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 official 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 less than 22, you will automatically be placed in Math 99. 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 this 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 re-take the placement test if they believe their placement is inappropriately low, except if they were placed into Math 99.

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, 1150, or 99.

Mathematics placement tests

Students may take a mathematics placement test on campus to try to improve their mathematics placement if placed in a course higher than Math 99.  The test can be taken at the Learning Commons by appointment only.  See the Learning Commons web page for hours and contact information, and their Math placement page for information about taking the math placement test there.  It is a good idea to brush up on your mathematics skills before taking the math placement test.

Three versions of the Mathematics Placement Tests

When taking the mathematics placement test at the Learning Commons, 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 Math score and subscores (or their 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 or 1340, or 1280. If they perform very poorly on the Placement Test, they are advised to take Placement Test B, described below, or take Math 1150 or Math 99.

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, 1220,1150, or 99.  It is not easy to describe the specifics of the decision tree or the cutoffs, but they take into account the factors listed above and a few subscores relating to intermediate and college algebra material.

Students whose high school mathematics is insufficient to place them into the categories above take Placement Test A. They may place into Math 1150 or 99.

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, then check to see how well you did.
Sample Test A
Sample Test B
Sample Test C