The UW Math Placement Test

General Information

Taking the UW Math Placement Test

Information on the UW math placement test and retakes (including how to request retake permission) can be found below. Note that retakes should be requested as soon as possible to allow time for communications to be received and access to be processed in time for the above deadline.

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.

Continuing Students

  • Continuing students who have not taken the placement test yet are welcome to do so. Directions for continuing students can be found here.

Students who took their last math course over a year ago are strongly encouraged to take the math placement exam on an advisory basis, even if they are not required to. Placement based on their past work alone is often inaccurate.

Students that would like to retake the math placement test will find more information further down the page.

Viewing Scores

Students can view their placement test scores within two weeks after taking the exam by following these directions.

Placement Algorithm

Math placement (in lieu of transfer credit for an equivalent math course) is based upon an algorithm. A student’s placement test scores are used in combination with the algorithm to determine appropriate math placement. Students with questions about how course selection and eligibility works based on placement test scores should refer to our New Student Placement & Enrollment page.

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Current Placement Algorithm

MFUND AALG TAG Mathematics Course Options
150-355 150-850 150-850 MATH 96 (this course does not count for degree credit)
356-465 150-850 150-850 MATH 96 (this course does not count for degree credit) or MATH 141. Must take MATH 96 if additional math courses are required (for major or as prerequisite to other courses)
466-850 150-485 150-555 MATH 112 (followed by MATH 113 for MATH 221)
556-850 MATH 112 (will not need MATH 113 for MATH 221) or MATH 114 or MATH 171/217 sequence (must take both courses and is equivalent to MATH 114 and MATH 221)
486-535 150-555 MATH 114 or MATH 112 (followed by MATH 113 for MATH 221) or MATH 171/217 sequence (must take both courses and is equivalent to MATH 114 and MATH 221).  [QR-A satisfied]
556-850 MATH 112 (will not need MATH 113 for MATH 221) or MATH 114 or MATH 171/217 sequence (must take both courses and is equivalent to MATH 114 and MATH 221) [QR-A satisfied]
536-850 150-555 MATH 113 (will not need MATH 112 for MATH 221) or MATH 211 or MATH 114 or MATH 171/217 sequence (must take both courses and is equivalent to MATH 114 and MATH 221).  [QR-A satisfied]
556-850 MATH 211 or MATH 221 [QR-A satisfied]

Pre-Summer 2017 Placement Algorithm

MBSC ALG TRG Mathematics Course Options
150-355 150-850 150-850 Remedial status:  If SAT-M>540 or ACT-M>21 then Math 101 OR Math 141, other Math 95 (See Note 1)
356-405 150-850 150-850 Math 101 OR Math 141 (See Note 1)
406-850 150-415 150-850 Math 101 OR Math 141 (See Note 1)
416-495 150-565 Math 112 (followed by Math 113 for calculus 221)
566-850 Math 112 (will not need Math 113 for calculus 221) OR Math 114 OR Math 171-217 sequence (See Note 2)
496-565 150-565 Math 114 OR Math 171-217 sequence (See Notes 2 and 3) [QR-A satisfied]
566-850 Math 112 (will not need Math 113 for calculus 221) OR Math 114 OR Math 171-217 sequence (See Note 2) [QR-A satisfied]
566-850 150-565 Math 113 OR Math 210 OR Math 211 OR Math 114 OR Math 171-217 sequence (See Note 2) [QR-A satisfied]
566-850 Math 210 or 211 or 221 [QR-A satisfied]

Retaking the Placement Test

Important Considerations

We strongly suggest that you retake the math placement test only if you think that your placement level is inaccurate. It may not be in your interest to place into a higher-level course if, in fact, you are not quite prepared for that class.

You only get one chance to retake the test, and your most recent results will be used for placement without exception, even if your most recent results place you lower than your original placement from your first math placement test. Except in the case of college credit for math coursework, we do not make exceptions to a student’s math course placement. Placing lower may extend the amount of coursework you must do, as well as delay access to certain courses.

Be sure you have adequately reviewed your math skills so you will do well on the placement test. Review resources are below.

Retest Permission

Students need to get authorization from a math consultant for all retakes. We have two ways to go about getting retake permission depending on where a student is at:

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During SOAR

During SOAR, students should ask their advisor about retake permission. Advisors will be able to fill out a retake request form on behalf of their student, and a math consultant will be reaching out to the student with more info shortly after.

After SOAR or During Academic Year

After the conclusion of a student’s SOAR appointment or during the academic year, an email should be sent to placement@math.wisc.edu requesting permission to retake the placement test. Retest permission will not be granted before a SOAR session has been attended.

Where, When & How to Retake the Placement Test

Students have the option to retake the placement test after having received permission from the Math Department.

