The UW Math Placement Test

General Information

Taking the UW Math Placement Test

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. All incoming freshmen must take the math placement test, 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 page has more information on how to register for 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 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) or MATH 130
556-850 MATH 112 (will not need MATH 113 for MATH 221) or MATH 114 or MATH 130 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 130 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 130 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 130 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 130 or 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

NOTE: retests are currently being held online (with in-person accommodations a possibility). More information is below.

NOTE: we recommend that students retaking the placement test try to do so at least two weeks before the beginning of class, so their exams can be guaranteed to be scored and processed in time for the beginning of the semester. Retake exams submitted closer to the beginning of classes may not be scored until after classes begin. Retake exams taken after the beginning of classes should be taken as soon as possible to maximize the chances that the exams are scored before the add/drop deadlines.

Important Things to Consider

We strongly suggest that you retake the math placement test only if you think that your placement level is not accurate. 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 on-campus or off-campus (online) after having received permission from the Math Department. Note that while regular placement testing is currently online, students can request accommodations to take the exam in-person (more info below).

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On-Campus Retesting

Regular on-campus retesting is suspended until further notice unless in cases of requested accommodations. If you are in need of or would like to request in-person retesting accommodations, please see the Retake Exam Accommodations section further down the page for more information.

Students interested in retaking the placement test and do not wish to request in-person accommodations should instead refer to the “Off-Campus Retesting” information below, provided they have already received retake approval from the Math Department (information on receiving retake permission is above).

Off-Campus Retesting (Online Retests)

NOTE: we recommend that students retaking the placement test try to do so at least two weeks before the beginning of class–and after having done some review–so their exams can be guaranteed to be scored and processed in time for the beginning of the semester. Retake exams submitted closer to the beginning of classes may not be scored until after classes begin. Retake exams taken after the beginning of classes should be taken as soon as possible to maximize the chances that the exams are scored before the add/drop deadlines.

Students that would like to retake the math placement test online fall into two categories with different retake practices between them:

Students that took the placement test prior to June 2020

Students that took the UW math placement test prior to June 2020 are eligible to take the new online placement tests immediately upon approval from the Math Department. See “Retest Permission” section of this page for info on how to request retake permission. The Math Department will reach out if a student’s retake request for permission has been approved, and students will be sent a link on how to register for the placement test retake.

After retaking, students can view their new placement test scores within a few days by following these directions.


Students that took the placement test during or after June 2020

This information is for incoming students who took their initial math placement test online during or after June 2020 and have been approved to take a retest.  You are eligible to retest online beginning August 17 (more info below), though students can still be approved to retake after this date. We highly recommend that you complete your exam as soon as possible when it is made available to you–and after having done some review–so that you can receive your scores and adjust your course schedule with respect to the add/drop deadlines. Details and steps for retesting are provided below.

  1. See the “Retest Permission” section of this page for info on how to request retake permission. If your SOAR advisor has already requested retake permission on your behalf, you do not need to request it yourself.
  2. The Math Department will email you within two business days after your request has been submitted confirming that you are approved to retake.
  3. If you previously completed your placement tests online, you will not need to register for retesting. The Center for Placement Testing will update your eligibility for the math retest beginning on August 17th; once they have done so, you will receive an email from candidatesupport@scantron.com which will provide you with instructions on how to access and complete your exam. This email will be sent to the same email address you used when you registered for placement testing.
    • If you were approved to retake on or before August 16: you will receive the email from Scantron between August 17 and 21.
    • If you were approved to retake after August 16: you will receive the email from Scantron about two days after your approval notification.
  4. When you login to the test system, you will see multiple exams listed on the “My Tests” page, including the exams you have already submitted. Exams you have already submitted will be displayed as “View Result” or “Continue Test”. You will not be able to access previously submitted exams. Find the new listing for the subject you have been authorized to take and hit the “Start Test” button to launch the retest.
  5. You may only complete the retest(s) for which you have departmental approval.
  6. After retaking, students can view their new placement test scores within the next two weeks following these directions.

If you have any questions related to accessing or completing your retest, please contact frontdesk@exams.wisc.edu

Retake Exam Accommodations

Students have the option to retake the placement test on-campus or off-campus.

Any requests or questions regarding testing accommodations—such as for in-person testing, disabilities, etc.—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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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 4852 8144

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 3628 4312

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

Additional Web Resource

www.math.com for information on studying for the classes listed below:

For placement into:
MATH 113 – Trigonometry
MATH 211 – Calculus
MATH 221 – Calculus and Analytic Geometry I

Additional Book Resource

Forgotten Algebra by Barbara Lee Bleau, Publisher: Barron’s Educational Series

For placement into:

  • MATH 112 – Algebra
  • MATH 114 – Algebra and Trigonometry
  • MATH 171 – Calculus with Algebra and Trigonometry I

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