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Tips for Taking the Math Placement Assessment

Our placement assessments are designed to help you succeed at MIU. Your score helps us determine which courses are appropriate for your current level of mathematical knowledge and skills, so that you can complete your distribution requirement in mathematics and the math courses required for your major, as easily and comfortably and enjoyably as possible.

The Mathematics Placement Test “places” you in mathematics. You do not “pass” or “fail” this assessment. It doesn’t judge how smart you are. It just tells us where you are right now. You don’t want to take a course that you are not prepared for, and you don’t want to waste time taking a course that you have already mastered and still remember.

If you took a course before at another college, you are strongly advised to brush up on the topics you have already studied. But don’t try to cram a lot of topics you never understood before. Where you need to start is where you are, not where you want to get to eventually. On the day of the assessment, you will do better if you are well rested and have eaten properly. Go to bed on time the night before, meditate as usual, and have your usual meals. Come a few minutes early so you can find the place and get settled before the assessment begins.

If you don’t understand the directions for taking the assessment, ask. If you aren’t sure which assessment you should be taking, ask. If you have a question during the assessment, raise your hand and ask. We can’t answer assessment questions for you, but we can help with anything else.

Read each question over and over if you have to, until you understand what it is asking. Answer every question. There is no penalty for guessing. If you think your first answer was wrong, don’t be afraid to change it.

If even the prospect of taking a placement assessment gives you math anxiety, read So You Need to Take a Placement Test.

If that doesn’t help, try reading one of Danica McKellar’s books Math Doesn’t Suck: How to Survive Middle School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail and Kiss My Math: Showing Pre-Algebra Who’s Boss.

Relax. Do your best. And let the test do what it is supposed to do: find out where you need to start in order to succeed.



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