Most information on this page is geared toward incoming students, but much of the information provides guidance for **ALL **students (regardless of major or degree program of interest) that have questions regarding math course sequencing, placement, enrollment, reevaluations, etc. Information specific to incoming math majors is linked below.

### Undergraduate Education

### For Incoming Math Majors…

Please review our Information for New & Potential Mathematics Majors page for information on initial major advising and planning.

### Quick Notes

Any additional questions that are not answered on this page can be forwarded to the Math Placement Advisor at placement@math.wisc.edu.

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### Prerequisite Enforcement

In general, we strictly enforce prerequisites on all of our math courses, so students are expected to satisfy the prerequisites or place into a course before enrolling in subsequent courses. More information on enrollment eligibility based on placement test scores and transfer credit is below.

### Course Enrollment & Selection

Course enrollment and selection is based upon recommendations relating to a student’s plan of study, goals, placement test results, and their AP/IB/transfer credits, and so it is important for a student to discuss course selection with their advisor. For example, we have multiple different flavors of calculus and so not all students that place into calculus will take the same course!

### Waitlisted Sections

Students that would like to enroll in a waitlisted section of a course should attempt to enroll in an open section of the course if possible. Otherwise, enrolling on the waitlist is the next best route to take. Note that waitlisting for a course **does not guarantee enrollment**; the only guarantee to enroll in a course is to enroll in an open section. Students are expected to check their emails daily to check if they have been given permission to enroll off of the waitlist, as waitlist permissions do expire after a certain time.

### Getting Help & Support In Your Math Courses

The Math Learning Center (MLC) is a great place to get help in mathematics. The MLC offers many different types of support for a number of math courses.

### Reviewing for Your Math Course

The Math Learning Center (MLC) maintains a review page with resources and suggestions to help you with reviewing for your math course.

## The UW Math Placement Test

### General Information for Incoming Students

Incoming students are notified upon admission on which placement test(s) they need to take upon entry to the University and before their SOAR date.

UW-Madison students are required to take the **Math B** exam. Math B is the **proctored **version of the UW System Math placement test, while Math A is the **non-proctored** version of the placement test. *Both versions are designed to test the same set of skills.* The only difference is that Math B is proctored and UW-Madison does not accept Math A results. The Math B exam is offered both in-person as a paper and pencil test, and online via Live Remote Proctoring. Both freshman and transfer students taking the test after March 2023 can select any of the options labeled “Math B”.

All incoming freshmen **must **take the math placement test (Math B version), and transfer students are notified of their need to take it based on previous coursework. Students who do not have college transfer credits or college credits in mathematics and want to take math classes need to take the math placement test.

The SOAR website has more information on how to register for placement tests. The SOAR FAQs page has a section specific to placement tests.

### How Placement Is Determined

Information on the placement test and an overview of our placement algorithm can be found here.

The **only** exception to math placement is course credit (more on this below). Students must adhere to their placement test scores for enrollment in math coursework except in cases of course credit or retakes.

### Courses Available Via the Placement Test

The courses that students can place into span a number of areas, levels, etc. Students attending SOAR can and should have conversations with their academic advisors regarding appropriate math courses to enroll in based on their areas of interest.

Please see our courses page for an overview of some of our early-sequence math courses based on the placement test, as well as an early-sequence “math flowchart”.

## The Placement Test & Course Selection

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### Do I need to take the UW math placement test?

**All incoming freshmen are required to take the UW math placement test.**

Transfer students are informed which placement test(s) they are required to take via email. More information on placement testing for SOAR students can be found on the SOAR website.

### How do I sign up to take the placement test? When should I take it?

The SOAR website has information on how to sign up for the placement test and when to take it.

If you attend your SOAR date without having taken the placement test by the specified date, you may not be able to enroll in math courses until you’ve completed the test and received your scores.

### How do I view my placement test scores?

Testing and Evaluation Services should have notified you regarding when you can expect to see your scores. To access your placement test scores, please see this page for directions.

### Which math courses do my scores make me eligible to take?

More information on placement test results can be found here.

