Math Placement Test

Register for the MPT

Test Date Schedule

The MPT is given several times prior to registration (including at Summerstart and Transitions).

All administrations are at the Testing Center (333 32nd St., AC 120) unless otherwise posted.

NOTE: The fee for the Math Placement Test is nonrefundable.

Check below for test dates and time, as well as online registration.

General MPT Registration Information

  • The deadline to register and prepay online is midnight of the day before the test.
  • The non-refundable fee of $35 is payable online (Debit, Visa or MasterCard).
  • Students must bring Picture I.D., Student No., and a #2 pencil.
  • Test is timed for 60 minutes; however, please allow 90 minutes for entire administration.
  • Calculators may not be used on either the General or the Advanced test.
  • Students who do not preregister may still take the test subject to space availability; but must be prepared to pay at check-in. 


Who is required to take the MPT?

Most students, including transfer students, who plan to register for a math course at Western must first take the MPT; some exceptions apply (see "MPT Exceptions" information). The MPT score may also be used as an acceptable course prerequisite, in lieu of completing a math class, for some courses in other departments including Astronomy, Chemistry, Decision Sciences, Economics, Environmental Sciences and Studies, Geology and Physics. Taking the MPT may save students both time and money.

Students generally take mathematics courses at Western for one of the following two reasons:

  1. To fulfill Western’s requirement for a Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) course as part of the General University Requirements (GUR).

    Each undergraduate at Western must satisfy the Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning (QSR) part of the General University Requirements (GUR). The QSR requirement is generally satisfied by taking one or more math courses at Western or the approved equivalents from an accredited community college or baccalaureate institution. Students transferring with a Direct Transfer Agreement (DTA) associate degree from a Washington state community college have generally already satisfied the QSR requirement.

  2. To fulfill major, minor, certification or prerequisite requirements – verify by program-of-study.

    Many academic programs, such as business, computer science, education, engineering, social sciences, natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics), and pre-professional pathway programs (pre-med, pre-dentistry, pre-pharmacy, etc.) require additional math course work beyond the QSR requirement. Students interested in these academic programs should begin their math course work in their first quarter at Western so as not to delay progress in their major. If unsure whether or not an intended academic program requires further math coursework, students should review degree requirements listed by the Program of Study.

For some courses, departments such as Astronomy, Chemistry, Decision Sciences, Economics, Environmental Sciences and Studies, Geology and Physics may accept an adequate MPT score in lieu of the math course prerequisite.

When should I take the MPT?

Western recommends that students take the MPT while attending an orientation program (Transitions, Summerstart, or the Advising and Orientation programs offered each quarter during the academic year.)  Register for the test (online) separately when making your advising and orientation program reservation. 

For students currently enrolled at Western or those students who are unable to attend an orientation program, you may take the MPT at your earliest convenience when you are in Bellingham.  Please see “What are the test MPT dates?” for upcoming test opportunities.

Which MPT should I take?

There are two levels of the MPT, General and Advanced.

You should take the Advanced test only if you aim to take calculus as your first math course at Western and you have completed high school math through math analysis or pre-calculus.

All other students should take the General test.

Students who are uncertain about which test to take should call Western’s Mathematics Department at (360) 650-3785 for advising.

How can I prepare for the MPT?

Taking the test early, while your skills are current, is recommended, particularly if you plan to take math during your first quarter at Western.

You are encouraged to review your mathematical skills prior to the test, since such review will help you be successful at Western and the resulting score will determine your math placement. Review the test topics below and then practice the sample problems.

General Test Topics

  • A. To place into Math 112 or 107:
    • Basic operations with rational numbers and expressions, radical expressions, exponents, polynomials;
    • Solve linear equations and inequalities;
    • Graph linear equations;
    • Factor and solve quadratic equations;
    • Solve applied problems in above areas.
  • B. To place into Math 114, 118, 156, 160, 240, 381:

    Meet requirements of "A" above, plus:

    • Solve equations involving linear and quadratic expressions and absolute values;
    • Graph linear and quadratic functions and functional notation;
    • Solve both linear and nonlinear equations and inequalities;
    • Solve equations involving rational and radical expressions;
    • Solve applied problems in above areas.

Advanced Test Topics

This test is appropriate only for students expecting or seeking to take a calculus course.

  • C. To place into Math 157:

    Meet requirements of "A" and "B" above, plus:

    • Graph polynomial and rational functions by finding real zeroes and asymptotes;
    • Graph exponential and logarithmic functions;
    • Solve linear and non-linear systems of equations and inequalities;
    • Solve applied problems in above areas.
  • D. To place into Math 124:

    Meet requirements of "A," "B," and "C" above, plus:

    • Graph trigonometric functions and inverses using radian or degree measure;
    • Verify trigonometric identities;
    • Use laws of sine and cosine to solve problems involving triangles;
    • Solve applied problems in above areas.

What are the MPT score requirements?

Students are admitted to mathematics courses based on MPT results as shown in the following Scaled Scores table (effective Fall 2016):


General Test

Advanced Test

Math 99 NA NA
Math 107 145-168 143-161
Math 112 148-168 143-161
Math 240 147-168 143-161
Math 381 150-168 143-161
Math 156 152-168 143-161
Math 114 or 160 153-168 143-161
Math 118 158-168 149-161
Math 157 NA 149-161
Math 124 NA 153-161

Can I retest?

A student may take each level of the MPT, General and Advanced, twice (first-time and one retest) within any one-year period, with a minimum two-week wait between test and retest. A fee is required for each retest. Our goal is for students to be successful in math studies; before retesting students should consider either taking a math course in which they can place, or studying independently to improve their skills. Students who do poorly on the Advanced MPT should consider taking the General MPT instead.

Are there MPT exceptions?

For access to certain math courses at WWU, some students do not need to take the MPT. If you are unsure whether you meet one of the following exceptions, contact the Department of Mathematics at (360) 650-3785.

  • The MPT is not required for entrance into Math 099 (Review Algebra – no degree credit).

  • Within one year of high school graduation, students who provide evidence of meeting the college readiness standard on the Smarter Balanced Assessment (Level 3 or higher) may enroll in Math 107 without taking the placement test. To receive permission to register for Math 107 without taking the MPT students need to bring their Smarter Balanced Mathematics Assessment Results Family Report, provided by the State of Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, to the Math Department.

  • Students who received a score of at least 480 on the SAT (Math) or 18 on the ACT (Math), may register for Math 107 or Math 112 without taking the MPT; but we strongly recommend taking the MPT to place into a higher level class, if appropriate.

  • Students who earned a C- or better in a college Intermediate Algebra course within the last 5 years may register for Math 107 or Math 112 without taking the MPT.

  • Students who earned a C+ or better in the final course in a college Precalculus sequence may register for Math 124 (Calculus) without taking the MPT. Completing only the first course in such a sequence (i.e. Precalculus I) will not meet this requirement.

  • The MPT is waived for students who scored three or higher on the College Board AP Calculus Exam. Students who scored a 3 or higher and who plan to take another Math course are advised to discuss their options with a Math advisor at (360) 650-3785. Exception: Students seeking admission to Honors Math 134 or Math 138 MUST take the Advanced MPT.

  • The MPT is waived for students who have college credit for a Calculus course equivalent to Math 124 (Calculus and Analytical Geometry).

  • Students who plan to complete a Bachelor of Arts in Education – Elementary or Special Education and have earned a C or better in a college Intermediate Algebra, College Algebra, or Precalculus course within the last five years may, after admission to Western’s Elementary or Special Education programs, register for Math 381 without taking the MPT.
Page Updated 12.20.2016