Placement Tests

The University of Montana utilizes placement tests to determine initial placement in writing, math, foreign language, and chemistry. Placement tests measure readiness, not aptitude.

Math placement at UM depends on two criteria: a student’s declared major and placement level. Many incoming freshmen and transfer students still needing to meet their math requirement will need to take a math placement exam before registering for a math course at The University of Montana.

UM utilizes Maplesoft math placement exams and offers three version of the exam: Arithmetic (M01), Algebra (M02), and Pre-Calculus (M03).  Students should take the appropriate exam based on their declared or intended major.  See information below for details.

Math placement and sequencing diagram

Students can access the test by logging into Moodle. If a student does not have access to the Math Placement shell inside Moodle please request access by following the link to the Math Placement Access Request Form.

EdReady Montana is a personalized, free online program designed to help students raise their  math placement exam scores. To learn more about EdReady Montana and to refer students to sign up, contact Lauren Fern – EdReady Montana Coordinator at UM – at

UM uses ACT and SAT scores to determine students’ placement into math courses for the majors listed below. If students don’t meet the minimum scores required to place into college-level courses (100-level or higher), they have the option of taking the math placement exams to try to place into college level courses. Students without minimum ACT or SAT test scores who choose not to take the math placement exams will be required to enroll in a developmental course (below 100-level) in order to acquire the skills necessary to succeed in college-level math courses.

The minimum ACT mathematics portion score required to place into college level math courses for the majors listed below is 22 and the minimum SAT mathematics scores are Old SAT Math Section ≥ 520 or New SAT Math Section ≥ 550 or SAT Math Test Score ≥ 27.5 (The new SAT test went into effect March 1, 2016)

Majors that use ACT and SAT scores to determine math placement: Accounting, Anthropology, Art, Classics, Communication Studies, Communicative Sciences and Disorders, Dance, East Asian Studies, English, Environmental Studies, Finance, French, Geography, German, Health and Human Performance, History, History/Political Science combined degree program, International Business, Japanese, Journalism, Liberal Studies, Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing, Media Arts, Music, Native American Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Pre-Nursing, Psychology, Political Science-History, Recreation Management, Radio-Television Production, Russian, Social Work, Sociology, Spanish, Theatre, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Undeclared.

The math placement exam requirement will also be waived for students in the above majors if one of the following conditions is met:

  • By earning a score of 3 or above on the AP Calculus AB or BC exam or AP Statistics exam
  • By earning a score of 4 or above on the IB Mathematics HL exam
  • By earning a score of 50 or above on the CLEP subject examinations in College Algebra, College Algebra-Trigonometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus or Calculus
  • By successfully completing GAC010 – Math II: Probability, Statistics and Finance or GAC 016 – Math III: Calculus and Advanced Applications
  • By successfully completing a college-level math course while enrolled in either a high school dual enrollment program, a high school pilot program, or while enrolled at another college or university prior to a student’s transfer to UM.

Students in the below majors will need to take a math placement exam unless one of the above conditions is met. Please see the note immediately below for additional, important information:

  • **Students in the below majors should check with an academic advisor in their program of study to verify that their AP, IB, CLEP, GAC, or dual enrollment, etc. credits are acceptable prerequisites for additional math and/or other major-specific coursework. The Maplesoft exams may be required in some situations.

Majors that DO NOT use ACT and SAT scores to determine math placement: Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Computer Science/Mathematical Sciences combined degree program, Economics, Ecological Restoration, Ecosystem Sciences and Restoration, Education, Elementary Education, Forestry, Geosciences/Geology, Mathematics, Medical Technology, Microbiology, Neuroscience, Pharmacy, Pre-Engineering, Physics, Pre-Medical Sciences, Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Education, Parks, Tourism, Recreation Management, Resource Conservation, and Wildlife Biology.

Academic Advisors: Please note that M151 is a one semester version of M121 and M122. This is a fairly intense class and students should be advised to take M151 only if they need a refresher of the material (as opposed to learning the material). If they are in the latter situation, we strongly advise the students to take the two semester sequence of M121 and M122.

