Math Placement FAQ

The NMU mathematics placement program is designed to help students determine appropriate mathematics and computer science courses to enroll in at NMU.   The program consists of two exams: The Math Placement Test and the Math Diagnostic Test.  Both exams provide equally valid mathematics placement.

Q: How important is mathematics placement?
A: Correct placement is extremely important.  Low placement will recommend a course you do not need resulting in a waste of time and money.  Placement that is too high will recommend a course above your level causing undue hardship, stress and a waste of time and money.  Take the exam very seriously!

Q: Who should take the Math Placement Test?
A: Everyone who attends an in-person orientation session. This includes all freshman students coming straight out of high school.

Q: Who should take the (online) Math Diagnostic Test?
A: Everyone who attends an online orientation session. The test is also taken by applicants to the Electrical Line program and dually-enrolled high school students.

Q: Are calculators allowed?
A: No.  Calculators are not allowed on either test. Remember, correct placement is very important so be honest!

Q: Who does not need to take an exam?
A: Those who have already earned college-level mathematics credits that will transfer to NMU.

Q: What happens if I score 3 or higher on my AP Calculus Exam?
A: Five (5) credits of Calculus I will be granted along with permission to enroll in Calculus II at NMU.

Q:  Should I review mathematics texts or other material before taking the exam?
A:  Yes.  If you have not had mathematics for some period of time, a little refresher might keep you from taking an extra class that you might otherwise be able to skip. Our recommendation is to review any material that you had once mastered but are now out of practice with.

Q: What is the NMU Mathematics Placement Test like?
A: The Math Placement Test is a multiple-choice exam consisting of 51 questions. The Exam must be finished within 50 minutes. Calculators are not allowed.

Q: What is the Mathematics Diagnostic Test like?
A: The Math Diagnostic Test similar to the Math Placement Test.  The Exam must be finished within 50 minutes. Calculators are not allowed.

Q: When can I take the Exams? 
A: The Math Placement Test is taken during orientation. The Math Diagnostic Test is available online and can be taken seven (7) days per week from: 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM.  It can be taken anywhere that Internet access is available.

Q: How soon will I be able to register for classes after taking one of the placement exams?
A: If you take the Math Placement Test (offered during orientation), you will be able to register for classes that same day. If you take the (online) Math Diagnostic Test, then it depends: If you take the test before 11:00 AM you will be able to register that same afternoon.  If you take the test after 11:00 AM you will not be able to register until the following day after 6:00 AM.

Q: What information is required before taking the exam?
A: Students must have a valid NMUIN.

Q: How do I find my Mathematics Placement results?
A: Results for the Math Placement Test are made available during orientation. Results for the Math Diagnostic Test are displayed once the test is completed. If you have misplaced your results, contact for assistance.

Q: Does it mean I cannot come to NMU if my placement results are not high enough?
A: No. Your math placement recommendation does not change NMU admission status nor does it affect your GPA.

Q: I have taken Math Diagnostic Test, so why can't I register for a recommended course?
A: In order to register for courses beginning with a zero (MA090, OC080, etc.), contact the Student Service Center at (906) 227-1221. They will register you as long as your placement score recommends the course and there are seats available. Also, there is often a lag between when the exam is taken and when the results are downloaded onto the Banner System.  Should this happen, contact the department at (906) 227-2020 or to be registered.  Your name, NMU IN, and the course CRN (5-digit number) will be needed to do so.

Q: How often can I take a placement exam?
A: Retake eligibility is determined on a case-by-case basis, although typically retakes are not allowed within one year of the last time taking it. Retakes are offered in-person only. To request a retake you must contact the Department at .  We will need your full name, NMU IN and a brief explanation why you want to take the exam.

Q: The system tells me I have already taken a placement exam.  What should I do?
A: Contact the Department at .  We will need your full name and NMU IN.

Q: Whom should I contact for further information?
A: E-mail the Department at or call the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at (906) 227-2020.  We will need your full name and NMU IN.