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Math Placement Exam

The Math Placement Exam (MPE) is used to determine a student's proper placement for enrollment to UC San Diego Entry-Level Math Pathways.

Students who do not meet a prerequisite for enrollment must take the MPE prior to course registration. See Need MPE? to determine if you need to take the MPE.

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:

MPE 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

Items Needed for Testing

The following items are needed or permitted for testing:

  • Your UCSD PID number.  Your results cannot be posted if you do not use your PID number.
  • A current photo ID.  Accepted IDs include: UC San Diego ID card, State ID or Passport, or High School ID (for first-year students)
  • (2) Sheets of blank scratch paper
  • #2 pencil and eraser.
  • No Calculators are allowed on the MPE. 

Recommended Review

The following are suggestions from the Mathematics Department for self-review prior to taking the MPE.

  1. Take the MDTP practice tests.
    1. Take the tests as if you were taking a proctored test: with a timer for 60 minutes and with no notes. 
    2. Review your results carefully and complete your recommended lessons from the topics found in the MDTP Learning Modules.
    3. Take the practice test(s) again (timed and with no notes) after completing recommended lessons to identify areas where additional study is required.
  2. Complete free math courses on Khan Academy. Depending on your areas for additional study, helpful courses include: Algebra 1, High School Geometry, Algebra 2, College Algebra, Precalculus, and Trigonometry.

Retake Policy

The MPE is shown to be a valid and reliable measure to predict student achievement in their placed class. Therefore, we do not recommend for students to retake the MPE except when one year has lapsed as results are only valid for one year.  Students should enroll in the class that they are placed to without delay. 

There is a 30-day wait period if students decide to retake the MPE.  Our data show that students who engaged in focused math coursework and review made better progress towards earning a higher placement. Consult the Recommended Review section above for self-review links. 

MPE results from students who retake prior to the 30-day waiting period will not be processed.  Students are expected to enforce the retake policy when registering for and attending an exam session. 

Testing with Accommodations

Students with a disability or who believe that they may have a disability, should contact the Office for Students with Disabilities (OSD) to see if they are eligible for testing accommodations. Students must obtain an OSD Authorization for Accommodation (AFA) to receive accommodations for the Math Placement Exam. Contact, or call 858-534-3373 to make arrangements for MPE testing at least three days prior to a desired exam date.