Mathematics Placement Test Information
All incoming first-year students will take the Elementary Algebra test. If students perform well enough on this exam, you will automatically be administered the College-Level Math test. Incoming transfer students may need to one or both of these tests, depending on your academic history at your previous institution(s).
Each test is untimed so that you can give each question as much thought as you wish. You can change your answer to a particular question before moving on to the next question, but you cannot leave a question out or come back to it later to change your answer. If you do not know the answer to a question, try to eliminate one or more of the choices, and then pick from the remaining choices. Because the exams work this way, you must answer every question when it is first given.
In order to help you to prepare for your math placement test, the Academic Achievement Center and Department of Mathematics offer a free, online, math review course, called the 6-Cess Math Review Program. Students who participate in the online program will be able to watch refresher videos, view helpful handouts, work on practice problems, and complete rehearsal tests. These workshops are not mandatory; our goal is to help every student be as prepared as possible to succeed not just in placement testing, but in their college-level mathematics coursework. We recommend that all students review these skills prior to testing, especially if you have not taken a math course within the past year.
The Elementary Algebra test, comprised of 12 questions, measures your ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems involving elementary algebraic concepts. There are three types of Elementary Algebra questions:
Operations with integers and rational numbers: topics include computation with integers and negative rationals, the use of absolute values, and ordering.
Operations with algebraic expressions: topics include the evaluation of simple formulas and expressions, adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials, multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, the evaluation of positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring.
- Solution of equations, inequalities, word problems: topics include solving linear equations and inequalities, solving quadratic equations by factoring, solving verbal problems presented in an algebraic context, including geometric reasoning and graphing, and the translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions.
The College-Level Math test, comprised of 20 questions, measures your ability to solve problems that involve college-level mathematics concepts. There are five types of College-Level Math questions:
Algebraic operations: topics include simplifying rational algebraic expressions, factoring, expanding polynomials, and manipulating roots and exponents.
Solutions of equations and inequalities: topics include the solution of linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, equation systems and other algebraic equations.
Coordinate geometry: topics include plane geometry, the coordinate plane, straight lines, conics, sets of points in the plane, and graphs of algebraic functions.
Applications and other algebra topics: topics include complex numbers, series and sequences, determinants, permutations and combinations, fractions and word problems.
Functions and trigonometry: topics include polynomials, algebraic, exponential, and logarithmic and trigonometric functions.
During your time as a BSU student, you may take the math placement tests a total of three times. Your first attempt is free; subsequent attempts cost $10, payable on test day by Visa, Mastercard, or personal check. We recommend that you refer to our "Resources and Test Preparation" section and spend some time reviewing before attempting a retest.
Retests are held in our office during our office hours. To schedule a retest, give us a call at 508-531-1780, or click here to schedule your appointment online. If you're using our online scheduling tool, you should select "Math Placement Exam - Retest" as your service.