Mathematics Placement Exam

For Academic Year 2024 - 2025, only some students need to take the Math Placement Exam!

Please read the information below to find out if you need to take the Math Placement Exam and to find answers to some common questions about the exam.

Once you verify that you need to take the Math Placement Exam, and are ready to take it, please follow the link at the bottom of this page to access the exam. 

1. Who has to take the Math Placement Exam?    

If you plan to take MATH 221 (Calculus I), you need to take the Math Placement Exam, pending AP exam results. Your test score will determine if you are ready to take MATH 221 (Calculus I) or if you first need to take MATH 170 (Precalculus). Qualifying scores on the AP Precalculus exam or an AP Calculus (AB or BC) exam may allow you to place directly into MATH 221 (Calculus I) or to receive equivalent credit for it and take a different Quantitative Literacy I (Q1) course.

If you have any questions about whether your intended major requires the Math Placement Exam, please see the list below and contact your academic advisor. For new students, contact First Year Advising at fyadvising@american.edu.

2. Which majors require or recommend students take the Math Placement Exam?

  • Applied Mathematics
  • Audio Technology 
  • Biochemistry
  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computational Science
  • Computer Science
  • Economics (BS)
  • Environmental Science (BS)
  • Environmental Science (BA)
  • Mathematics
  • Neuroscience
  • Physics (BA)
  • Physics (BS)
  • Statistics
  •  


Notes:

  • Students majoring in the above degree programs, with exceptions for the Environmental Science BA, have to complete MATH 221.
  • Environmental Science BA majors can fulfill the mathematics/statistics requirement for their degree program by taking either one of the following courses: MATH 221, STAT 202, or STAT 203.

3. How does the online Math Placement Exam work?  

  • The exam is 30 multiple choice questions, and you are allowed up to 45 minutes to complete it.
  • Only you, as the student, must take the exam. 
  • The university does not recommend the use of a calclator.
  • Once the exam has started, you must finish it. You cannot stop and come back to it later. Do not sign into the exam site unless you are ready to take and complete the exam. Make sure you click on "submit assignment" when you finish answering all the questions and are ready to submit your exam.
  • If due to a learning or medical disability you need additional time on the exam prior to taking it, please see question 6 regarding accommodations.

4. Is there a practice exam?

Yes, the Math Placement Sample Exam includes a list of topics covered on the exam and some examples of the types of questions that the exam may cover. The Department of Mathematics and Statistics does not provide answers to the practice exam questions.

5. What kind of device can I use?

The exam developers designed the exam for users to take it on a desktop or laptop computer and not on an iPad, Android tablet, or smartphone. Make sure the computer is operating normally and has a reliable, unrestricted high-speed internet connection and an up-to-date browser. Follow this  System Requirements link for a list of minimal system requirements for your computer and internet browser.

Here are a few other tips:

  • Please avoid using public internet connections (Starbucks, libraries, schools etc.). 

  • Opening another tab or browser may shut down the Math Placement Exam. 

  • Please do not use the Mozilla Firefox browser, because the exam site does not support it.  

  • Allow Pop Ups for the specific website.  

  • Lower your computer firewall just for the time of the exam, and when you are done with the exam activate it again. 

  • If your computer or internet connection completely fails during the exam, please refer to question 7.  

6. I may need an accommodation(s) for a disability. What should I do?

If you would like to request a disability-related accommodation(s) for taking the Math Placement Exam, please complete the Request Form. The Academic Support and Access Center (ASAC) processes this form. For more information on how to request accommodations, or to contact ASAC, their phone number is 202-885-3360 and email address is asac@american.edu.  

Barring a technical glitch, students have only one opportunity to take the Math Placement Exam. Therefore, please arrange for your accommodation(s) before taking the exam.

7. I am trying to take the exam; but am having technical issues (e.g., cannot log in to the exam). What should I do?   

Please email Quantitative Support at math_placement@american.edu and carbon copy Dr. Behzad Jalali, Director of Quantitative Support, at bjalali@american.edu on the email. 

8. Can I retake the Placement Exam due to a technical issue?   

Please email math_placement@american.edu if you have a technical issue. In case of a technical issue that the university can verify, you might be able to take the Math Placement Exam again. 

9. When will I receive my Math Placement Exam score?

The university emails the exam scores to students daily, Monday–Friday. During weekends or holidays, when the university is closed, students do not receive scores via email. Once you take the exam, expect to receive an email with your score on the next business day. For example, if you take the exam on Friday, your score will be available the next Monday. If the university is not open on that Monday, because of a holiday, you will receive an email with your exam score the next day Tuesday when the university is open.

Ready to Begin the Exam? 

If you have verified that you need to take the Math Placement Exam and are ready to take the exam, you can access the exam here. Thank you!

For more information, or if you have difficulty accessing the exam, please email math_placement@american.edu and carbon copy  Dr. Behzad Jalali at bjalali@american.edu on the email.