Mathematics Placement

Automated Mathematics Placement

Incoming first year students on main campus who have an ACT/SAT math score and a high school GPA on record at BGSU will be given an automated mathematics placement and will be notified by email to their BGSU email address.  The automated mathematics placement will be generated shortly after you register for orientation or send in a housing deposit.  If BGSU receives new ACT/SAT scores or a more recent high school GPA, your mathematics placement will be recalculated. If this improves your mathematics placement, you will receive an additional email notifying you of the new placement.

If your ACT Math score is lower than 22, you will automatically be placed at a level where you may enroll in MATH 1220, 1190, 1150, or STAT 2000. You will be given additional information at SOAR.

Transfer students and students without these data will be informed separately about their mathematics placement.  If transferring in a mathematics course from another college or university, it may not be necessary to take a mathematics class at BGSU, or the transferred course may work as the prerequisite to a required mathematics course at BGSU.

Advanced Placement (AP) credit

Students who have scored well on an Advanced Placement Calculus or Statistics test can earn college credit and continue with the subsequent course.  See the Advanced Placement page for more information.  In some cases, an AP Calculus score overstates a student's preparation; talk with a college advisor about declining AP credit and taking Calculus at BGSU.

Enforcement of the mathematics placement

Students are not allowed to take a course above their mathematics placement. This policy is strictly enforced for the benefit of the individual student and for the benefit of other students with higher placements. Historically, students who have taken a course above their mathematics placement have done worse than students who placed into the course. Students are encouraged to take the placement test on campus if they believe their placement is inappropriately low; see below.

Students are allowed to take any course below their placement. This means that a student can choose any course which comes later in this list than the course they placed into:  MATH 1310H, 1310 or 1340, 1280, 1230, 1220, 1190, 1150, STAT 2000.

Mathematics placement tests

It is possible to take a mathematics placement test to expand the list of courses that you can take.  This applies to:

  • Students who want to improve their placement to take a higher-level course
  • Transfer and international students who do not have an automated math placement, who need to take a course that requires a math placement or prerequisite course, and who have not taken the prerequisite course
  • Students who do not have an ACT or SAT Math score
Note that:
  • A math placement is not needed to register for MATH 1150, 1190, 1220, or STAT 2000
  • Some courses in other departments require a high enough math placement to register
Contact the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at math-stat@bgsu.edu to schedule a time to take the math placement test.  When you write:
  • Please write the email from your BGSU email address
  • Please put "Math placement test" in the subject line
  • Please let us know your major(s) and minor(s)
  • Please let us know what MATH or other course you plan to take, that requires a math placement
About the math placement test itself:
  • The test is taken on a computer, so you'll need a reliable internet connection
  • You should have paper and pencil ready to work out solutions; you are not allowed to use a calculator or graphing calculator during the test
Finally, please see below about the different versions of the placement test and how to prepare by taking a sample placement test.

Three versions of the Mathematics Placement Tests

When taking the mathematics placement test, students are asked some background questions about what courses they had in high school. If they report having had trigonometry, they take Placement Test C. Based on the score on that test, their ACT/SAT Math score, the other mathematics courses they report having had in high school, and their declared major, if any, they may be placed into Math 1310H, 1310, 1340, or 1280. If they perform poorly on Placement Test C, they are advised to take Placement Test B, described below, or take Math 1150, 1190 or 1220.

Students who report having had two years of high school algebra with a grade of C or better, but no trigonometry, take Placement Test B. Based on the same criteria as listed above, they may place into Math 1280, 1230, 1220, 1190, or 1150.

Students whose high school mathematics is insufficient to place them into the categories above may take Placement Test A. They may place into Math 1220, 1190, or 1150.

Sample placement tests

Click below for sample versions of placement tests A, B, and C.  Each consists of 14 questions, and the answers are provided at the bottom of the last sheet.  Cover up the answers, take the test without a calculator or graphing calculator or help of any kind, then check to see how well you did.
Sample Test A
Sample Test B
Sample Test C

Other material you can study for the math placement test

There are lots of websites with precalculus reviews.  Here are some to look at to prepare for Placement Test B or C. 

  • IXL precalculus has lots of nice questions for you to answer.  I would recommend working through sections A through J; for Placement Test B, skip the sections on trigonometry
  • Coolmath precalculus gives a good overview of many topics, but does not have problems to practice on