Calculus Placement Exam

The calculus placement exam is an on-line exam to help you decide which beginning calculus course is best for you. Students who wish to take a calculus course or who are required to take a calculus course for their major typically take one of three courses:

  • MCS-121, Calculus I: This is an introductory calculus course designed for students who have taken trigonometry and pre-calculus in high school. Note that you do not need to have taken calculus in high school
  • MCS-122, Calculus II: This course builds on the material in Calculus I. It is intended for students who have taken MCS-121 or taken a year of calculus in high school
  • MCS-118 and MCS 119, Calculus with Pre-Calculus Review: This is a two-semester, two-course sequence that covers the material in MCS-121. It is a remedial course intended for students who do not have an adequate understanding of pre-calculus.

You should take the calculus placement exam if:

  1. You need to take a calculus course for a major in math, statistics, computer science, one of the natural sciences, management, accounting, or economics.
  2. You are planning on taking calculus next semester

You should not take this exam if:

  1. You scored a 4 or higher on one of the AP calculus exams or you already have credit for calculus from PSEO, CIS, or transfer credit.
  2. You plan to satisfy the MATHL credit by taking a course other than calculus.


Instructions for Accessing and Taking a Calculus Placement Test

  • Please take this exam at least one week in advance of speaking with an advisor.
  • We assume that you can take the placement test on the Web, if not at home, then at a library or other location.
  • If you encounter technical problems or have questions, you may send an email to a math professor at
  • To take the placement test, you will need one-half hour when you can work withou interruption, and you will need scratch paper and a pencil. We also encourage you to have a calculator.

To take the test, go to the website: Once you access this site, you should use only the navigational button within the site, not your web browser's "back" button. You then need to do two things, by selecting the appropriate links on the site:

  1. Register for the site by doing the following:
    1. Select Register at the bottom of the gray box on the left hand side of the window.
    2. Fill out the information requested. Use your name and your student ID number. (Your home phone number will also work.)
    3. Once you have created an account, you will be taken to the login page. Log in using the account information you just created.
    4. Click on Find Courses Open for Registration. You will only have to do this the first time you log on to this site.
    5. Choose Calculus Placement by checking the box to the left (this will be your only choice).
    6. Click on Register and then Confirm on the following page.
    7. You now have access to our three Calculus Placement exams. To access the test click on Calculus Placement.
  2. Take the appropriate Readiness Test for your background, as listed below. Each test is limited to 30 minutes.
    • If you have taken calculus already, take the test "Readiness for Calculus II".
    • If you have not taken calculus, but have taken four years of high school math, including a course such as Pre-calculus, FST (functions, statistics, trig), or Math Analysis, take the test "Readiness for Calculus I".
    • If you have taken three years or fewer of high school math, and in particular have not taken a course such as those listed above, then take the test "Readines for Calc w/ Pre-Calc Review 1a".
  3. When you are done, you must use the "Grade" button to submit your results. Your placement will be given to you on the next screen. Please make a record of this information. Do not use the "Quit and Save" button, which leaves the 30-minute clock running but does not submityour work for us to see. Note that there are buttons at the top of the pabe to move through the questions forward and backward as well as a drop-down list that lets you go directly to any particular question. Using these features, you can go back to recheck your work on earlier problems within the 30-minute period. Once you click the "Grade" button, your answers are final and you may not retake the test.