Skip to content

Math Placement Testing

What is a Placement Test and What is a Math Level?

A placement test is a measure of your abilities in a basic skill area - math, reading, or writing. It identifies your current level of understanding and places you in an appropriate course that will build on that level of understanding. If you take a course much above your level of understanding, you probably will not have the foundational knowledge necessary to be successful.

The math placement test results in a Math Level. Math levels range from 3 to 9 and correspond to the prerequisites for math courses ranging from Pre-Algebra to Calculus I. Your math level identifies the appropriate course(s) for you to take next. Math levels can also be needed to register for Science or other courses that require a certain level of understanding in math. You cannot register for courses that have a prerequisite math level higher than your math level. Prerequisites are never waived for math courses.

Your initial math level is earned by taking a placement test, and subsequent math levels are earned by successfully completing specific math classes with a grade of 2.0 or higher. Since math knowledge can deteriorate with time, math levels of 5 and above are good for two years from the placement test date or the completion of specific math courses.

What is a Math Placement Test Like?

Math placement tests are administered on a computer. The computer chooses questions in a different order for each test taker based on the test taker's abilities, so once you submit an answer, you cannot go back and change it or review your answers at the end of the test. There is no time limit, but most people finish in about 30 to 45 minutes. Math placement tests are taken without a calculator, but on some questions, the computer lets you use a pop-up calculator on the screen. Students with disabilities who typically have an accommodation of a calculator on math tests must visit the Office of Disability Support Services for permission to use one on the placement test.

There are three different math placement tests: Arithmetic (17 questions), Elementary Algebra (12 questions), and College Level Math (20 questions). Unless you specifically ask for a certain test, students are started on the Elementary Algebra test. If you do well on this test, you will receive a math level. If you do very well on the Algebra test, you will also be given the College Level Math test automatically. If you do not score high enough to get a math level on the Algebra test, you will automatically be given the Arithmetic test.

Results are given immediately after the test. Results can be viewed in StarPort under the Student tab, in the Placement Test Scores box. You can take each math placement test twice in a 365 day period. There is no fee to take a placement test.

How Do I Prepare for the Math Placement Test?

Descriptions of each math placement test are found here.

PDF file Sample questions and answers are found here.

There are many resources available on the internet to help refresh your math skills. You can also view a sample of math-related websites.

How Do I Take the Math Placement Test?

Placement tests are administered in the Assessment Center on the main campus and many extension centers. Placement tests are administered on a walk-in basis during posted hours. Tests must be started at least one hour before closing time. You must already be admitted to LCC and show a pictured ID in order to start the test.

What Should I Do if I Don't Get a Math Level?

The Arithmetic Boost program is a non-credit self-study program designed to help students work towards a Math Level 3 by refreshing their knowledge of whole numbers, fractions, and decimals. Find more information about the PDF file Arithmetic Boost program here.

Mathematics and Computer Science Department

Mathematics and Computer Science Department
Arts & Sciences Building, Room 301
Phone: (517) 483-1073
Additional contact information »