### My placement test scores are missing, even though I took them by the deadline for SOAR. Who should I contact to get them posted?

You should fill out the **Missing Placement Test Scores report** form on the SOAR website, and then someone will reach out to you regarding getting the scores posted.

### I don't think my placement level is appropriate for me based on my math experience. Can I retake the placement test?

Retaking the placement test is an option if a student thinks their current scores do not accurately represent their knowledge of the material. Except in the case of transfer credit, there is no exception to math course placement.

Please see our information on retaking for more details.

### Can I enroll in a course above my placement level?

In general, we strictly enforce prerequisites on all of our math courses, so students are expected to satisfy the prerequisites or place into a course before enrolling in subsequent courses.

Students are **not** permitted to enroll in courses “above” their math placement. The **only** exception to math placement is course credit (more on this below).

### Can I enroll in a course below my placement level?

Students are welcome to enroll in courses “below” their placement, though we try to discourage it, as the placement test is a good indicator of proper math placement. Students in this case may consider doing some review for the course they placed into before deciding to enroll in a course “below” their placement.

That said, should you decide to enroll below your current placement level, please send an email to placement@math.wisc.edu to ask for help with enrollment if you’re not able to do so on your own.

### I placed into MATH 96, and not into the MATH 96 or 141 placement level. What does that mean?

MATH 96 is a remedial-level math course that some students must complete in order to graduate from UW-Madison, and other students must complete if they intend to take subsequent math courses that require college-level algebra. The requirement to take MATH 96 is based on placement test scores on the UW math placement test and is intended to ensure that you have adequate preparation for subsequent mathematics or Quantitative Reasoning A (QRA) courses at UW-Madison. If you **need** to take MATH 96, the expecation is that you will do so in your first semester. You are required to complete MATH 96 within your first 30 credits.

If you are required to take MATH 96 you will see a notation regarding “math remediation” on the top of your DARS report. This means you are required to take MATH 96 before you are eligible to enroll in any other mathematics course **and **any course that satisfies the QRA requirement for all UW-Madison students (including courses that satisfy this requirement outside of the Math Department).

If your placement test scores give you an option to take MATH 96 or MATH 141, you will see “MATH 96 or MATH 141” on your placement test results. You should work with your academic advisor to understand which of these two courses, if any, is best for you in your particular situation. If you need to take precalculus (i.e., MATH 112 and 113, or 114), then MATH 96 is where you should start. If your intended major does not require any precalculus or beyond, you can take any of the other courses that satisfy QRA (if needed), including MATH 141.

If you think your scores on the UW math placement test do not accurately reflect your skills, you can retake the math placement test. See here for more information. If your scores on the retake are higher, you may no longer be required to complete MATH 96. Retaking the math placement test as soon as possible will help ensure that you are in the appropriate courses in your first semester and will help us ensure that you are on track to graduate on time.

*Note that students that place into MATH 96 should have a full conversation with their academic advisor to determine which courses or actions are most appropriate based on the student’s areas of interest. A student that places into MATH 96 may not need to take it depending on other factors.*

### Should I choose MATH 96 or 141?

**If there is even the slightest possibility that you may need to enroll in precalculus (e.g., MATH 112 or 114) at some point in the future then MATH 96 is the course you should take.**

MATH 141 is a terminal, QR-A math course that does not lead to enrollment into higher-level math classes, and its completion does not imply preparedness to move on with our precalculus coursework. However, if you are very confident that you just need a QR-A course, MATH 141 is one option.

We maintain a courses page that gives some more in-depth information on the courses and choosing between them.

*Please check in with your advisor to determine which option would be best for you; there are other QR-A courses outside of MATH 141 as well!*

### Should I pick precalculus (MATH 112 and/or 113, or 114) and MATH 221; or MATH 171 and MATH 217?

It should be noted that either pathway is equally effective, though which course a student should more heavily consider is based on their goals.

We maintain a courses page that gives some more in-depth information on the courses and choosing between them.

### Should I pick MATH 211 or 221?

Depending on academic goals, students should work with their advisors to carefully consider whether MATH 211 or 221 is most appropriate for them.

