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Math Placement

During the first two weeks after arrival, all undergraduate students are placed at a particular level of mathematics, which usually involves taking a placement test in mathematics. This is because MIU has a distribution requirement in mathematics and many majors have mathematical prerequisites or requirements.

Every new and readmit student is required to come to the Mathematics Placement Meeting that usually takes place in the first week after arrival on campus. At this meeting, you will learn how the mathematics requirements at MIU affect you, and establish whether you need to take a math placement assessment or not. Two weeks later you will take the actual proctored placement assessment, if required.

All undergraduate students must be placed before they can enroll for any mathematics course or for any course with a mathematics prerequisite.

If a student wishes to use his or her standing in a math placement test to satisfy the prerequisite for a course, that course must be taken within three semesters of the test. Otherwise, the test will need to be taken and passed at that level again.

The online ALEKS Placement, Preparation, and Learning system (ALEKS PPL, for short) places you somewhere in the sequence:

  • MATH 051 Basic Mathematics
  • MATH 152 Elementary Algebra
  • MATH 153 Intermediate Algebra
  • MATH 161 Functions and Graphs 1
  • MATH 162 Functions and Graphs 2

For example, if you place out of Math 153 Intermediate Algebra, that means you are ready to take the course Math 161 Functions and Graphs 1 or any course that has the prerequisite Math 153 Intermediate Algebra. ALEKS PPL does more than just place you: it gives you a preliminary assessment online at home and on the basis of the results of that, it then gives you a module to study to try to place higher on the actual proctored test.

Two separate in-house written tests place you out of Math 281 Calculus 1 or Math 282 Calculus 2.

Not all students are required to take a placement test. Sometimes math placement can be determined by factors other than the test, for example, official AP Calculus results, COMPASS tests for prealgebra and algebra, etc.

Major and prerequisite math requirements: Some majors do not require any mathematics in addition to the distribution requirement. But if you need a math course for your major or as a prerequisite for any course, then the knowledge needs to be current.

  • In brief: SATISFIED by taking a math course at MIU or by passing a placement test. NOT SATISFIED by transfer credit.
  • In more detail: Enrolling for and passing a course at MIU does satisfy this requirement. Passing a placement test does satisfy this requirement. (If a student places out of a course that is required for the major then the units for that course count towards the total units required for that major, although the units will not count towards the overall total units required for graduation.) Advanced placement or COMPASS tests at the required level obtained at most two years prior to entry to MIU also do satisfy this requirement. Transfer credit for courses equivalent to Math 051, 152, 153, 161, 162, 281, or 282 does not satisfy this requirement. Since the knowledge must be current, the standing achieved on any mathematics placement test takes precedence for this purpose over courses taken at other universities and colleges. For example, if your transfer credit is for a course at the level of Math 153, and you only place out of Math 152 on the math placement test, and your major requires Math 153, then the result of the math placement test takes precedence. You would have to take and pass Math 153 at MIU.

For additional informatioin, contact Dr. Debra Levitsky at or Dr. Anne Dow at with questions about your math placement.