How to prepare for Math Placement

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When it comes to the Math Placement Tool, taking time to beforehand to understand how it works and reviewing content can affect your results in a big way. Learn how to prepare well by following these tips.

What can I expect?

This tool (unproctored or proctored) is an online multiple choice test. There are 50 questions broken into three parts: algebra, trigonometry, and logarithmic and exponential functions. You will have up to two hours and 20 minutes to complete it, and you are allowed to use a graphing calculator.

Refer to What You Should Know about the Math Placement Tool for more detail.

How hard is it?

The tool starts with algebra questions that cover topics that will look familiar from high school algebra. All incoming students are expected to attempt the algebra section. If you find as you go along that the questions in the trigonometry or logarithmic and exponential functions sections are above your skill level, then you may opt to end the exam without answering all questions. Simply do your best and answer as much as you know.

Bottom line: Our goal is to help you place into the highest math course in which you can be successful. Your results will help you and your academic success coordinator (advisor) select the just-right math course(s) for you.

Should I study for it?

In a word, yes. No matter how confident you feel, be sure to review and refresh before taking the Math Placement Tool. Studying will refresh material that you may not have used for some time. It will also help boost your confidence, which can lead to better exam performance.

When studying for the Math Placement Tool, we recommend using the following tools:

  1. CSU Math Placement review. The CSU Math Department has compiled three study guides which correspond with each section of the Math Placement Tool. Practicing problems within these guides will give you a full picture of what will be covered in the exam.
  2. Khan Academy. This free online resource allows you to view lessons, take practice quizzes, and refresh your skills in topics covered in the Math Placement Tool. You may want to focus on algebra I, trigonometry, and exponential/logarithmic functions.
  3. PurpleMath. Similar to Khan Academy, this online tool offers free lessons on a variety of math topics.

What if I don’t get the results I expected?

Don’t get stressed — you will have an opportunity to take the exam up to two more times. Learn more by reviewing Math Placement general information.

Ready to get started?

Log in to the Personalized Math Plan website to get started.


Jill Baylis

Jill was a staff member in the Office of Admissions until 2019 when she moved to Denver. As a first-generation college student, she focused on simplifying the college admissions process and helping future Rams find community on campus.