MATH 221 is the most commonly taken calculus course at UW-Madison, and is accepted as a prerequisite for MATH 222, which then leads to the rest of the mathematics curriculum. On the other hand, MATH 211 is primarily taken by Business majors, and is only a prerequisite for MATH 213, which is then a terminal course with respect to the mathematics curriculum. That is, students cannot take the MATH 211/213 course sequence and then continue into the “main” calculus sequence. For this reason, students should take MATH 221 if there is even the *slightest* chance they will require or want further mathematics courses. Students who take MATH 211 and change their mind later will be required to go back to MATH 221.

Even most Wisconsin School of Business non-direct admits should heavily consider MATH 221 if given the option, as MATH 211 has less utility outside of the Wisconsin School of Business. Even so, some programs in the Wisconsin School of Business require MATH 221, however! All students should check with their advisors to determine which course is most appropriate. Students who are interested in more advanced courses in mathematics, statistics, data science, engineering, modeling, etc. should likely opt for MATH 221.

We maintain a courses page that gives some more in-depth information on the courses and choosing between them.

*Confirm with your advisor that you’re enrolled in the appropriate calculus course!*

## AP Scores, Transfer Credit, Reevaluations & Credit Exams

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### I took AP Calculus AB/BC and got an A in the class, but didn’t take the exam, and placed lower than calculus. Can I take MATH 221 (or higher)?

No. Assuming you have no other transfer credit for math coursework that would qualify you for MATH 221, course enrollment eligibility is based upon your placement test. We do not evaluate a student’s preparedness for calculus based solely on high school coursework.

### I took calculus coursework at my high school that was not for college credit, and didn't place into calculus. Can I take MATH 221 (or higher)?

No. Assuming you have no other transfer credit for math coursework that would qualify you for MATH 221, course enrollment eligibility is based upon your placement test. We do not evaluate a student’s preparedness for calculus based solely on high school coursework.

Students who took substantial calculus coursework in high school but did not receive college credit may be interested in the Calculus Credit by Examination page.

### I took things like AP, IB, A-Level, CLEP, etc. What do those give me credit for?

For an overview, refer to this page from Registrar.

### I have transfer credit for a math course. What does this mean?

If a student has transfer credit for an **equivalent **UW-Madison course (i.e., a named course, like MATH 221) then this credit can supersede a student’s placement via the placement test.

Transfer credit can get complicated, so students should connect with their advisor to discuss it.

### I'm considering retaking a math course that I already have equivalent transfer credit for at UW-Madison. What do you recommend before I make that decision?

You may consider checking out these links to get some ideas on how to refresh your knowledge of math course topics:

We usually recommend that students start off in and attend the first class of a subsequent course before deciding whether to retake a course they already have credit for.

We assume that students enrolling in a math course will have a **strong** understanding of the prerequisite materials. If a student wants to retake a course then that is perfectly fine, but they should consider whether it is a good use of their time, especially if they already have a strong grasp on the materials presented in the course.

**NOTE: **different schools and colleges at UW-Madison have varying policies regarding retakes. For example, here is the College of Letters & Science’s page on retake policies. These may be slightly different for students in other schools or colleges (like CALS or Engineering), and so **we strongly suggest that a student speak to their advisor before retaking a course**. A common point to make, though, is that you **cannot **earn degree credit for the same course twice, so transferring in a course and then taking that same course at UW-Madison will **not **grant you degree credit for the retake course.

### I have transfer credit for precalculus, but I placed into precalculus based on my placement test results, and I want to enroll in MATH 221. What are some things I should keep in mind?

In a case like this, our suggestion moving forward is that the student works with their advisor to determine which data point (the placement test or the transfer credit) is indicative of their preparedness. Do they feel comfortable moving into calculus given the discrepancy of having credit for precalculus but placing lower than MATH 221? (Did they just have a bad test day? Did their precalculus course not go too well?)