 Math Placement Exam Chart:

UM Math Courses by Placement Exam Score

Placement Exam Score

UM Math Course

No pre-requisite course
M 065 Pre-Algebra
No pre-requisite course AND Industrial Technology Majors Only 
M 111 Technical Mathematics
ALEKS ≥ 2 or M01 ≥ 9
M 090 Intro Algebra
ALEKS ≥ 3 or M01 ≥ 16
M 095 Intermediate Algebra
M 104 Numbers as News**
M 105 Contemporary Math
M 115 Probability & Linear Math
M 118 Math for Music Enthusiasts**
ALEKS ≥ 4 or Consent of Instructor
M 122 Trigonometry
ALEKS ≥ 4 or M02 ≥ 14
M 121 College Algebra
M 132 Numbers & Ops for K-8 Teachers
ALEKS ≥ 4 or M02 ≥ 17
M 151 Pre-Calculus
ALEKS ≥ 5 or M02 ≥ 19 or M03 ≥ 10
M 162 Applied Calculus
ALEKS ≥ 5 or M03 ≥ 15
M 171 Calculus I

*See Appendix C for the complete math placement and prerequisite sequencing chart

What is the MCLL World Language Placement Exam? The Placement Exam is a nationally recognized Computer Adaptive Placement Exam, first created for Brigham Young University. It is a free, computer based program. The WebCAPE assessment tests reading comprehension, grammar, and vocabulary in French, German, and Spanish in a multiple choice format. The exam is timed and usually takes about 30 minutes to complete. The total time from start to finish is taken into consideration; students must inform the MCLL department administrative associate prior to the exam if special accommodation is required. Group exams are offered during Autumn, Spring, and Summer Orientations. We also offer individual testing in our office Monday through Friday between 9 am – 6 pm in Liberal Arts 313. Our office is not accessible to individuals with physical disabilities so please inform the administrative associate if an alternative testing location is required. Remote testing will be considered under special circumstances.

What languages are tested? Currently MCLL tests only Spanish, German, and French. Students with an interest in or prior experience with Russian, Japanese, Italian, Chinese, Latin, and Arabic can contact Sam Alvey at 406-243-2603 or to set up an appointment with the respective sections.

Who should take the Placement Exam? Students with prior language experience who are interested in “testing out” of their general education language requirements; students wishing to major or minor in French, German, or Spanish; transfer students with partial credit from another institution. Students with prior college credit or AP credit do not necessarily need to take the exam, but are welcome to do so.

How much does the exam cost? The Placement Exam is free.

How many times can the exam be taken? The exam can be taken multiple times. It is progressive, so each exam is different. However, if a student needs to retake the test more than three times it is recommended that they take the course.

Is the test timed? The test is timed, but there is generally no time limit. Most students complete the exam in about 30 minutes. The time is considered in the score, particularly for remote testing. We request anyone whose remote test lasts longer than an hour retake the test in the office.

When are results received? Results are immediate. The scores placing over the 102 level are recorded on the SOATEST form in Banner. Students taking the test remotely must contact Sam Alvey ( for advice regarding placement, they are asked to keep a copy of their result sheet for their advisor. A stamped and authorized copy of the results is available upon request from the MCLL office. Scores are usually entered into SOATEST immediately after the test results are received. Scoring is calibrated on a scale from 0-1000:

French Placement

Below 260 FRCH 101
260-333 FRCH 102
334-403 FRCH 201
Above 403 Into FRCH 202 (403-500) or into FRCH 301 (500-1000 - four semesters achieved)

German Placement

Below 281 GRMN 101
281-383 GRMN 102
384-492 GRMN 201
Above 492 Into GRMN 202 (492-500) or into GRMN 301 (500-1000 - four semesters achieved)

Spanish Placement

Below 270 SPNS 101
270-345 SPNS 102
346-427 SPNS 201
Above 427 Into SPNS 202 (427-500) or into SPNS 301 (500-1000 - four semesters achieved)

Is credit received for the exam? If a student tests out of the exam the results will be entered into their records [SOATEST in Banner]. Students do not receive credit for these exams; if a student successfully places into the Intermediate level [201 or higher] the MCLL general credit requirement will be waived by the student’s major advisor/chair upon successful completion of the student’s major. The credits not used towards the MCLL language requirement [10 credits for first year and additional 8 if testing out of the second year language course] can be used towards the students major or a complimentary minor.

Students must adhere to their department policy in regarding additional language proficiency requirements.

Please contact Sam Alvey at the email address above for any further questions regarding the exams, remote testing, or if you are interested in taking the Russian, Japanese, Chinese, and Italian placement exams.

The MUS Writing Assessment Score (“MUSWA”), ACT or SAT Writing Sub-score or section, Combined English/Writing ACT or AP Language and Composition (NOT the AP Literature and Composition test!) are used for placement into Mountain Campus Writing courses as shown below. Where there are multiple scores indicating conflicting placements, the highest placement is used.

