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Math Placement Test

Math Placement Test FAQs

Like most universities, Western uses your score on a Math Placement Test (MPT) to determine your appropriate beginning mathematics course. New students can find answers to basic frequently asked questions here and may contact the Department of Mathematics at (360) 650-3785 with additional questions or concerns.

Who is required to take the MPT?

All students, including transfer students, who wish to register for a math course at Western must first take the MPT. Some exceptions do apply (see "MPT Exceptions" below).

Students generally take Mathematics courses at Western for one of the following reasons:

  • Each undergraduate at Western must satisfy the Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) part of the General University Requirements (GUR). The QSR requirement is generally satisfied by taking one or more math courses at Western or the approved equivalents from an accredited community college or baccalaureate institution. Students transferring with a Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) associate degree from a Washington state community college have generally already satisfied the QSR requirement, but may need more advanced math coursework for their academic program at Western.
  • Many academic programs, such as business, computer science, education, engineering technology, social sciences, natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics), and pre-professional pathway programs (pre-med, pre-dentistry, pre-pharmacy, etc.) require additional math course work beyond the QSR requirement. Students interested in these academic programs should begin their math course work in their first quarter at Western so as not to delay progress in their major.

When should I take the MPT?

Since most new freshmen register at Summerstart in August and most new transfer students register at Transitions in July, students who have access to it are encouraged to take the MPT during the Statewide Testing Program held in May and June each year. This option costs less, provides a wider array of testing locations, allows you to register for classes at the earliest possible time and allows advisors to place you in classes appropriate for your level of math preparation and goals.

If you live in or near Washington see the APTP MPT Statewide Testing Program website for test dates and locations.

If you live outside of Washington or are otherwise unable to take the test through the Statewide Testing Program, the MPT is offered during the Summerstart and Transitions orientation programs, and at Western's Testing Center each quarter.

NOTE: If you plan to take the test during Summerstart or Transitions, you will have the opportunity to register for the test when making your program reservation. Reservations begin in early June.

Which MPT should I take?

There are two levels of the Math Placement Test, Intermediate/General and Advanced.

You should take the Advanced test only if you aim to take calculus as your first math course at Western and you have completed high school math through math analysis or pre-calculus.

All other students should take the Intermediate/General test.

Students who are uncertain about which test to take are welcome to call Western’s Mathematics Department at (360) 650-3785 for advice.

MPT Exceptions

For access to certain beginning math courses at WWU, some students may not need to take the MPT. If you are unsure if you meet one of the following exceptions, contact the Department of Mathematics at (360) 650-3785.

  • The MPT is waived for students who scored three or higher on ETS' Advanced Placement Calculus Exam (AB or BC), with the following exception: To qualify for Math 134 or Math 138 (WWU Honors Mathematics courses) students must take and pass the Advanced MPT even if they have passed an AP Calculus Exam. The AP Calculus Exam official score report must be sent directly to Western from the College Board.
  • The MPT may be waived by a Math Department advisor for students who have college credit for a calculus course equivalent to Math 124 (Calculus and Analytical Geometry). Note: High school calculus courses are not considered equivalent to Math 124.
  • Students who earned a C+ or better in the final course in a college Precalculus sequence within the last 5 years may register for Math 124 (Calculus and Analytical Geometry) without taking the MPT. Note: Completing only the first course in such a sequence (i.e. Precalculus I) does not meet this requirement.
  • Students who earned a C- or better in a college Intermediate Algebra course or who received a score of at least 480 on the SAT (Math) or 18 on the ACT (Math) within the last 5 years may register for Math 107 (Mathematical Reasoning and its Applications) or Math 112 (Functions and Algebraic Methods) without taking the MPT.
  • Students who plan to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Education – Elementary or Special Education Endorsement and have earned a C or better in a college Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, or Precalculus course within the last five years may, after admission to Western’s Elementary or Special Education programs, register for Math 381 (Teaching K-8 - designed for Elementary and Special Education students only) without taking the MPT.
  • The Math Placement Test is not required for entrance into Math 99 (Review Algebra – no degree credit). Math 99 is offered through Extended Education as a fee-based course.

