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Math Placement

Missouri S&T Math Placement

Missouri S&T requires new undergraduate students to take Math Placement Exams in Algebra and Trigonometry.  These exams are written by the Department of Mathematics & Statistics and align with the prerequisite course expectations for Math 1214: Calculus for Engineers I.  S&T students are expected to make calculations quickly and accurately without the use of a calculator.

  • The Algebra Placement Exam is 30 questions.  The student has 60 minutes to complete this exam, and no calculator may be used on the Algebra portion. 
  • The Trigonometry Placement Exam is 25 questions.  The student has 60 minutes to complete this exam, and scientific calculators are allowed on the Trig portion.  Graphing calculators are not permitted.

Both exams are multiple choice/short answer.  You will receive a separate score on each portion.  When math placement advisors evaluate your scores to determine the correct first semester math course for you here at S&T, they will first consider your algebra score, since algebra is foundational material for every other math and science course you will take.  If your algebra score shows mastery of this material, math placement advisors will then consider your trigonometry score.  Some students will begin with an algebra refresher course, some will begin with trig, and some will begin with calculus or higher.

Score reports are only generated and sent to advisors once both portions of the Math Placement Exams (algebra and trig) are complete.  The student must open and submit both portions on each attempt.

Mathematics is taught with different standards in nearly every high school or college that S&T students come from.  Many students are allowed, or even encouraged, to use technology such as calculators to arrive at the answers.  Some students are evaluated solely on their answers and never on the process that leads to those answers.  Sometimes mental math is encouraged.  Not all of these strategies are appropriate for the future scientists and engineers that Missouri S&T serves.

As a common assessment, the S&T Math Placement Exams provide a student with a better sense of his/her strengths and weaknesses in math relative to other S&T students, instead of relative to their previous classmates.  By guiding students to the correct first semester math course based upon S&T's standards, we ensure that our students are best positioned for success in their first semester on campus.

The Math Placement Exams become available on October 15th and may be taken at any time after a student registers for an Advising & Registration or Transfer Advising Day.  The exams must be completed at least two weeks prior to a student's Advising & Registration or Transfer Advising Day so advisors have sufficient time to review records and prepare to make scheduling recommendations.

If a student is currently taking an algebra or trigonometry course, it is beneficial to see as much content as possible before testing.  These students should wait to test, but still complete their exams at least two weeks prior to their event date.

If a student is currently taking a course higher than algebra or trig, or if the student is not currently taking any mathematics course, it is beneficial to test earlier while algebra and trig skills are still more fresh in the student's mind.

In either case, devoting additional study time to prepare for the Math Placement Exams is strongly encouraged.

It is important that the Math Placement Exams are taken seriously and each student gives an honest effort so that the results truly reflect their current level of knowledge and mathematical preparedness.  There is no benefit to cheating on these exams - the only result will be that a student enrolls in a class that is too difficult, or not challenging enough, potentially costing that student time and money.  Therefore, while taking the Math Placement Exams, a student should not consult any outside sources for help (friends/family, internet searches, textbooks, notes, etc.). 

There are many good websites which provide free problems and even tutorials, and certainly any textbook with "College Algebra" in the title can be helpful.  Please begin by focusing mostly on algebra problems, and if these all seem solid, move on to trigonometry if you have previously taken a trig course.  If you have not yet taken trig, don't try to learn it all at once!  Just focus on algebra.  There will be additional opportunities to show mastery of trig through various optional summer programs.

The Department of Mathematics & Statistics recommends the student spends at least eight hours studying and practicing problems prior to taking the Math Placement Exams.

Prior to taking the Math Placement Exams, you must have an active @umsystem.edu (alias of @mst.edu) email address.  Instructions for setting up your Joe'SS account and Missouri S&T email address can be found at:  it.mst.edu/getting-started/new-students/

The S&T Math Placement Exams are taken in a web-based program called MyMathTest.

Before beginning your exams, you will complete a brief tutorial to make sure you are comfortable with the math tools available in MyMathTest.  This tutorial shows you how to enter different types of answers and how to graph.

Full instructions are emailed to each student after signing up for an Advising & Registration Day.  The subject line of this email is "Math Placement Exams now available!" and the attachment has step-by-step instructions for taking the exams.

There are no additional fees associated with the S&T Math Placement Exams.

You will receive your scores and course placement immediately upon completion of your Math Placement Exams.  A copy of your scores is sent to New Student Programs and to the Registrar's office.  New Student Programs provides your scores and placement to academic advisors prior to Advising & Registration and Transfer Advising Days.

A summary of course placements is below:

  • Algebra score of 0-11.9 out of 30:  Math 1103: Fundamentals of Algebra
  • Algebra score of 12-17.9 out of 30:  Math 1120: College Algebra
  • Algebra score of 18-23.9 out of 30:  Math 1210:  Calculus IA
  • Algebra score of 24-30 out of 30; Trig score of 0-14.9 out of 25:  Math 1210:  Calculus IA
  • Algebra score of 24-30 out of 30; Trig score of 15-25 out of 25:  Math 1214:  Calculus for Engineers I, or higher with prerequisite credit

Each student may take the S&T Math Placement Exams up to 3 times.  The student's highest scores will be the final placement honored by the academic advisor.  There is generally no benefit to re-taking the Math Placement Exams immediately upon completing a prior attempt.  Taking additional time to study will result in the biggest improvement in scores from one attempt to another.

The student must open and submit both portions of the Math Placement Exam (algebra and trig) during each subsequent attempt for the score report to be generated and available to advisors.  Retaking only the algebra portion without also opening and submitting the trig portion does not benefit the student.

If you have received testing accommodations in the past, please reach out to Student Disability Services at dss@mst.edu or by calling 573-341-6655 prior to taking the Math Placement Exams.  Once Student Disability Services confirms your eligibility for continued testing accommodations, they will provide you with the appropriate instruction sheet to follow for extended-time testing.

If you have any issues with the math testing software itself, please contact the math placement team at mathplacement@mst.edu.

If a student has a college transcript that already shows credit earned (not currently enrolled or in-progress) for a course equivalent to S&T's Math 1215: Calculus for Engineers II, they may be exempted from the Math Placement Exams.  Additionally, students majoring in History or English are not required to test.  Please reach out to New Student Programs at pro@mst.edu or by phone at 800-266-9035 to discuss.

For additional information about S&T's Math Placement process, please contact Professor Stephanie Fitch, Teaching Professor and Math Placement Advisor at sfitch@mst.edu.