Such students are encouraged to do some review to gauge their comfort level with precalculus before deciding to move into MATH 221:

Two things to consider are:

- There is evidence that suggests that students with credit for calculus
*despite*lack of adequate algebra knowledge, function knowledge, etc. but nevertheless make use of their credit to move into more advanced courses (including repeating calculus) tend not to do as well in future technical coursework as their peers. - If a student is interested in working on these skills, then the right course to take is probably MATH 114 or the MATH 171/217 sequence. (Differences between the MATH 114/221 and MATH 171/217 routes can be found here.) That is, taking MATH 221 will
refine precalculus material since it is*not*of students who are enrolled in the class.*presumed*

Having underprepared precalculus skills may lead to poorer outcomes in MATH 221 (and beyond), so if precalculus is something a student is not comfortable with then caution should be taken before moving ahead.

### I have credit for MATH 221, but my placement test scores place me into precalculus. What are some things I should consider if I want to move ahead to further math coursework?

Students who transfer in with MATH 221 but place into precalculus are eligible to enroll in coursework which requires completion MATH 221–such as MATH 222–since they have satisfied prerequisites. Placing below calculus via the placement test does *not *mean that a student must enroll in precalculus.

However, in a case like this–a student may have credit for MATH 221 but their placement test scores place them below calculus–our suggestion moving forward is that the student work with their advisor to determine whether the placement test is indicative of their preparedness. Such students are encouraged to do some review to gauge their comfort level with precalculus before deciding to whether they’d like to take formal precalculus coursework here at UW-Madison:

If after review a student feels underprepared, then note that students with (relatively) underprepared algebra skills and function knowledge (i.e., precalculus) tend to have poor outcomes in college-level math courses (including Calculus 2). In particular, this correlation is stronger than grade or advanced standing in Calculus 1. In such a case, we would suggest that the student consider precalculus or equivalent before moving on, even if they do earn credit for MATH 221 via some means.

Two things to consider are:

- There is evidence that suggests that students with credit for calculus
*despite*lack of adequate algebra knowledge, function knowledge, etc. but nevertheless make use of their credit to move into more advanced courses (including repeating calculus) tend not to do as well in future technical coursework as their peers. - If a student is interested in working on these skills, then the right course to take is probably MATH 114 or the MATH 171/217 sequence. (Differences between the MATH 114/221 and MATH 171/217 routes can be found here.) That is, taking MATH 221 will
refine precalculus material since it is*not*of students who are enrolled in the class.*presumed*

Having underprepared precalculus skills may lead to poorer outcomes in MATH 221 (and beyond), so if precalculus is something a student is not comfortable with then caution should be taken before moving ahead.

### I transferred in credit for an equivalent precalculus course (MATH 96, 112, 113, or 114). I am planning to enroll in MATH 211. What options do I have?

If you intend on enrolling in MATH 211 and have transfer credit for:

- MATH 96, you can enroll in MATH 112, then MATH 211.
- Note that MATH 114 is
*not*the suggested precalculus course after MATH 96, unless you were to place into it.

- Note that MATH 114 is
- MATH 112, you may enroll directly into MATH 211.
- MATH 113, the Math Department can help with course access to MATH 112, after which you would qualify for MATH 211 enrollment.
- MATH 114, you may enroll directly into MATH 211.

Alternatively, you may consider taking the math placement test to place into MATH 211 directly, if you place appropriately. The placement test may also qualify you for more appropriate precalculus coursework. More information on taking the math placement test–as well as placement test retakes–can be found above.

**NOTE:**all incoming freshmen are required to take the placement test, and transfer students are notified of which placement tests they need to take.

### I transferred in credit for an equivalent precalculus course (MATH 96, 112, 113, or 114). I am planning to enroll in MATH 221. What options do I have?

If you intend on enrolling in MATH 221 and have transfer credit for:

- MATH 96, you can enroll in MATH 112, then MATH 113, then MATH 221.
- Note that MATH 114 is
*not*the suggested precalculus course after MATH 96, unless you were to place into it.

- Note that MATH 114 is
- MATH 112, you can take then MATH 113, then MATH 221.
- MATH 113, the Math Department can help with course access to MATH 112, after which you would qualify for MATH 221 enrollment.
- MATH 114, you may enroll directly into MATH 221.

