This guide to UW placement tests should help you determine whether you need to take any placement tests, how and when to take them, and how to interpret your scores (PDF: 11K). For additional information about fees and test schedules, please see the OEA Testing Center website.
The UW offers placement tests in mathematics, a number of foreign languages, chemistry, and music history and theory. Aside from the tests we offer for students whose native language is not English, we do not have a placement test in English.
For information about the English language proficiency requirement (ELPR), see the Registrar's website.
You need to take a math placement test if both of the following are true:
- You're interested in a program that requires college math — this includes engineering, sciences (biology, chemistry, etc.), premed, business, and psychology; and
- You don't already have college credit for algebra or calculus, or a Calculus Advanced Placement (AP) score of 2 or higher, or an International Baccalaureate (IB) Mathematics (Higher Level) score of 5 or higher.
Only placement tests given by the statewide Academic Placement Testing Program (APTP), including those given on the UW campus by the OEA Testing Center, are accepted for placement into UW math courses.
General and Advanced Tests
You should take the General Math Placement Test (MPT-G) if you had less than 3 or 4 years of high school math, through algebra-trig or the 2nd year of high school algebra. The highest you can place with this test is precalculus (MATH 111 or 120).
You should take the Advanced Math Placement Test (MPT-A) if you had 3 or 4 years of high school math, through advanced algebra, math analysis, or calculus. The highest you can place with this test is 1st quarter calculus, MATH 124 (or Q SCI 291).
UW has no test to place you above the first quarter of calculus. A Calculus AP score of 3 or above, however, places you into the second or third quarter of calculus. Review the policies for Advanced Placement for more details. An IB Mathematics score of 7 places you into the second quarter of calculus. Review the policies for International Baccalaureate for more details.
You need to take a foreign language placement test if you plan to continue the foreign language you took in high school. If you already have college credit in that language you can continue on with the next course; no placement test is required.
All majors in the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, and the School of Social Work require evidence of proficiency in a foreign language, which can be demonstrated in several ways, including taking foreign language through the third college quarter or placement by the UW into the fourth college quarter. Majors in most other colleges, including Engineering and Business, don't require foreign language past the two high school years required for UW admission. You may want to talk with an adviser about whether you should take a foreign language. If you plan to continue your foreign language but not right away, you should probably wait and take the placement test just before you resume your study to get the most accurate placement.
Placement tests in Spanish, French, Italian, German, Japanese, and Korean are offered on a regular schedule. Proficiency tests in Arabic, Portuguese, Russian, Polish, Hebrew, Persian, Urdu, and Hindi can be taken by making an appointment with the Testing Center. For other languages, contact the appropriate department for placement information.
You need to take the chemistry placement test only if you're interested in the honors chemistry series, CHEM 145, 155, 165. If you're in the Honors Program and considering a science major, you should consider taking this sequence. It's also recommended for students who want to major in chemistry or biochemistry. A Chemistry AP score of 4 or 5, or an IB score or 5, 6, or 7 (Higher Level) places you into CHEM 145 without a placement test.
Music History and Music Theory
Contact the music department at firstname.lastname@example.org to determine whether you should take music placement tests. These tests are usually taken only by prospective music majors.
How and When to Take Placement Tests
If you're a continuing student, you can take a placement test weekdays at the Testing Center. It isn't necessary to register ahead of time. Check the test schedule for days and times.
If you're a new student, enrolling autumn quarter, you should plan to take any placement tests when you're here for your Advising & Orientation session. Placement tests for freshmen are offered in the morning of Day 1, before the Advising & Orientation session begins; placement tests for transfer students are offered at various times during the Advising & Orientation session. For times and other information, please visit the Advising & Orientation testing schedule.
- $15 for math tests administered through the statewide APTP summer testing program (registered online).
- $25 for selected foreign language placement tests administered in the Testing Center. Tests by appointment have higher fees.
- $35 for math placement tests.
Placement testing for Math, Spanish, Korean, French, German, Italian, and Japanese takes about 90 minutes from check-in to dismissal. Check-in starts promptly at the scheduled times, so be sure to arrive early.
Come well rested and nourished — and as calm as possible! Keep in mind that placement tests are intended to help you enroll in courses that are right for you. You shouldn't have to do much studying beforehand, although you might want to look at some sample test qustions to get an idea of the format and content of the questions. Remember, you can't use a calculator during the math placement tests so don't use one while you do the sample math questions.
On the day of the test, bring your UW student number, picture ID, and payment or payment confirmation (if registered online). Note that if you've registered online for math or foreign language placement test, but are taking the test in person at the Testing Center, you must bring payment for the difference in the fee.
Receiving Your Scores
If you test during the May and June APTP sessions, you will receive an email approximately two weeks after your test date containing instructions about accessing your score and reporting your score to the UW. If you test at the Testing Center the morning of your Advising & Orientation session, the score will be available on the morning of the second day. For all other testing, you'll be given a score report about 10 minutes after you take the test. Your score will be listed on your Unofficial Transcript in MyUW.
You'll be given your placement along with the score report. You can also check the chart of Placement Test Scores(PDF: 11K). Note that math scores are recorded as scaled scores, while the foreign language scores posted are the raw scores.
The math placement test may be repeated once, after two weeks have passed. After the second test, a calendar year must pass before the test can be repeated again. There are two math placement tests, General and Advanced. The rules for repeating apply to each test. For example, you could take the General Test and then immediately take the Advanced Test, and then repeat either (or both) tests two weeks later.
French, Italian, and Spanish tests may be repeated after six months have passed. The German and Japanese tests can be taken twice in a 12-month period with a 75-day wait between tests. There is no wait period to repeat the Korean test.
Retesting must be done in the Testing Center (i.e., students cannot retest as part of the APTP program).
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