Students are placed into mathematics courses based on one or more of the following criteria:
- Score on the Montgomery College placement test (Accuplacer) which must be taken at one of the campuses unless one of the other criteria (2, 3, or 4) is met.
- SAT or ACT Math score meet a minimum cutoff
- AB-Calculus or BC-Calculus AP exam score of 4 or 5
- Proof of prerequisite course work completed at another college or university.
Your score on the placement test is the main criteria used to place you in the most appropriate mathematics class at Montgomery College. Please take some time to review the practice tests before you take the placement test. This should give you a placement test score that accurately reflects what you know. The test utilizes a four-function calculator that will appear on the screen for selected questions. Student Services has a list of frequently asked questions about assessment in general: who must be tested, how to schedule testing, etc. Here is the link to the Assessment Center.
Who does not need to take the mathematics placement test? If your SAT math score was 550 or higher, you may enroll in MA 110, 113, 115, 116, 130, or 160 without taking the placement test. All students who want to enroll in MA 180 or MA 181 should take the placement test. The placement test is only used to place students in courses up to and including Calculus I. If you believe you qualify for a mathematics course above the level of MA 181, please see an advisor in the Mathematics Department.
What if your placement test score places you in MA 090 (Prealgebra), MA 091 (Elementary Algebra) or MA 101 (Intermediate Algebra for Liberal Arts) and you want to improve your score? Find out more about our Fast Track Algebra program.
All students who take the placement test begin with a 12-question elementary algebra test. All questions are multiple-choice. The test is taken on a computer that will score your test right after you finish it. Scores range from 20 to 120. A four-function calculator will appear on the screen when it is helpful and appropriate to answer a question.
The questions cover three major topic areas.
- positive and negative numbers, absolute value, and square roots
- operations with algebraic expressions, including polynomials, roots , exponents, factoring, and simplifying algebraic fractions
- factoring quadratic equations, and solving equations and inequalities
For students who do well enough on the Elementary Algebra test, there is a 20 questions exam to assess readiness for a college level mathematics classes. The college mathematics test score is used to place students into college-level courses from MA 110 through MA 181. Scores range from 20 to 120. A four-function calculator will appear on the screen when it is helpful and appropriate to answer a question.
The 20 multiple-choice questions cover six major topic areas:
- Intermediate algebra - simplifying algebraic fractions, expressions with roots and exponents, factoring and expanding polynomials
- Solving equations and inequalities
- Graphing - lines, parabolas, circles, ellipses, hyperbolas
- Functions - notation, polynomials, algebra of functions
- Trigonometry, exponents, logarithms
- Other topics - complex numbers, sequence and series, counting, factorials, determinants
This test is given to screen students who may be recommended to take MA 090A, five hours a week, versus MA 090, three hours a week.
The 20 multiple-choice questions cover three major topic areas. The major topic areas are:
- Place value, arithmetic and word problems for whole numbers, decimals, fractions, integers, and percents.
- Solving linear equations, collecting like terms
- Area and perimeter of rectangles