Placement Tests

Placement Test Information

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!

Placement Test Requirements

Math Placement Requirements

General Math Placement Information

Most students who have NOT 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 are required to take the Maplesoft math placement exam before enrolling in a math course. Students may use ACT/SAT Mathematics scores to place into certain math courses.

Students with ACT/SAT scores, math transfer coursework, or AP scores should consult their advisor for more information regarding specific placement and/or math course needs.

Maplesoft Math Placement Exam Information

Maplesoft is an electronic placement exam system that can be taken, for free, on any computer with an internet connection. Students access Maplesoft by logging in to Moodle, UM's online learning management system, with their NetID and password. (If students do not have access to Maplesoft through Moodle, their advisor must submit the online Access Request Form on their behalf.)

There are three different placement exams: Arithmetic, Algebra, and Pre-Calculus. Students should confirm with their advisor, in advance, which of the three exams they should take, as different placement exams place students into different math courses.

Exams MUST be taken in one sitting, and students are given a maximum of 90 minutes to complete an exam. Most students will only need approximately 45 minutes to complete an exam. Students should record their exam score, which is provided immediately following exam completion, for their records.

Students may retake each specific Maplesoft exam one time. If a student believes his/her score from the second attempt is still not satisfactory, the student must first meet and consult with his/her advisor or a Mathematics faculty member before being permitted to take the exam a third time.

Below is the list of required prerequisites needed to enroll in UM's various math courses. Students with ALEKS scores (UM's previous math placement test) may still use them to satisfy prerequisites. In the table below, M01 stands for Maplesoft Arithmetic exam, M02 stands for Maplesoft Algebra exam, and M03 stands for Maplesoft Pre-Calculus exam. Students should contact their advisor for more information.

Math Courses

M 065 Prealgebra

No prerequisites

M 111 Technical Math

This course is for Industrial Technology majors only

M 090 Introductory Algebra

M01 ≥ 9  or  ALEKS 2  or  M 065 ≥ C-

M 095 Intermediate Algebra

M01 ≥ 16  or  ALEKS 3  or  M 090 ≥ C-

M 105 Contemporary Math

M 115 Probability & Linear Math

M 118 Math for Music Enthusiasts

M01 ≥ 16  or  ALEKS 3  or  M 090 ≥ C-  or  M 095 ≥ C-  or ACT score ≥ 22  or  SAT Math Section ≥ 520  or  SAT Math Test ≥ 27.5 (March 2016 and later)

M 121 College Algebra

M 132* Numbers & Ops for K-8 Teachers

M02 ≥ 14  or  ALEKS 4  or  M 095 ≥ C-

*M 115 ≥ C- is also an acceptable prerequisite for M 132

M 122 College Trigonometry

M 121 ≥ C-  or  ALEKS 4  or  consent of instructor

STAT 216 Introduction to Statistics

M02 ≥ 12  or  ALEKS 4  or  M 115/M 121/M 132/M 151/M 162/M 171 ≥ C-

M 151 Pre-Calculus

M02 ≥ 17  or  ALEKS 4

M 162 Applied Calculus

M02 ≥ 19  or  M03 ≥ 10  or  ALEKS 5  or  M 121 ≥ C-  or  M 122 ≥ C-  or  M 151 ≥ C-

M 171 Calculus I M03 ≥ 15  or  ALEKS 5  or  M 122 ≥ C-  or  M 151 ≥ C-

Writing Placement Requirements

General Writing Placement Test Information

All students pursing the Associate of Arts (AA) are required to complete WRIT 101 College Writing I with a grade of C- or better. (Students exempt from completing WRIT 101 at UM are those that bring in a transfer course equivalent, a specific AP test, or have successfully completed WRIT 101 through a high school dual-credit program.) 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, s/he is required to take the WRIT Placement Test. Students may also opt, after visiting with their advisors, to take WRIT 095 Developmental Writing without taking any placement tests.

The UM Writing Placement test is free and online on Submittable.  Students can take it anywhere there is access to the internet.  Instructions to take the test are provided by MC Learning Center at

Once tests have been evaluated, scores will be entered into Moodle for viewing by students and Banner for viewing by faculty and advisors.

Test grading will no longer be electronic. Scores will, therefore, not be available immediately. Graders will regularly evaluate tests, and upload scores upon completion of the evaluation.

Writing Placement Test Scores

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

NOTE: Students who place at the top of the WRIT 095 placement threshold should visit with their advisor to discuss whether taking or retaking the WRIT placement test to try to place into WRIT 101 would be a good option for them.

  WRIT 095 WRIT 101
WRIT 121

WRIT 201
WRIT 101

ACT Combined English/Writing Below 18 18-31 32-36
ACT Writing Subject Score  Below 19 19-32 ≥33
ACT English Below 22 22-27 ≥28
Compass eWrite (scores valid
through Dec. 2018)
Below 7 7-12 [See advisor]
English Language Arts (ELA) Score Below 18 18-31 ≥32
MUS Writing Assessment Below 3.5 3.5-5 5.5-6
 SAT Writing Section Below 440 440-690 700-800
SAT or ACT Writing Subscore  Below 7 7-10 11-12
 UM's WRIT Placement Test 1 3 [See advisor]