Frequently Asked Questions about the Mathematics Placement Exam

Who needs to take the Math Placement Exam?

All students who wish to take MTH 121, 131, or 141, except those who have a grade of C or better in ULC 148, a score of 4 or 5 on AP Calculus (A/B or B/C), or a grade of C or better in MTH 121, 131, or 141.

Why must students take the Math Placement Exam?

The assessment is used to assess students' readiness for college-level calculus.

How do students register for the Math Placement Exam?

Registration for the Math Placement Exam is handled through the Navigate app. Students can search through Navigate for a list of available dates. When scheduling an appointment, students should select "Student Support" for the appointment type and "Math Placement Exam" for the service. Alternatively, students can use the following link to make their appointment:

Is there a fee for taking the Math Placement Exam?

No, the Math Placement Exam is free to all students.

What topics are covered on the Math Placement Exam?

The Math Placement Exam tests students' knowledge of three main components: Math Fundamentals, Advanced Algebra, and Trigonometry and Analytic Geometry. A breakdown of the topics for each component is given below:

  • Math Fundamentals
    • Arithmetic
      1. Integer arithmetic
      2. Rational and decimal arithmetic
      3. Introducing algebraic skills
    • Algebra
      1. Simplifying algebraic expressions
      2. Factoring algebraic expressions
      3. Linear and quadratic equations
      4. Linear equalities
      5. Introduction to solving rational and radical equations
      6. Functions
      7. Solving literal equations
  • Advanced Algebra
    • Algebra
      1. Graphs of non-linear equations
      2. Simplifying expressions
      3. Quadratics
    • Advanced algebra
      1. Radicals and fractional exponents
      2. Absolute value and inequalities
      3. Functions
      4. Exponentials and logarithms
      5. Complex numbers and theory of equations
      6. Applications
  • Trigonometry and Geometry
    • Trigonometry
      1. Basic trigonometry definitions
      2. Identities
      3. Triangles
      4. Graphs
    • Geometry
      1. Plane geometry
      2. Three-dimensional geometry
      3. Geometric relationships
      4. Circles and other conics
      5. Triangles
      6. Parallel/perpendicular lines

What is the format of the questions on the Math Placement Exam?

The Math Placement Exam is a mutiple choice exam. Scrap paper will be provided to students to work out all answers.

How long is the Math Placement Exam?

Students have up to 90 minutes to complete the Math Placement Exam..

May students use a calculator while taking the Math Placement Exam?

The use of a calculator is not permitted during the Math Placement Exam.

May students use any other resources during the Math Placement Exam?

Students may only use a pen or pencil, paper, and the resources provided within the exam itself. Students are not allowed to receive assistance from friends, family, notes, websites, textbooks, or any other resource not provided by the exam. Using outside resources will lead to improper placement and potentially course failure. It is a violation of UB's academic integrity policy.

What is the placement result?

A student's placement result is comprised of three scores between 0 and 100, one for each of the three main components (Math Fundamentals, Advanced Algebra, Trigonometry/Geometry).

The required scores for MTH 121 or 131 are 70 on Math Fundamentals, and 70 on Advanced Algebra.

The required scores for MTH 141 are 70 on Math Fundamentals, 70 on Advanced Algebra, and 70 on Trigonometry/Geometry.

Where can students see their scores?

Students will receive an email with their scores as soon as they become available. The scores will be also viewable in the student's Academic Advising Report (AAR) on the HUB.

How long is the placement result valid?

The placement result is valid for 1 year.

If a student does not receive high enough scores for the course they want to take, can they register for the course anyway?

Unfortunately not.  All students must achieve the applicable minimum component scores to be allowed in each course. If a student has not reached the required thresholds, they will be removed from the course before the start of the semester.

Can students retake the Math Placement Exam?

Yes. The best score from each component will be kept.

Can a student register for more than one Math Placement Exam date at a time?

No. If a student already has an appointment to take the Math Placement Exam, they will not be able to register for another Math Placement Exam until after the date of their existing appointment has passed.

Can a student change their exam date?

Yes. The student will first need to cancel their existing Math Placement Exam appointment before they are able to register for a new date.

Do students receive a reminder about their upcoming Math Placement Exam?

Yes, students will receive an email reminder 4 hours before your exam date and a text message reminder 1 hour before the exam (if they have a cell phone listed in HUB/Navigate).