MATHEMATICS PLACEMENT

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF THE PLACEMENT?

Southern requires that each student take at least three credits in college-level mathematics. Some undergraduate programs require additional mathematics, and some graduate programs require students to take one or more mathematics courses.  The purpose of the mathematics placement exam is to place students into a mathematics course at an appropriate level, so that with reasonable effort the student has a good chance of success.  There is no passing or failing of the exam, as every student will be placed at some level.  The test does not measure what you once knew or what you could do if you tried harder.  Since some mathematical skills are easily forgotten, especially when not used on a regular basis, a review is advisable prior to taking the math placement exam. 

WHAT IS THE FORMAT OF THE PLACEMENT?

The computer-based exam, called ACCUPLACER, is an adaptive test that may include topics from arithmetic, elementary and intermediate algebra, geometry, trigonometry and precalculus.  It tailors its questions to you according to your background and the answers you provide.  The test usually takes between 45 minutes and an hour and a half to complete.  However, there is NO TIME LIMIT.  Placement results are provided immediately upon finishing the exam.

HOW DO I PREPARE FOR THE PLACEMENT?

If you have not taken mathematics for some time or you are a high school senior who did not take mathematics your senior year, we strongly recommend that you review before taking the exam.  In order to place into our lowest group of college-level general education courses, you only need to show a working knowledge of the material in elementary and intermediate algebra (equivalent to Algebra I and II at the high school level).  If you hope to place into the Short Course in Calculus (MAT 139) or Calculus I (MAT 150) levels, you should review precalculus material.

WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING:

  1. A photo ID.
  2. A writing utensil.
  3. No personal calculators are permitted.

 

Study Guides:

AREAS COVERED: 

The algebra level test material includes: working with integer and rational exponents, factoring algebraic expressions, working with polynomials, working with radical and rational expressions, solving linear and algebraic equations and inequalities in one variable, solving quadratic equations, finding the equation of a line, graphing linear functions, solving problems involving ratios and proportions, and solving word problems associated with the given material.

The precalculus level test material includes working with polynomial, rational, exponential and logarithmic functions and their graphs, solving equations with these functions, and trigonometry.

 CAN I TEST AGAIN?

Statistically, unless an extensive review takes place between the two tests, students tend to perform at the same level both times.  If you really feel that your performance was a fluke, you may retest.  

 If you placed into MAT 095 see your options here.