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Missoula College Academic Advising Center

Placement Tests
Math Placement Requirements
Writing Placement Requirements 


Placement Tests

Undergraduate students must have the appropriate placement test scores in order to enroll in mathematics and English composition (college writing) classes. Cyberbear does not permit you to register for these courses without the right scores in the system. Please review the information below to determine what type of scores and tests are required.

It is very important to do your best on placement tests; the more accurately the tests reflect your skills, the more accurately they will be able to place you into the appropriate level course to ensure your success!

Math Placement Requirements

Unless you've transferred in college-level math from another institution, completed an Advanced Placement (AP) mathematics test, or passed a dual-credit math course through Missoula College, you are required to take the ALEKS math placement test before enrolling in a math course. (If you do have transferwork or AP scores, please visit with your advisor for more information.)

The format of the exam: The placement exam is adaptive - the ALEKS software automatically determines which questions are presented to you based on your responses to prior questions. This technique selects just the right questions to ask without giving you questions that are too easy or too difficult. Because the exam is adaptive, you do not have to answer as many questions as you would on a traditional paper-and-pencil test — probably no more than 25.  Because the questions are chosen based on your answers to previous questions, you must answer every question when it is first given. You cannot leave a question and come back to it later. You must answer a question in order to go to the next question. You cannot return to previous questions.

Your placement score: After you've answered the last question, ALEKS computes your math placement level. Your placement will be one of five levels: Level 1, 2, 3, 4, or "Out of 4" — which we refer to as Level 5. When reviewing the score sheet, your score is indicated by the second line below your name. IMPORTANT: Be sure to either save your score report as a PDF document or print out a hard copy!

Example picture of ALEKS Placement Score report. An arrow points at the second text line that says placement into level 3 to indicate this is the actual score

Each ALEKS level corresponds with specific courses. Please refer to the table below for more information. Students are not permitted to register for a math course that is above their placement levels.

ALEKS Placement Score


 M 065 Prealgebra


 M 090 Introduction to Algebra

 M 111 Technical Mathematics


 M 095 Intermediate Algebra

 M 105 Contemporary Math

 M 115 Probability & Linear Math


 M 121 College Algebra

 M 122 College Trigonometry

 M 151 Precalculus


 M 162 Applied Calculus

 M 171 Calculus I

Selecting the appropriate math course: 
Once you've taken the ALEKS, you should visit with your advisor about enrolling in the most appropriate course for you. The decision should be based on your placement score and your intended degree program. Your advisor can help you identify the correct "math track" to help you complete the course(s) you need to be successful!

Instructions for taking the ALEKS math placement: 

The step-by-step instructions listed below are for Missoula College students only. If you are a mountain campus student, please refer to the ALEKS instruction webpage for 4-year degree programs.

    1. Go to

    2. In the “Using ALEKS with a class?” box, enter the following course code:  K4VET    DGGQ3

    3. On the second screen, confirm that you want to take a math placement exam for UM.

    4. Enter your personal information on the third screen. You will be asked for your name, email address, and student ID number (790-XX-XXXX).

    5. Continue following the instruction screens. You will need to complete a short tutorial (5 minutes) to teach you how to enter responses in ALEKS using the keyboard. The exam itself will consist of no more than 25 questions. You will receive your score right away.

    6. IMPORTANT: Save your score report as a PDF or print out a hard copy to keep for your records.

Writing Placement Requirements

All students pursing the Associate of Arts (AA) are required to complete WRIT 101 with a grade of C- or better. (Students exempt from completing WRIT 101 at UM are those that bring in transfer courses, a specific AP test, or have completed WRIT 101 through a high school dual-credit program.) Unlike math, there are multiple types of tests that may be used to place students into the appropriate English composition course.

Types of tests used for placement:
Students who have taken specific SAT or ACT sections, or attended a Montana high school that participated in the Montana University System Writing Assessment program (MUSWA) may use those scores to place into writing. Students who scored a 3 or higher on the English/Language & Composition AP test are exempt from WRIT 101.

If a Missoula College student does not have any of those scores, he/she is required to take the Compass eWrite placement test. (Mountain campus students take the UM Writing Diagnostic Exam, instead.) Students may also opt, after visiting with their advisors, to take WRIT 095 without taking any placement tests.

Students must take the eWrite in-person at the Learning Center (LC). Students may use the eWrite scheduler webpage to sign up for a time to take it at Missoula College, or may contact Betsy Cincoski at (406) 243-7826 or The eWrite test costs $15.

Students also have the option to remote-register to take the Compass eWrite from a desginated distance location. Students who wish to take the eWrite at a location other than Missoula College must call (406) 243-7878.

Writing placement tests: Please refer to the table below to determine what different tests and specific scores may be used to place students into composition courses.

MUS Writing Assessment SAT or ACT Writing Subscore SAT Writing Section ACT Combined English/Writing Compass eWrite UM Writing Diagnostic Exam

Course Placement

5.5-6 11-12 700-800 32-36 WRIT 201 or WRIT 101
3.5-5 7-10 440-690 18-31 7-12 3 WRIT 101
WRIT 121
2.5-3 5-6 390-430 16-17 <7 1 WRIT 095 or (re)take eWrite
Below 2.5 Below 5 Below 390 Below 16 2-6 WRIT 095

Academic Advising Center
Missoula College UM, AD12A
909 South Ave W
Missoula, MT 59801
(406) 243-7925
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