Students who have completed an approved Washington Community College Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) associate degree do not generally enroll in additional math courses at Western unless required by their academic major/minor. If you are unsure whether or not your intended academic program requires math, familiarize yourself with the degree requirements by reviewing the appropriate Major Guide.

How can I prepare for the MPT?

You are encouraged to review your mathematical skills prior to the test, since such review will help you be successful at Western and the resulting score will determine your math placement. Detailed information about the Math Placement Test, including sample test questions, is available on Western’s Testing Center website. Taking the test early, while your skills are current, is recommended, particularly if you plan to take math during your first quarter at Western.

Which Western courses satisfy the QSR requirement?

The six options that satisfy the requirement are listed below. You will receive more detailed information about the QSR (Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning) requirement during orientation.

  1. Complete Math 107 (Mathematical Reasoning and its Applications) AND one course from the following:
    • Anthropology 335 (Quantitative Methods in Anthropology)
    • Computer Science 103 (Intro to Computer Game Development)
    • Computer Science 172 (Intro to Robotics)
    • Environmental Studies 201 (Understanding Environmental Data and Information)
    • Finance 216 (Personal Investing)
    • Management 201 (Intro to Business)
    • Math 112 (Functions and Algebraic Methods)
    • Philosophy 102 (Intro to Logic)
    • Sociology 304 (Statistics for Sociology)
  2. Complete Math 112 (Functions and Algebraic Methods) AND one course from the following:
    • Anthropology 335 (Quantitative Methods in Anthropology)
    • Computer Science 103 (Intro to Computer Game Development)
    • Computer Science 172 (Intro to Robotics)
    • Environmental Studies 201 (Understanding Environmental Data and Information)
    • Finance 216 (Personal Investing)
    • Management 201 (Intro to Business)
    • Math 107 (Mathematical Reasoning and its Applications)
    • Philosophy 102 (Intro to Logic)
    • Sociology 304 (Statistics for Sociology)
  3. One transfer course with an MPAR attribute AND one course from the following:
    • Anthropology 335 (Quantitative Methods in Anthropology)
    • Computer Science 103 (Intro to Computer Game Development)
    • Computer Science 172 (Intro to Robotics)
    • Environmental Studies 201 (Understanding Environmental Data and Information)
    • Finance 216 (Personal Investing)
    • Management 201 (Intro to Business)
    • Math 112 (Functions and Algebraic Methods)
    • Philosophy 102 (Intro to Logic)
    • Sociology 304 (Statistics for Sociology)
  4. One course from:
    • Math 114 (Precalculus I)
    • Math 115 (Precalculus II)
    • Math 118 (Accelerated Precalculus)
    • Math 124 (Calculus and Analytic Geometry I)
    • Math 134 (Calculus I Honors)
    • Math 156 (Algebra with Applications to Business and Economics)
    • Math 157 (Calculus with Applications to Business and Economics)
    • Math 240 (Intro to Statistics)
    • Computer Science 138 (Programming Fundamentals in Visual Basic)
    • Computer Science 139 (Programming Fundamentals in Python)
    • Computer Science 140 (Programming Fundamentals in C++)
    • Computer Science 141 (Computer Programming I)
    • Computer Science 145 (Computer Programming and Linear Data Structure)
  5. One transfer course with an MSAT attribute.
    • For a list of such courses, review Western’s Transfer Course Equivalency Guide. Students with transfer credit will also receive an individualized Transfer Equivalency Report prior to course registration.
  6. Bachelor of Arts in Education – Elementary Education students only:
    • Math 381 (Teaching K-8 Mathematics I) and Math 382 (Teaching K-8 Mathematics II)
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