What you should know about the Math Placement Tool

Student studying at table with smoothie

All CSU majors include at least one mathematics or statistics course (total of three credits) to graduate. The Math Placement Tool (formerly known as the Math Placement Exam or MPE) helps you place into the highest course in which you can be successful. We’ve outlined the key points below so you know what to expect and what to do next.

What is the Math Placement Tool?

The Math Placement Tool is an online tool consisting of 50 multiple-choice questions, with a 2 hour, 20-minute time limit. It is designed to guide you into the college math courses that are most appropriate for you. The Math Placement Tool can award placement, and can be used to satisfy course prerequisites, but does not award course credit. You can access the Math Placement Tool remotely until about a week before the start of your first term, but after that, it must be taken with a proctor (either at an on-campus testing center, or through an online proctoring service).

Is the Math Placement Tool required?

It depends on a variety of factors.

Incoming freshman/first-year students and transfers are directed to create a Personalized Math Plan before attending Ram Orientation to guide their decisions around taking the Math Placement Tool.

Your Personalized Math Plan will help you understand the math course(s) included in your major or programs of interest, will show you any math credit(s) you’ve already been awarded in transfer through Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), prior college work or other test out credits, and will provide guidance on whether the Math Placement Tool is an essential next step.

When in doubt, there’s no harm in completing the Math Placement Tool prior to orientation as a starting point for conversations with your academic success coordinator or advisor.

How does completing these steps before Ram Orientation help me?

Our goal is your success. Completing your Personalized Math Plan and Math Placement Tool (if recommended) before Ram Orientation supports your success in these ways:

  1. Students who complete their college math requirement within their first two semesters on campus are more successful in their college career and graduate at a higher rate.
  2. Demonstrating math readiness opens the door to registering for courses in chemistry, computer science, economics, engineering, physics and more.
  3. You and your academic success coordinator or advisor will be able to select just the right courses for you to start a strong foundation during your first CSU semester.

Is there a cost for the Math Placement Tool?

Yes. A one-time fee will be billed directly to your student account, allowing you to take the exam twice if needed. There is no charge to create your Personalized Math Plan.

What should I do next?

  1. Create your Personalized Math Plan.
  2. Prepare.
    • It’s a fact: Taking time to prepare results in better performance. Studying is allowed and won’t give inaccurate placement results. These tips to prepare for the Math Placement Tool may help.
    • If the tool is recommended for you, you’ll also be guided to study guides within your Personalized Math Plan.
  3. Access the Math Placement Tool online when you’re ready.
    • You’ll have 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete it.
    • If you’re using the tool from a remote/off-campus location, plan to be in a quiet setting with no interruptions.
    • Compete the tool at least one week prior to Ram Orientation so your results will be available during advising and registration.
  4. View your results.
    • Your results will be available online immediately.
  5. Not satisfied with your results?
    • You may be eligible to complete the tool again in a proctored (supervised) setting.
    • Return to your Personalized Math Plan for updated options.

Have questions?

Direct your Math Placement questions to the Precalculus Center at (970) 491-5761 or precalc@math.colostate.edu using your university email account. Include your full name and CSU ID so staff can reply with confidential academic information, if needed.

Ready to start studying?

Check out our tips to prepare for Math Placement.