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UM Math Placement Testing FAQ

Following are Frequently Asked Questions about the University of Michigan Mathematics Placement Testing.

Questions with Answers:
  1. What is the most common error when taking the test?
    Clicking "Grade" at the end of the first page. Only click the "Grade Test" button when you've gotten to the last page of the test! Grading the test grades all pages at once, so you want to do that only once you're all the way through the test.
  2. Why do I need to take a placement test?
    Your placement test score is used to determine the mathematics course in which you will be most successful. Therefore, by taking the test you are ensuring that you will enroll in a mathematics course which matches your background. To determine your placement, your placement test score is combined with your admissions data (e.g., SAT Math, high school GPA) to generate an overall math placement recommendation.
  3. Will I get my placement as soon as I finish the on-line test?
    You will immediately get confirmation that you have successfully completed the test, but you will not see your actual placement recommendation. This is because your overall placement is generated by looking at more than just your result on the placement test. Your registration advisor will have your mathematics course placement recommendation, and you will be able to discuss it with your advisor and a mathematics advisor before registering.
  4. What math is tested on the placement test?
    The placement test consists of questions about basic algebra and precalculus skills, and determines placement between our course before calculus and calculus (or beyond).
  5. Who must take the placement test?
    All newly admitted students to the University must take the mathematics placement test, including students with transfer credit for a college mathematics course and students who have completed an AP calculus course.
  6. Why do I have to take the test if I have taken calculus (even AP calculus) or have transfer college credit for a math course?
    The placement test is still important. It gives a benchmark score that your advisor will use when evaluating your previous experience and recommended placement.
  7. What if I'm a transfer student and was previously enrolled at another college or university? Do I still have to take the placement test?
    Whether you have to take the placement test will depend on the college or school you're transferring from, and what mathematics course or courses you took there. Most transfer students are required to take the placement test.
  8. What information do I need to take the test?
    You need your University of Michigan uniqname and Kerberos password. See the next question for where to find these.
  9. How do I get my uniqname and Kerberos password?
    You should have received your uniqname and one-time identifier after you paid your enrollment deposit. With your one-time identifier you can set your Kerberos password. If you need help with your uniqname or password, go to <https://its.umich.edu/accounts-access/getting-access/uniqnames-accounts/students> and follow the instructions to create a uniqname and Kerberos password before proceeding with the mathematics placement exam.
  10. What do I do if I can't log in to the placement test?
    Contact the Office of New Student Programs (734-764-6413, or <onsp(at)umich(dot)edu>) to make sure that your uniqname is properly set up, and that you're entered in the placement testing roster.
  11. What equipment do I need to take the test?
    You need some clean scratch paper to work on and a pencil or pen. In particular, note that calculators are not permitted on the mathematics placement test. You may not use other resources (e.g., books or the Internet).
  12. What if I use a calculator or some other resource (say, Wolfram|Alpha)?
    This is a bad idea. The test is constructed so that someone who spends time looking up answers or working with their calculator won't do as well as someone who knows the material. In addition, placing into a course for which you are not prepared will only hurt you—and your GPA.
  13. Why can't I use a calculator on the test?
    The placement test is designed to measure your facility with basic mathematical skills that are needed for different math courses the department offers. Because of this, using a calculator will generally not help you: you'll score better by knowing the material and working it all out by hand.
  14. Do I need to study for the test?
    Generally speaking, no. If it's been a year since you've had math you will probably be better off reviewing, but if you have just completed a math course this shouldn't be necessary. See also the question about what math is included on the placement test.
  15. What is the time limit on the test?
    You must complete the test in fifty minutes or less.
  16. What if something goes wrong while I'm taking the test?
    In general this won't happen. If your browser crashes or you have a similar problem, immediately go to take the test again: it will let you resume where you left off. If a technical problem prevents you from completing the placement test, see below.
  17. Can I retake the test if something goes wrong, or if I don't do well on the test?
    If you are unable to complete enough of the test to generate a meaningful placement because of a system error such as losing your Internet connection, contact the Office of New Student Programs at <onsp@umich.edu> or 734-764-6413. They will be able to advise you as to whether you can retake the test or if it is possible to generate a placement from your test given the information available in your application materials. Note, however, that the test cannot be retaken multiple times just to get a better placement. If you aren't sure if your placement is correct, talk with a math advisor when you are registering for courses.
  18. Whom do I contact with questions about transfer credit or registration?
    For this and similar questions, contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, 734-764-7433.
  19. What's the web address of the test?
    See the instructions page.
UM Math Placement Testing FAQ
Last modified: Thu May 14 11:26:00 EDT 2020
Comments to:math-itc(at)umich(dot)edu
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