Frequently Asked Questions
The following are Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about the Mathematics Placement Tests. If your question is not addressed, please contact the APTP Office for further assistance.
- Should I take the Advanced or General Math Placement Test?
- How long is the math placement test?
- How much does the math placement test cost?
- How do I register and pay to take the math placement test?
- What do I need to bring to the test?
- When will I get my scores?
- When are my placement scores reported to my university?
- How do I know if I pass the placement test?
- May I retake the math placement test if I am unhappy with my score or placement?
- Why are we not allowed to use a calculator on the Mathematics Placement Test?
- Who should I contact if I qualify for special testing accommodations?
Should I take the Advanced or General Math Placement Test?
Students should choose among the tests based on the course in which they wish to enroll, their level of academic preparation, and the requirements of their institution.
The General Math Placement Test (MPT-G) is directed toward students who have less than three or four years of high school math and who will be entering pre-calculus or general college-level math classes. Test content is aligned with the Washington State College Readiness Mathematics Standards, and a single college readiness cutoff is accepted at all Washington public post-secondary institutions. The test also covers Elementary Algebra, Intermediate Algebra, and Pre-Calculus I.
The Advanced Math Placement Test (MPT-A) is directed toward students who have taken at least three or four years of high school math and who wish to enroll in Calculus. It covers Intermediate Algebra and Pre-Calculus I and II.
How long is the math placement test?
On-Campus Math Placement Testing is offered throughout the year, and is a one-hour test. You should allow approximately 90 minutes for your testing session, for registration and instructions prior to the test.
How do I register and pay to take the math placement test?
To find out about On-Campus testing schedules and fees, please visit the website of a participating Testing Center. Some Testing Centers do not accept credit cards.
What do I need to bring to the test?
On the day of the test, arrive at the testing center at your appointed time with picture identification and #2 pencils. You do not need to bring calculators or other aids. Scratch paper will be provided for you.
If you take the Math Placement Test during your orientation, you will have to pay a higher test fee and your scores may not be available for your advising appointment. Institutions work to make the results available by your registration appointment. Contact your advising counselor if you need additional assistance with your Math Placement Test score.
How do I know if I pass the placement test?
These tests are not pass-or-fail exams. These placement tests determine your current level of abilities and place you into the appropriate math course for which you are most prepared to successfully complete. You will be placed into either one particular course or a range of courses most appropriate for your ability level.
May I retake the Math Placement Test if I am unhappy with my score or placement?
Yes, you may retake the Math Placement Test. However, you must wait two weeks before retaking the same Math Placement Test (General or Advanced). You may switch from the Advanced to General test or from the General to Advanced test without waiting two weeks. For example, if you take the Advanced Math Placement Test on June 10, you may either take the General Math Placement Test immediately or retake the Advanced Math Placement Test on or after June 25. You may only take each Math Placement Test (General or Advanced) twice in a one-year period.
Why are we not allowed to use a calculator on the Mathematics Placement Test?
The use of calculators has been discussed by the Math Placement Testing Committee, which consists of math faculty and testing experts from the various campuses. There is a definite awareness of the extensive use of calculators in high school courses. The argument against the use of calculators is three-fold:
- It is the committee's judgement that the problems on the test can be answered without the aid of calculators if the underlying principles are understood.
- Some problems can be solved with calculators without understanding of the underlying principles (i.e., enter the numbers and push a button, to oversimplify).
- Fairness -- not all students would have the same calculator and we do not know how to equate for differences.
Who should I contact if I qualify for special testing accommodations?
To request disability accommodations for the Mathematics Placement Test, contact the APTP office at least three weeks in advance of your placement test date. APTP will evaluate test-specific accommodation requests based on the paperwork you submit regarding your documented disability. For questions about disability accommodations at your specific college/university, contact them directly.
- University of Washington, Disability Resources for Students
- Western Washington University, Disabled Student Services
Manager: Alaina Giesbrecht
Telephone: (206) 543-8499
Mailing address: Academic Placement Testing Program
Seattle, Washington 98195-5837
Location: University of Washington
Academic Placement Testing Program
440 Schmitz Hall
1410 NE Campus Parkway
Seattle, Washington 98195-5837