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Department of Mathematics

Placement FAQs

Have a question? You should find the answer here. This information is for all newly admitted freshmen and transfer students.

Required Scores

The following table lists the lowest MPT score needed to register for the most common MATH courses at UofSC. Note that a C or better in another course can satisfy the prerequisite for some MATH courses. Note that all you have to do is satisfy the requirement in one of the three columns in the following table.

MATH Course
MPT Algebra
MPT PreCalc
C or Better
111i
4-7
 –
111
8
7
115
7
111
122
14
19
111
141
19
115
142
141
170
14
19
111
172
122 or 141
174
19
115, 122, or 141
221
14
19
111
241
142
242
142

 

Frequently Asked Questions about the Math Placement Test

If your program of study enforces enrollment in MATH 141 (Calculus I) then you need to take the PreCalculus version of the MPT. This test will decide if you should start your college mathematics with PreCalculus (MATH 115) or Calculus I (MATH 141).

If your program of study enforces enrollment in MATH 122 (Applied Calculus) then you need to take the Algebra version of the MPT. This test will decide if you should start your college mathematics with MATH 111, MATH 111i, or Applied Calculus (MATH 122).

There are programs that allow students to choose between those two possibilities. If that is your case, choose your sequence of MATH classes first (the sequence with MATH 141, or the sequence with MATH 122), and then take the relevant version of the Math Placement Exam.

Every student at UofSC is required to complete an Analytical Reasoning and Problem Solving (ARP) requirement for their general education. Depending upon the student's major, there may or may not be a way to fulfill this requirement without taking a mathematics course, but the vast majority of all UofSC students do take at least some mathematics before completing their undergraduate degree. These students are faced with a very important decision: Which MATH course should you take first? The Mathematics Placement Tests are designed to help answer this question.

Many factors influence a student's success in a college-level calculus course, either MATH 122 or MATH 141 at UofSC. The National Mathematics Advisory Panel recently found that algebraic manipulation, fractions, and problem solving are the three most important mathematical skills needed to develop the mathematical and technological understandings needed for the 21st century.

Another important factor for success in college-level mathematics is the amount of time between your last mathematics course in high school and your first mathematics course at a college or university. These factors, together with less mathematical factors such as personal motivation and the ability to learn independently, all influence a student's likelihood of success in a college-level mathematics course. The results of the Mathematics Placement Test are our best estimate of the student's current mathematical readiness for college-level mathematics.

It depends. You must meet the prerequisite for any MATH course that you take at UofSC. If you meet this with transfer credits then you do not need to take the MPT. But, if you do not have appropriate transfer credits then you will need to take the appropriate version of the MPT.

Students whose programs of study start with MATH 141 but who start in MATH 115 will take only one extra mathematics course; the other courses will be required courses. This will make you at most one course behind but should not delay your graduation. On the other hand, taking a course for which you are not ready can lead to lower, or even failing grades, and is likely to delay your graduation.

However, students also need to be aware that several courses in their programs of study may have MATH 141 as a pre- or co-requisite. If these courses are not completed until later, graduation in four years becomes more difficult.

Students whose academic program depends critically upon taking MATH 141 in their first semester but place into MATH 115 are strongly encouraged to seek ways to improve their math preparation and retaking the MPT before their first full-time semester at UofSC. Some options include taking a Precalculus course at a local technical college (or UofSC), enrolling in the online Calculus Prep Program offered in July, or self-study with the practice tests.

The results of the Mathematics Placement Test will not have any impact on the credits you have previously earned through the AP program.
On a more practical note, you will probably attend Orientation before you know the results of the AP exams, so taking the Mathematics Placement Test is a back-up in case you do not score a 3 or higher on the AP Calculus exam. If you know your AP/IB score but it has not yet been entered on your UofSC academic record, you should request a Temporary Prerequisite Override and be prepared to provide documentation of your pending score.

Students with documented disabilities should contact the Office of Student Disability Services. They can work with you to determine what accommodations are appropriate for your situation.

We will follow their recommendations to ensure you have an opportunity to take the MPT under conditions that allow you to demonstrate your current knowledge of mathematics.

You must meet the prerequisites for any MATH course for which you want to register. Since registration is part of Orientation, not taking the MPT prior to attending Orientation decreases the likelihood that you will be able to complete registration at Orientation. Students may use a UofSC computer lab on their own after those tests, but there is no time during the actual Orientation day itself for the Math Placement Test. Students cannot skip ANY part of the Orientation program to take the MPT, and students who have not completed the MPT before Orientation may not be able to register for any MATH course until they take the MPT.

Yes. You have to wait at least 7 days before retaking the same version (Algebra or Precalculus) of the Mathematics Placement Test. In fact, you can take the same version of the Mathematics Placement Test, with different questions, up to three (3) times. While all attempts at the MPT will be part of your academic record, only the most recent score (on each version) will be used to determine eligibility for MATH courses.

You can take the other version of the Mathematics Placement Test at any time.

Re-take the MPT, this time selecting the other version of the MPT.

Note that you do not have to wait 7 days to take the other version of the MPT for the first time. Once you take an MPT you have to wait one week (7 days) before you can retake that version of the MPT.

Your most recent MPT score is the one that will be used for determining eligibility for 100-level MATH courses.

 


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