come knowing your Grizz ID number and your active OU email address (and password).
 

Can I use a calculator?
No. Calculators, books and notes are not allowed as test aids.
 

Is there any study material I can use? How do I prepare for the test?
The Department does not encourage students to learn new material before taking the test. However, some students have found that reviewing material they have learned in the past has helped them to achieve a better score on the test.

The Department does not offer any training materials specifically tailored to the skills necessary for the placement exam. A good source for reviewing algebra and trigonometry is high school-level math textbooks; some of these are available in Kresge Library.

In addition, here are sample final exams or study sheets for MTH 061 (and answer key), MTH 062 (and answer key), and MTH 141 (and answer key). If you want to place out of MTH 061 (and into MTH 062), you should know the material on the MTH 061 study sheet. If you want to place out of MTH 062 (and into MTH 121, MTH 141, STA 225, or MTE 210), you should know the material on the MTH 062 study sheet. If you want to place out of MTH 141 (and into MTH 154, MTH 122, STA 227, or STA 228), you should know the material on the MTH 141 sample final exam.
 

What happens if I take the test and don't get the placement I want?
If you feel that your placement based on the test result is too low, then you may repeat the test once, after waiting a few days (and studying up on the material!).
 

Is there a fee to take the test?
No, the test is absolutely free!
 

Why do I have to take this test? I took a placement test at another school. Why don't my high school grades count as a placement?
All colleges use different methods of placement. There is no standardized placement test across Michigan. In addition, there is no standardized high school test to measure high school mathematics skills of students upon graduation.
 

What placement will I receive if I have taken the AP Calculus Test?
Please see the Undergraduate Placement and Prerequisites Page for information on Advanced Placement credit.
 

How do I get more information?
Call the Department of Mathematics and Statistics office (248-370-3430). If the secretary cannot answer your question, you will be referred to a department faculty member for academic advising.


Last updated: November 8, 2012. Send additions or corrections (or other comments) to Professor Grossman.