Math Placement-- Frequently Asked Questions



Who takes the placement exam?
  • Based on SAT scores and high school mathematics background and intended major, some students will go directly to MATH020 sequence. Others will go directly to MATH104 (Finite) or MATH110 (Math Reasoning).
  • Students needing to take College Algebra or Business Calculus will take the ELEMENTARY ALGEBRA placement exam at summer orientation -- to determine whether they start in developmental math (MATH020-090) or in college math.
  • Incoming and transfer Science students will take the COLLEGE LEVEL MATH test -- to determine whether they start in developmental math, college algebra, precalculus, or calculus.

Who can answer my questions?



What is Math Placement? What is remediation?

  • Most majors require at least one college math course. 
  • To enroll in any course above MATH020, students need to either have the appropriate prerequisite course and/or the correct math placement. 
  • The math courses you take are based on your major. Click here to see math class your major requires
  • Based on the placement test, some students will have to take remedial math first. It is flexibly-paced and can be completed in one to three semesters. We use Hawkes Learning, and the course is offered on-campus fall, spring, and summer.  Click here for an explanation of our new remedial program.



When are placements tests given?

  • Summer orientations-- group testing times are scheduled in the mornings, in Library lab 114
  • Individual tests are given in the library for make-ups and major changes. Contact Fai Howard at .
  • Testing at Porreco campus is done by Janet Bowker ( or Bruce Skolnick (
  • If you wish to review math over the summer, you could take the placement exam in July or August instead of at the June Orientation. Times will be posted at the Academic Success Center or available at



Where is the test given?

  • The test is proctored and must be taken at one of our testing centers on campus (in Edinboro or Erie).



How should I prepare for the placement exam?

It is recommended that you review arithmetic and high school algebra before the test.  Here are a few options:

  • Free tutorials at . All students should look at arithmetic, pre-algebra, algebra basics, and algebra I.  Advanced students should also look at geometry, algebra II, and trigonometry.

  • Free tutorials at . The videos and exercises cover arithmetic and algebra.

  • Free sample questions from Accuplacer can be downloaded at accuplacer-sample-questions-for-students.pdf .  For algebra, look at pages 11-13 (with answers on page 26).  For college level math, look at pages 13-15 (with answers on page 25).

  • Inexpensive study apps are available from Accuplacer and itunes:

  • TOPICS for the ELEMENTARY ALGEBRA (ELALG) test. This covers computation with integers and rationals, absolute values, ordering; algebraic expressions, multiplying and dividing polynomials, exponents, factoring; solving equations, inequalities, word problems, quadratic equations, and verbal problems presented in an algebraic context.

  • TOPICS for the COLLEGE LEVEL MATH (CLM) test. Those planning to take college precalculus should also review:: algebraic operations, solutions of equations and inequalities, coordinate geometry, applications and other algebra topics, functions, and trigonometry.

  • Please remember that calculators are NOT allowed on the test.






Can I retake the test if I don't like my placement?

  • Students generally take the test only once. So please take it seriously.  It will determine if you are required to take extra math courses. If you missed orientation,  email or call the Academic Success Center 814-732-2218.

  • BEFORE YOU BEGIN CLASSES HERE: If you think your score does not reflect your ability, you could review on your own, and then appeal to retest.  You can do this once -- provided you have not yet started MATH020 and that you provide us proof that indicates you should be placed higher.  Email  (Please bring your transcript or proof that you believe you will score better the second time.) We do not allow third attempts at testing.

  •  ONCE YOU'VE BEGUN MATH020-090 AT EDINBORO:  It is now too late to retest in order to bypass MATH020. Instead, you should finish the course. The  MATH020-090 sequence is self paced, and you can finish it as quickly as you can show mastery for each unit.

  •  MAJOR CHANGES: If you placed into MATH104 but wish to change your major to Science, you may need to retake to place into Precalculus or Calculus.  Email .





How do I know my placement?

Can I test out of MATH104 or take a harder course?

  • Yes, as with any college course, you may pass a course by exam.  Forms and procedures are available at Records and Registration or in the Mathematics Department.

  • You could also take a harder course than your major suggests.  Contact Placement Director Dr Sylvester ( to discuss this.

Where can I find a tutor?

  •  We have free tutoring about 20 hours a week every semester, staffed by our majors.  Tutoring is held in the Library Lab 114 and in Ross 128 and Ross 130 (Math Resource Center).  The schedule is listed on the door, and it always includes many afternoon and evening hours.