MSU Math Placement Services


MPS Documents:

Campus Links:

MPS Exam Links:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the purpose of the service?

A: The service is designed to identify the MSU mathematics course that best matches your current mathematical skill.

Q: Is this just an experiment, or is the result from the placement service actually used for placement?

A: The results of the current MPS Exam are 'real': they are used for placement into all entry-level mathematics courses at MSU.

Q: Can everyone use the service?

A: No.  The service is provided solely for use by new freshmen, new Ag Tech students, new transfer students, and new lifelong undergrads who have been admitted to MSU for the first time.  (Some of these students might not have to take the exam.  Read ["Who must use the service?"].) To gain access to either the 'Actual' exam or the 'Format Sample' exam, students must use their MSUNetId and their MSUNet password.

Students who are (or have been) enrolled at MSU may write only the proctored MPS Exam.  For more information, go to [Can I use the MPS Exam to 'place out of' mathematics at MSU?]

Q: Who must use the service?

A: With the following exceptions, all students entering MSU are required to take the un-proctored MPS Exam online, before attending AOP:

  1. Students who have already received Advanced Placement Mathematics credit for Calculus from MSU.

  2. Students who will take a mathematics course at MSU and have either ACT Math scores of at least 28 or SAT Math scores of at least 660.

  3. Students with transfer credit for MTH 103, 110, 116, 124, 132, or 152H.

Students with transfer or AP credit or waiver for the following MUST take the MPS Exam:

  1. Transfer credit for MTH 112, 114, 201, or STT 200, 201 alone, with no other math credit above the level of MTH 1825.

  2. AP Statistics.

Q: What benefits does the service provide?

When a student submits a completed MPS Exam for grading, the service immediately displays both the student's score and a link to a description of the corresponding placement into mathematics courses at MSU.

Students who are not satisfied with their placement may re-take the MPS Exam three times (for a maximum total of four attempts). There is an enforced four week waiting period between each pair of attempts.  (We hope that students will use the four week periods to sharpen their mathematical skills.)

By providing an early warning plus the opportunity to re-try the placement exam at a later date, we hope to encourage as many students as possible to work toward their best possible placement.

Q: What can I do to prepare for the MPS Exam?

A: The Department of Mathematics has provided a publicly accessible [Diagnostic Exam], which reviews the mathematics that appears on the MPS Exam.

In addition, when you are ready to take the actual MPS Exam, the [MPS Exam Format Sample], is available to prepare you for the look and feel of the real exam.

Q: To use the service, what kind of equipment will I need?

A: To access the MPS Exam, a student must use the latest version of Firefox or Safari web browser program on a computer that has full Internet access.  Almost any modern Internet connection (like those available from cable providers, DSL, dial-up, etc.) provides these services.

Q: How can I reach the service?

A: The service can be reached directly at:

The service can be reached through the MSU Mathematics Dept. home page:

(On the MSU Mathematics Dept. home page, under the line heading ‘PROSPECTIVE STUDENTS’, the first entry, labeled ‘Mathematics Placement Service’, is a link to the Mathematics Placement Service.)

The first page of the exam is the MSU Mathematics Placement Service 'Basic Info' page.  Students MUST read this page carefully before proceeding.  In particular, the page contains links to a 'Diagnostic Exam', a 'Format Sample Exam', and an 'Actual Exam'.  Only the scores from the 'Actual Exam' can be used for placement.

To begin an exam, simply click on the appropriate hot link, then read and follow the instuctions that appear.

Q: What if something goes wrong while I am using the service?

A: We strongly recommend that students use reliable equipment on reliable internet connections, such as are available from most schools, libraries, MSU MSUE offices, etc.  The [Format Sample Exam], which can be attempted a large number of times, should always be used as a convenient test vehicle to help students identify and avoid such problems before attempting the Actual Exam.

While we hope that no one will experience technical difficulty while writing the exam, glitches of various kinds do sometimes affect network connections like those used by the MPS Exam.  If such a problem interrupts a student's exam session, the student must attempt to reconnect and complete the exam immediately!

Q: Can I use the MPS Exam to 'place out of' mathematics at MSU?

A: Because of security concerns, the result of the current unproctored web-based MPS Exam cannot be used to waive the entire University Graduation Requirement in mathematics.  To obtain such a waiver, a student must earn a sufficiently high score on the Proctored MPS Exam:

The Proctored MPS Exam can be taken only once.

On the first day of each student's Academic Orientation Program ('AOP'), a proctored exam is made available to those new freshmen and transfer students who have not taken it before.  (In the past, the proctored exam has been offered early in the morning, before the official starting time for AOP; however, the actual schedule for this year's sessions is determined by the Office of Admissions.)

Alternatively, before your AOP, by special pre-arrangement, you can take your proctored exam at one of several MSU Extension (MSUE) sites spread around the State of Michigan.

[MSUE Offices]

To arrange to take your proctored exam before your AOP, please contact the selected site directly.

Otherwise, access to the Proctored MPS Exam is solely at the discretion of the Office of the Undergraduate Director for Mathematics (517 353-0844).

Q: Can I take the exam after I have been enrolled in classes at MSU?

A: No.  The web-based placement exam is available only to those students who have been admitted to MSU, but have not yet enrolled in any class.  (Students 'Pre-enrolled' by the University during the Spring prior to their AOP are a special case: see [below].)

Q: How is the potential for dishonesty on the exam controlled?

A: In answering an earlier question, we noted that students cannot use the unproctored MPS Exam to waive the MSU University Mathematics Graduation Requirement.  Consequently, dishonesty of any kind on this exam can only result in placement into a course in which the student is extremely unlikely to succeed.

Q: Is there a deadline for use of the Placement Service?

A: Students should complete their use of the service at least three (3) days before their scheduled Academic Orientation Program (AOP) session.  This will ensure that their placement results have been recorded and distributed prior to their AOP session.  Because of the enforced four-week waiting period between the three possible tries of the MPS Exam, we suggest that students should plan to write the Exam for the first time at least two months before their AOP date.

(There is an absolute official deadline for use of the Placement Service.  For most students, it is the start of their AOP session, as described on the [basic information page].)

Q: Can 'Pre-enrollment' (which is scheduled to occur in mid-May) affect my access to the service?

A: No! Even if you are notified that you have been pre-enrolled in an MSU mathematics course, you will continue to be able to use the service, as described in the answer to the preceding question, "Is there a deadline for use of the Placement Service?".

Q: What kinds of placement are available through this service?

A: Click [here].  To review your score(s), go to [MSU StuInfo].

Q: Why doesn't the service spell my name correctly?

A: Unfortunately the University's primary database was not designed to accept names which contain apostrophes.  For example, it uses Odonnel instead of O'Donnel.

Q: Must I bring a printed copy of my MPS Exam's result page to my AOP session?

A: Regardless of what you might read (or hear) elsewhere, we suggest that you print a copy of your exam results ONLY for your own records.  Regrettably, since such pages are remarkably easy to 'fake', MSU cannot accept such printouts as verification of your MPS Exam placement.

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