Banner SOATEST code


Placement into WRIT 095 or WRIT 101+

WRIT 101-eligible score range

WRIT 201-eligible score range**


ACT Combined English/Writing

17 or below




ACT Writing subscore 2016

6 or below




ACT Writing subscore

6 or below




SAT Writing score

430 or below




SAT Essay subscore

6 or below




ACT Writing subject score

18 or below


33 or higher


ACT English Language Arts (ELA) score

17 or below


32 or higher


SAT Writ/Language Test Score

24 or below


37 or higher


Advanced Placement: English Language and Composition*



3 or higher

*Through the Academic Year (AY) 2015-16, AP Language and Composition exam scores of 3 or above transfer in as 6 credits and fulfill the WRIT 101 General Education Requirement. Please refer to

Students entering UM without WRIT 101 or one of the tests listed, or those wishing to challenge their initial placement, should take the WRIT Placement Exam. This exam is administered at each Orientation and once during each semester to coincide with the Priority Registration period. It is open to new and continuing students; no registration is required. Students must bring their student ID and a pen or pencil. Students who are non-native English speakers may use an electronic translating device. Students with disabilities may contact Disability Services to arrange for accommodations.

Beginning spring 2016 semester, the WRIT Placement Exam is now online via Moodle. If any of your advisees require the WRIT Placement Exam, please instruct them to email with their names and student ID numbers. Using that information, the Department of English will add them to the WRIT Placement Moodle shell so that they can submit their placement exam electronically and take as much time as they need. Continuing students may submit electronically or attend one of the face-to-face exams.

Banner SOATEST screen codes used for WRIT placement:

Test Scores

WRIT 095 or WRIT 101+

WRIT 101 3
WRIT 201 3*
WRIT 101

*WRIT 201 eligibility noted in SFASRPO, additional entry in SOATEST, and student notification via email regarding differences between 101 and 201. WRIT 201 satisfies both the WRIT 101 General Education Requirement and the Intermediate Writing Course General Education Requirement. It's a "double-dipper" course.

**The presence of the ALPH code in SOATEST indicates fall enrollment eligibility. Spring registration is unrestricted.

For information on the Writing and math placement tests for Missoula College students, please see:

There are two Chemistry tracks at UM: CHMY 121N for students requiring one year or less of chemistry and CHMY 104/141 for students intending to take two or more years of chemistry. The Chemistry Placement Exam is required ONLY for students whose major calls for them to take either CHMY 141N College Chemistry I or CHMY 104 Preparation for Chemistry in the first semester. Students have access to the exam in Moodle if they are in a major that requires CHMY 141N. They will also be able to access the placement exam if they contact Jimmy Stevens (

CHMY 121N Introduction to General Chemistry

  • Chemistry Placement Exam is not required.
  • Majors and concentrations requiring CHMY 121: Pre-Nursing, Pre-Physical Therapy, the Biological Education Option, the Ecology and Organismal Biology Option with One Year of Chemistry, the Field Ecology Option, the Human Biological Sciences Option with One Year of Chemistry, and the Natural History Option in the Division of Biological Sciences, Environmental Studies, the General Option and the Earth Science Education Options in Geosciences, all majors in the College of Forestry and Conservation, and all options in Health and Human Performance.
  • CHMY 121 with a grade of C- or higher is a pre-requisite for CHMY 123, Intro to Organic and Biochemistry.

CHMY 104 Preparation for Chemistry

  • CHMY 104 is only recommended for students whose majors will require them to complete CHMY 141N and have a Chemistry placement score below 13, or have a Maplesoft M02 math placement score below 14, or have not completed M 095 Intermediate Algebra with a C- or better.
  • CHMY 104 is designed to prepare students for CHMY 141, College Chemistry I. Students who struggle with a significant proportion of the questions on the Chemistry Placement Exam must improve their skills at scientific reasoning, applications of algebra, and the fundamentals of chemistry before they can succeed in College Chemistry. It is designed to provide a sound understanding of these fundamentals so the student can succeed in CHMY 141.
  • CHMY 104 IS NOT recommended for students whose majors require CHMY 121, and it will not meet a Natural Science General Education Requirement.

CHMY 141N College Chemistry I

  • CHMY 141N is only recommended for students whose majors will require them to complete two or more years of chemistry, have a Chemistry placement score of 13 or higher, and have a Maplesoft M02 math placement score of 14 or higher or have completed M 095 Intermediate Algebra with a C- or better.
  • Majors requiring CHMY 141: Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Health-Sciences (Pre-Med, Pre-Dental, Pre-Veterinary, etc.), the Cellular and Molecular Biology Option, the Ecology and Organismal Biology Option with Two Years of Chemistry, the Ecology Option for Teacher Preparation in General Science, and the Human Biological Sciences Option with Two Years of Chemistry in the Division of Biological Sciences, Medical Technology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, the Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience Option, and the Geology and Environmental Geology Options in Geosciences.
  • Students with a Maplesoft M02 math placement score of 13 or lower are advised to delay the start of their chemistry sequence until they have completed the appropriate algebra sequence based on their major.