Alternatively, you may consider taking the math placement test to place into MATH 221 directly, if you place appropriately. The placement test may also qualify you for more appropriate precalculus coursework. More information on taking the math placement test–as well as placement test retakes–can be found above.

**NOTE:**all incoming freshmen are required to take the placement test, and transfer students are notified of which placement tests they need to take.

### I transferred in credit for MATH 211. I need to establish credit for MATH 221. What options do I have?

Some students who transfer in **MATH 211** credit will need to establish **MATH 221** credit for their programs or coursework of interest. We maintain a courses page that gives some more in-depth information on the courses, some sequencing differences, and other considerations. MATH 211 and MATH 221 are often **not **interchangeable in terms of course prerequisites or program requirements, and MATH 211 alone is not a prerequisite to MATH 221. **Students should always ****have a conversation with their academic advisor if they are uncertain about whether MATH 221 is necessary given their academic plan.**

Below are some options for establishing MATH 221 credit:

- We
*strongly*suggest that you consider taking the UW math placement test. This would give us an indication of your placement and would allow you to enroll directly into MATH 221, should you place into it. Note that we do allow a retake.**NOTE:**all incoming freshmen are required to take the placement test, and transfer students are notified of which placement tests they need to take.

- If you decide that you do not wish to take the math placement test, then given your credit for MATH 211, the Math Department can waive you into the following courses (which you can request by emailing placement@math.wisc.edu):
- MATH 112, after which you must complete MATH 113 to enroll in MATH 221.
- MATH 114, after which you can enroll in MATH 221.
- MATH 171/217, which is equivalent to the algebra/trigonometry/221 sequence but taught in a different format. More information can be found here.

- If you feel qualified, you can consider taking the MATH 221 calculus exam for credit.
- If you were to take this exam and earn credit for MATH 221, but not place into MATH 221 via the math placement test
*or*you feel that you do not have a strong grasp on precalculus, note that we have resources linked above for students who place into precalculus with calculus credit. It is important to be comfortable with precalculus topics before moving ahead with math course sequencing.

- If you were to take this exam and earn credit for MATH 221, but not place into MATH 221 via the math placement test

### I have transfer credit for a math course, but I believe it should transfer in as something else and would like a reevaluation. What can I do?

Students should submit any syllabi that they’d like to have reevaluated via the Course Reevaluation Request form. Note that:

- You must submit the syllabi from the semester/term in which you took the course.
- The form only takes in one syllabus at a time.
- You are
**strongly encouraged**to submit all sequential math courses for review even if you are receiving transfer credit for one or more of them.- For example: You have taken a Calculus I and Calculus II course at your previous institution. Calculus I transferred as electives (or MATH 211), but Calculus II transferred as MATH 222. You should submit
**BOTH**your Calculus I and Calculus II syllabi for review, as it may be the case that the combination of both courses are equivalent to our MATH 221 and 222.

- For example: You have taken a Calculus I and Calculus II course at your previous institution. Calculus I transferred as electives (or MATH 211), but Calculus II transferred as MATH 222. You should submit

For assistance in deciding which syllabi to submit, or for enrollment in mathematics courses in general, please email Kyle Martinez at placement@math.wisc.edu to ask for some help.

### I completed a math course elsewhere, but my math transfer credit (via AP/IB/A-Level/college coursework/etc.) has not posted to my student profile yet. What should I do?

There are a few reasons why your transfer credits are not be reflected on your record, which may include:

- An updated transcript was not received by the Office of Admissions with your math course on it;
- Your AP/IB/A-Level exam scores were not received by UW-Madison in time for your SOAR appointment;
- Your transcripts were very recently received and the credit has not been posted yet;
- If you took the course as a high school student and did
**not**enroll in it for**college-level credit**, we cannot grant college credit for the course and so credit will not be posted; - A mistake was made, and the credit hasn’t been posted yet.

The first step should be to contact the UW-Madison Office of Admissions to inquire about why your credit has not been posted yet.

