Placement | Mathematics | SIU

Southern Illinois University



College of Engineering, Computing, Technology, and Mathematics

Placement Test


Welcome to Southern Illinois University Carbondale!  We look forward to working with you as your educational partner as you begin to fulfill your academic goals.  One important step on your educational journey is completing the Math requirement for your chosen major.  While college and major requirements vary, all students at SIUC must successfully complete a Math course to receive a degree.  Our Math Placement System, described below, will help you find the best course for you and your program.
Even if you have a high Math ACT score, you must take a Math placement test in order to register for Math classes at SIUC!!

Any student who passes a transitional mathematics course is guaranteed placement in a credit-bearing college mathematics course at SIUC.  The precise course into which a student is placed will depend on the results of our placement test and should be discussed with an advisor.  For planning purposes, we anticipate that students who master the material of their Transitional Math courses will be prepared to place into the following courses, but the results of the placement test for each student will be definitive:

Transitional Math Course Taken  SIUC Math Course
STEM    MATH 101, 102, 105, 106, 108, 120, or 125
Technical Math  MATH 101 or 102
Quantitative Literacy and Statistics    MATH 101 or 102

Please note: In order to use the Math Placement System, you must have a Network ID. If you do not yet have a Network ID, visit or call (618) 453-5155. Once you have your Network ID, go to and click on the Math Placement Test Course.  If the course doesn't show up in the current semester, look back one or two semesters in My Courses.

Some transfer students might not automatically have the link. If you need to take an introductory level math course and do not have the link, contact Thara Lowndes, Director of Computer Based Learning, tlowndes@ 618.453.6569


How do I request an accomodation for the math placement exam?
Why do I need to take a math placement test?
Should I register for the highest class I place into?
When can I take a test?
Why do I need to run the Browser Check?
What format should I expect?
What will happen after I submit Test 1?
How long do I have to wait before retaking Test 1 or moving on to Test 2?
Why take Test 2?
How many tests will I take before I am placed?
What courses can I be placed into if I take Test 3?
Now that I've been placed, is there anything else I can do to get better prepared for my first day of class?
Tutorial Video
Placement and Prerequisites

 How do I request an accomodation for the math placement exam?

All Math placement exams are designed to take 30 minutes to complete, but the time limit is set for 60 minutes.  Students needing an extension beyond that time band, or other accomodations, should contact Disability Services at 453-5738 or 

Why do I need to take a math placement test? ^
You want to be placed in as high a level of Math as your placement score will allow. On one hand, you do not want to take a course (and spend tuition dollars) on a subject in which you already have proficiency.  On the other hand, you need to start at a level that will allow you to be successful. The course you will be allowed to register for is based on your score on the Math placement, Math requirements for your major, and in some cases, your prior math courses in college. There are 3 different Math placement tests. Everyone will start with Test 1, which will assess how well you do computation and some intermediate algebra. Several of our 100 level math courses have a "no calculator" policy so computation without the aid of a calculator is critical. 

Should I register for the highest class I place into?

The class you register for depends on two main factors:  Your Major and your Placement Test Scores. Just because you placed into College Algebra (Math 108), doesn't’t mean you have to take it.   If you are an English major, you could take College Algebra, if you really love Math and have a high placement score.  But Contemporary Mathematics (Math 101) is all you need to take to get a degree in English.  The most important thing to do is to consult with your advisor about what Math class is required for your major.
When can I take a test? ^
We recommend that you take the test at least one week before your advising appointment. We strongly recommend you do some test preparation before your first attempt, particularly if you are used to using a calculator for computations involving fractions, signed numbers, etc. Everything you need to practice is in the Study Plan. Questions in the Study Plan are free response. That means you will have to work out the problem on paper and enter the answer (in the stated form). Learning aids appear alongside each problem. When you need assistance, help is just a click away.

Why do I need to run the Browser Check? ^

The Browser Check walks you through installing the players you need to take your placement tests and access the multimedia learning resources in your study plan.    If you already have Flash and QuickTime installed, the Browser Check will ensure you have the most current versions.  At a minimum, you must have Flash installed so you can take your placement tests.  You will also need to allow pop-ups and enable cookies in your browser.  For more information about preparing your computer to access the Math Placement site go to the Support link on the navigation bar.

What format should I expect? ^
Each test consists of 20 problems, some multiple choice and some free response. You are expected to do all calculations by hand. No calculators please! There is a 75-minute time limit to complete and submit your test. You can move freely from problem to problem, just like you would on a paper exam. Have scratch paper handy...multiple choice does not mean multiple guess!  Warning: Do not open any additional windows while taking the test. If you do, the test will immediately close and you will lose your attempt.
What will happen after I submit Test 1? ^
The test will be graded instantly. Your score will appear on the screen along with a message explaining what the score means. In addition, an email will immediately be sent to you that contains more detailed course and registration information If your score is 12 (60%) or higher (and you wish to place into a course besides 101, 105, 107, 110,  or 120), you will be directed to take Test 2.   If you wish, you may retake Test 1 to get a higher score.  Only 2 retakes are allowed.

How long do I have to wait before retaking Test 1 or moving on to Test 2? ^
We will answer the easy question first. Test 2 can be taken immediately (provided your Test 1 score is 60% or higher). As for the retake.... that is up to you but you will probably do better if you wait a reasonable length of time --- at least a few days. Use that time to review your test results and go over the study plan. Test questions are regenerated and pooled from a large test bank. Don't expect to see the same 20 questions you saw on your first attempt.  
Why take Test 2? ^

Test 2 is for placement in College Algebra Enhanced (Math 106), College Algebra (Math 108) and Technical Mathematics (Math 125), and to qualify to take Test 3.  Take this test after successfully completing Test 1 if you are seeking placement in any course other than Math 101, 105, 107, 110, and 120.  It has the same format as Test 1: 20 questions in 75 minutes; instant messaging after test is submitted; if necessary, 3 attempts to achieve your desired score. If you have not taken an Algebra course recently, you should do some preparation work.

How many tests will I take before I am placed? ^

That depends on the Math requirements of your major and the highest score earned on a given test. If undecided about a major (as many of you are) then the rule of thumb we suggest is a) plan to take Math 106 (College Algebra Enhanced) or Math 108 (College Algebra) unless b) you expect to choose from majors that only require one core curriculum Math course (most often Math 101). Some of you may take all 3 tests.

What courses can I be placed into if I take Test 3? ^

Test 3 is for our highest Math placement. Take this test if you are seeking placement into Math 109 (Trigonometry), Math 111 (Pre-calculus), Math 139 (Finite Mathematics), Math 140 (Business Calculus), Math 150 (Calculus I), or Math 282.  In order to proceed to Test 3, you must have a score of 75% on Test 2.  Test 3 contains 20 advanced Algebra and Trigonometry questions.

Now that I've been placed, is there anything else I can do to get better prepared for my first day of class? ^

We don't mean to be repetitive but "study plan, Study Plan, STUDY PLAN"! There is no such thing as being over prepared. If you have placed into Math 106, 107 or 108, be aware of the "No Calculator" policy. Make sure you can do computations involving fractions, decimals, basic roots, etc. without the aid of a calculator!