Math Placement Exam

Math Placement Exam

Required for all new students (Freshmen & Transfer)

The Math Placement Exam has 30 to 40 questions and could take approximately 60 to 80 minutes to complete (20-minute time limit per part). The Math Placement Exam system will start you in Part AA, and it will only ask you to complete Part BA if necessary. You will be asked to score each part at the end, and it is important for you to grade the full exam if not completing a requested part. This test is used to determine math placement and it will help academic advisors recommend Math and Science courses for your first semester.

We recommend that you review and take advantage of the sample exams before taking the Math Placement Exam.


How to Review

  • 1 Take the sample exam.
  • 2 Score* the sample exam to determine your need to review.
  • 3 If your score was 19 or less in any part, review your math skills using a Schaum's Outline Series Study Guide purchased through Amazon, Follet, or at a bookstore.
    Review for Part BA: Schaum's Outline Elementary Algebra
    Review for Part AA: Schaum's Outline Intermediate Algebra
    Review for Parts PC & TR: Schaum's Outline Precalculus
  • *Each question on the MPE is worth 1 pt. per blank answer, 3 pts. per correct answer and 0 pts. for wrong answers. If you are not certain how to do a problem, it should be left blank as wrong answers are penalized.

Not following these directions could result in a score which could place you in the wrong math course.

This could result in a $1700 mistake by the time you withdraw from a course, take the course you should have taken, then repeat the first course again.

All new students (Freshmen and Transfer) are required to take the exam.

Taking the MPE

  1. Have blank scratch paper and extra writing utensils available (no notes or books).
  2. You cannot get help from anyone else so plan to take the exam by yourself.
  3. Schedule a time where you can be uninterrupted for at least an hour.
  4. Shut down and restart computer (this test works best with a cleared cache or rebooted system).
  5. Login to the Math Placement Exam with your NUID# and password (the same login as your MyRed account).
  6. Do not use the back and forward buttons of your web browser to move between questions on the math placement exam. Please use the Previous Question and Next Question buttons provided at the top left of the frame.
  7. When you are satisfied with ALL of your answers for the part you are on, you should click on the "Grade this part" button at the top of the frame and proceed to the next section.
  8. Call New Student Enrollment at 402-472-4646 for any questions.

Calculators, including graphing calculators (for example the TI-85 or TI-86), are allowed. Calculators with symbolic mathematical manipulation ability, for example the TI-89, are not allowed. You may have blank scratch paper available but no notes or books and of course, you cannot get help from anyone else.

The Services for Students with Disabilities office will assist a student with the MPE. All students who wish to have an accommodation when taking the Math Placement Exam must contact and register with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (117 Louise Pound Hall, 402-472-3787, unl.edu/ssd/home). After registering with the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities, students will be allowed to take the Math Placement Exam using the system common to all students with any accommodations allowed. Students with accommodations will still be limited to 3 exam attempts across their time at The University of Nebraska–Lincoln and limited to one attempt each day (24 hours) as would any student attending the university.

Sample exam

There is a sample exam on the Math Department website. It is strongly recommended you take the sample exam to review your knowledge before taking the MPE. Many students need to brush up on what they have covered in math classes. Study guides are recommended based upon how well you do on the sample exam.

How the MPE is organized

There are four parts to the exam: BA, AA, PC, and TR. The Math Placement Exam system will start you in Part AA, and it will only ask you to complete Part BA if necessary. 10 questions per exam part with a 20-minute time limit per part. Do not use the back and forward buttons of your web browser to move between questions on the math placement exam. Please use the Previous Question and Next Question buttons provided at the top left of the frame. At the end of each part, you will be asked to score that particular part.

How the MPE is scored

Wrong answers are penalized. If you are not fairly certain of how to do a problem, the problem should be left blank. The actual scoring scheme on each exam part is 1 point per blank answer, 3 points per correct answer and 0 points per wrong answer.

Problems with viewing the MPE

Internet Explorer sometimes limits the number of graphics it displays on a page at first, with a small box red "x" replacing the graphics. If this happens, right clicking on that box gives a menu which includes "Show Picture". By choosing that option, it generally works to display the missing expression.