**If you are looking to enroll in a math course:** if you have unofficial **college** (i.e., **not **high school) transcripts with the course(s) reflected on it, or if you have unofficial score reports for AP/IB/A-Level exams, please attach these as PDFs in an email to placement@math.wisc.edu with a **brief **summary of your situation. In general, once we see evidence that transfer credit *will* be granted then we can grant permission for immediate enrollment into the appropriate coursework while you work on getting the credit posted.

Information on downloading an AP score report can be found here.

### I'm taking a course right now that should transfer as an equivalent UW-Madison math course. Can I get advance permission to enroll in a math course that uses it as a prerequisite?

No. We must have verification that the course in question was taken *and *passed. Here are the steps that should be completed in order to request enrollment permission for subsequent math coursework:

- Complete the course. After the course has been completed and a
**final grade has been posted**, please send your unofficial transcript (i.e.,**not**a grade report) in PDF form to placement@math.wisc.edu with a brief overview of your situation, as well as a reminder of what math course you need permission for. - Keep an eye out for an email from someone in the Math Department with information on enrollment. Permission could take a couple business days, so please be patient.

Do keep in mind that other departments may have different policies on this.

### I took substantial calculus coursework in high school or college that can't/won't be transferred as equivalent calculus courses at UW-Madison. I think that I know enough of the material to get credit for calculus courses at UW-Madison. What are my options?

The Mathematics Department offers exams to students who want to earn credit for MATH 221, MATH 222 and/or MATH 234. The exams are offered the first week of the fall and spring semester.

These exams are intended primarily for freshmen who have taken substantial calculus courses in high school, or for transfer students who did not get transfer credits for a calculus course taken at another institution, and who desire to establish college credits for MATH 221, MATH 222, or/and MATH 234. It is open to undergraduate students only.

Students who have been or will be granted calculus credit by other means—such as through AP exams, transfer credit, etc.—do not need to take these exams. Students who are not sure whether they should take one or more of these exams should check in with their advisors.

More information is listed on the Calculus Credit by Examination page.

### I have transfer credit for MATH 101. What does this mean?

MATH 101 is a course that is no longer offered, but was used as preparation for college-level algebra coursework. It can be used as a prerequisite for MATH 112, 114, 141 or 171. Students that have MATH 101 but are having trouble enrolling in one of these courses can be referred to a math consultant, or can email placement@math.wisc.edu for some more help.

## Linear Algebra, Honors Calculus & WES-Calculus

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### I would like to take a linear algebra course, but I don't know which to take. What should I enroll in?

We offer four main introductory-level linear algebra courses:

- MATH 320
- MATH 340
- MATH 341
- MATH 375

All of these courses are slightly different and offer different experiences/topics. One course may be suggested over another depending on a student’s goals and program(s) of interest.

A more in-depth look at our linear algebra offerings can be found here.

### What is the MATH 375/376 (Honors Calculus) sequence? What are the requirements to enroll, and how do I apply if I'm interested?

**Honors Calculus** is a year-long sequence of two courses–MATH 375 and 376–which serves as a more theoretical and advanced alternative to multi-variable calculus (MATH 234), differential equations (MATH 319), and linear algebra (MATH 341). The goal of these courses is to provide highly motivated and well-prepared students with an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of these fundamental areas of mathematics.

This is a rigorous and challenging sequence** and is open to students outside of the Honors Program!**

Please see our MATH 376/376 page for more information on the sequence, enrollment prerequisites, and the enrollment application form.

### What is WES-Calculus, and how can I enroll if I'm interested?

WES = Wisconsin Emerging Scholars. Essentially, some calculus courses have sections which are smaller (~15-20 students), meet more often (6 hours/week rather than 2), and are more intensive. Students in these sections do well compared to the others in the class. WES-Calculus sections also add on an extra 2 credits!

For more information, see the WES-Calculus page.

## Need Some More Help with Enrollment, Scheduling or Placement?

## Getting Help

Students that would like some help with questions/issues regarding enrollment, class scheduling, and placement can review the Enrollment, Scheduling & Placement Help page.