Math Placement Exam

The Math Placement Exam (MPE) is used to determine a student's proper placement for enrollment to precalculus or introductory calculus courses.

Students who do not meet another prerequisite for enrollment must take the MPE prior to course registration. See student placement to see if you need to take the MPE.

The MPE contains 60-questions and is 90-minutes long.  It is free when proctored on campus and costs $20 when proctored remotely through ProctorU.

The Math Testing and Placement Office recommends for students to take the MPE as early as possible and to allow time to review the suggested topics:

Topics

  • Exponents and Radicals
  • Functions and their Graphs
  • Geometry & Geometric Applications
  • Linear Equations and Inequalities, Absolute Values, and their Graphs
  • Logarithmic and Exponential Functions and their Graphs
  • Polynomials and Polynomial Equations and their Graphs
  • Rational Expressions and their Graphs
  • Trigonometry

Preparation

We recommend students to take an online readiness test to practice for the MPE.

Recommended refresher books

  • Just-In-Time Algebra and Trigonometry by Mueller & Brent. Addison-Wesley ISBN 0-201-41951-3 (for 4C/20A)
  • Schaum's Outline of College Algebra by Spiegel. McGraw Hill ISBN 0-07-060266-2 (for 3C/10A)
  • Schaum's Outline of Precalculus by Fred Safier. McGraw Hill ISBN 0-07-057261-5 (for 4C/20A)

Testing accommodation

Students who have been diagnosed as having a disability or who believe that they may have a disability, should contact the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD). Students must obtain an OSD Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) to get accommodations for the Math Placement Exam. Contact mathtesting@ucsd.edu, or 858-534-3373 to make arrangements for MPE testing at least three days prior to a desired exam date.

After taking the test

Placement results are entered in the student registration system, and students can register for their qualified math class through WebReg.

MPE results are valid for one calendar year. If students do not register for an appropriate math class in that time, they will need to take the MPE again.

Students may view an individual report online that includes their placement level and a list of topics that should be reviewed before the class begins.

If students are placed into a lower math course than desired, they are encouraged to engage in the topics where review is needed before attempting the MPE again. Examples include but are not limited to: reviewing the refresher books listed above, attending structured tutoring or SI Sessions, or taking a course in intermediate algebra at a community college. 

Students must wait at least 60 days before attempting to retake a Math Placement Exam.  MPE results from students who retake prior to the 60 day waiting period will not be processed.  Students are expected to enforce the retake policy when registering for and attending an exam session.