Immediately below are policies and considerations for retaking.

If you are in need of or would like to request disability accommodations, please see the Retake Exam Accommodations section further down the page for more information.

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Retake Scoring Timeline, Format/Modality & Schedule

IMPORTANT NOTE for SPRING 2024 ENROLLMENT

Retake scores can take up to 2 business days to post. For students looking to retake and adjust their schedule for the Spring 2024, we suggest that they retake as soon as possible after having done some review to make appropriate schedule adjustments with respect to the add/drop deadlines. Please keep the following in mind:

  1. The first day of the Spring 2024 semester is January 23.
  2. If you retake your exam before the beginning of classes, they may be posted by the time classes begin, allowing you to change your schedule.
  3. We suggest students keep the add/drop deadlines in mind when planning their retake date. They should ideally retake the exam so scores can be posted and schedules can be adjusted before January 31. 
  4. If the retake exam is taken after January 31, the scores may not be posted in time for the add deadline on February 2. Any course enrollment after that time is based on department permission and is not guaranteed to be granted.
  5. With any schedule adjustments after February 2, a DR grade will be reflected on a student’s record. However, this is generally not a significant issue and simply reflects an academic action. More information on DR grades can be found here.

Format/Modality & Schedule

Regular retesting will be held in-person. There are numerous opportunities for students to retake in time for the initial semester enrollment deadlines.

Students can view the retake schedule for available exam dates/times. A few notes on retake dates:

  • Retakes are available periodically throughout the summer.
  • Retakes dates are available more frequently in the week leading up to the Spring 2024 semester.
  • Retake dates are available daily during the first two weeks of class.

Once retake permission is given, there is no advance registration for these test sessions. Students merely need to show up at the appropriate time and location to test. Students should also bring a government-issued photo ID, a couple of #2 pencils and a non-graphing calculator.

If you intend on retaking in preparation for summer course enrollment: please plan to retake in-person and in time for scores to be posted for the summer term. If you are not able to retake in-person for summer enrollment, please contact placement@math.wisc.edu to discuss your options.

Fees

There is no fee to retake the placement test.

Viewing Your Retake Scores & Adjusting Your Schedule

After the retake exam, students should check their Student Center daily by following these directions.

If you receive your new scores and wish to make a schedule adjustment, you should be able to do so.

If you are having issues with making adjustments despite your new scores being posted, please review the Enrollment, Scheduling & Placement Help page for info on how to get some help and who to contact.

If your scores are not posted within two business days of taking the exam, please contact placement@math.wisc.edu to see about getting your scores updated to your Student Center.

Retake Exam Accommodations

Any requests or questions regarding disability accommodations can be sent to Tim O’Connor (with Testing and Evaluation Services) at tnoconno@wisc.edu.

Students that would like to request disability accommodations for the regular academic year can reach out to the McBurney Disability Resource Center.

Review Resources

We offer a number of optional resources for students that wish to review before retaking the placement test.

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Math Learning Center (MLC) Resources

Students are welcome to consider the free Boot Camp modules as review resources for math placement test retakes.

You may consider the Precalculus and/or Calculus Boot Camp modules for preparation and review of relevant concepts. We recommend that you work through both Boot Camp modules if you are trying to place into calculus. These modules are only meant as a review of materials, and do not guarantee that you will be placed into a specific course.

After retaking the placement test and adjusting your enrollment based on the results, you may consider reviewing our review resources page for some suggestions on reviewing and preparing for whichever math course you’d like to enroll in.

Cengage Webassign

UW Math Placement Practice Exam course

  • free practice exam geared toward the UW math placement test; students get three tries
  • Includes class insights so students will know what areas they struggle in
  • See here for directions on how to access the course
  • Class Key: wisc 0531 9926

UW Math Placement Remediation course

  • An optional, paid targeted practice module geared toward the UW math placement test; students pay a fee then receive access to module. The fee is $23.99.
  • Includes class insights so students will know what areas they struggle in.
  • See here for directions on how to access and purchase the optional module, and additional information.
  • Class Key: wisc 2426 7907

Testing and Evaluation Services

https://testing.wisc.edu/centerpages/mathtest.html:

  • A link to a practice mathematics placement test with sample test items
  • A breakdown on the general characteristics of the test and a percentage of scale for mathematics concepts

Advising & Enrollment Help

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

If you need to readjust your math coursework after you retake your placement test, please reach out to the placement advisor. The placement advisor can assist you with math course scheduling changes and selection based of your new placement test scores.

For specific math course selection and planning questions based on your program/major of interest, your assigned academic advisor or an advisor in your major/program of interest is likely your best resource.

Questions