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 Fernl@mso.umt.edu.

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 WLC 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 WLC 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 on Thursdays and Friday in the Academic Advising Center, Eck Hall 131. 

What languages are tested? Currently WLC 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 sam.alvey@mso.umt.edu to set up an appointment with the respective sections.

Who should take the Placement Exam? Students with prior experience who are interested in majoring or minoring in French, German or Spanish; transfer students with partial credit from another institution and students needing placement for the general education requirement. 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 two times. It is progressive, so each exam is different.

Is the test timed? The testing time is tracked but there is no limit, and generally does not take longer than 30 minutes. All tests are proctored and in person. Students with accommodation for remote testing may take the exam remotely via Zoom to allow proctoring of the exam. 

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 (sam.alvey@mso.umt.edu) for advice regarding placement, they are asked to keep a copy of their result sheet for their advisor. 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 WLC 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 WLC 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

Description

Placement into WRIT 095 or WRIT 101+

WRIT 101-eligible score range

WRIT 201-eligible score range**

A07

ACT Combined English/Writing

17 or below

18-31

32-36

A32

ACT Writing subscore 2016

6 or below

7-10

11-12

SWR

ACT Writing subscore

6 or below

7-10

11-12

S07

SAT Writing score

430 or below

440-690

700-800

S08

SAT Essay subscore

6 or below

7-10

11-12

A08

ACT Writing subject score

18 or below

19-32

33 or higher

A13

ACT English Language Arts (ELA) score

17 or below

18-31

32 or higher

S14

SAT Writ/Language Test Score

24 or below

25-36

37 or higher

 

Advanced Placement: English Language and Composition*

N/A

N/A

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 http://admissions.umt.edu/admissions/advanced-credits/ap.php.

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 fall 2020 semester, the WRIT Placement Exam is now online via Submittable. 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+

1
WRIT 101 3
WRIT 201 3*
WRIT 101
exemption
4

*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 their placement exam page.

There are two Chemistry tracks at UM: CHMY 121N for students requiring one year or less of chemistry and CHMY 104/141N 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 gain access to the placement exam if they contact Jimmy Stevens (james.stevens@mso.umt.edu).

CHMY 121N Introduction to General Chemistry

  • Chemistry Placement Exam is not required.
  • Majors and concentrations requiring CHMY 121N: Pre-Nursing, Pre-Physical Therapy, the Biological Education concentration, the Ecology and Organismal Biology concentration with One Year of Chemistry, the Field Ecology concentration, the Human Biological Sciences concentration with One Year of Chemistry, and the Natural History concentration in the Division of Biological Sciences, Environmental Studies, the General concentration and the Earth Science Education concentrations in Geosciences, all majors in the College of Forestry and Conservation, and all concentrations in  Integrative Physiology (formerly 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 141N, 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 141N.
  • CHMY 104 IS NOT recommended for students whose majors require CHMY 121N, 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 141N: Pre-Pharmacy, Pre-Health-Sciences (Pre-Medical Sciences, Pre-Dental, Pre-Veterinary, etc.), the Cellular and Molecular Biology concentration, the Ecology and Organismal Biology concentration with Two Years of Chemistry, the Ecology concentration for Teacher Preparation in General Science, and the Human Biological Sciences concentration with Two Years of Chemistry in the Division of Biological Sciences, Medical Laboratory Sciences, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Computational Biochemistry, Pre-Engineering, the Cellular and Molecular concentration in Neuroscience , and the Geology and Environmental Geology concentrations 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.