UC Davis Mathematics

Math Placement Requirement (MPR)

The Mathematics Placement Exam determines your level of preparation for college-level math courses offered at UC Davis. All students who register in MAT 12, 16A, 17A, 21A, or 21M are required to take the Mathematics Placement Exam. Students enrolled in Mathematics 12, 16A, 17A, 21A, or 21M without satisfying the required minimum scores will be administratively dropped from the course by the mathematics department after the end of the last testing session for that particular quarter. There are no exemptions for SAT, AP, or IB scores, as well as math coursework taken at another institution. 

Please note that if you take MAT 12, you still need to take the Math Placement again after passing MAT 12 before you can continue on to MAT 16A, 17A, 21A, or 21M.

Math Placement Examination

The Math Placement Examination is only available online. There will be two testing sessions per quarter (Fall, Winter, Spring), and a student may only take it once per testing session. As with any exam, if you need special accommodations due to a disability, please contact the UC Davis Student Disabilities Center.

Students enrolled in MAT 12, 16A, 17A, 21A, and 21M  who do not meet the Math Placement Requirement (MPR) before the testing periods will be notified via email regarding when they will be able to take the exam.

Winter Quarter 2020

Math Placement Exam sessions for Winter Quarter 2020 are open to all students. If you are registered in MAT 12, 16A, 17A, 21A, or 21M and have not taken the placement exam, or did not received a qualifying score for the course you are registered in, you will be automatically registered in the testing session listed below:

Winter Quarter Testing Session 1 - December 11 - December 17, 2019
Begins at 11 AM on December 11 and ends at 11 AM on December 17
Winter Quarter Testing Session 2 - January 6 - January 14, 2020
Begins at 11 AM on January 6 and ends at 11 AM on January 14

If you are not currently enrolled in one of these courses but would like to register to take this exam, fill out our manual registration form.

MANUAL REGISTRATION
Winter Quarter Testing Session 1 Submit manual registration request from December 11, 2019 at 11 AM until December 16, 2019 at 11 AM
Winter Quarter Testing Session 2 Submit manual registration request from January 6, 2020 at 11 AM until January 13, 2020 at 11 AM

For more information about the online math placement exam, please refer to our Math Placement Exam FAQ webpage.

Staff assistance during the testing sessions is only available during regular business hours, Monday-Friday from 9:00a-4:00p. Should you require help, please contact us at placementhelp@math.ucdavis.edu.

Spring Quarter 2019

Math Placement Exam sessions for Spring Quarter are open to all students. If you are registered in MAT 12, 16A, 17A, 21A, or 21M and have not taken the placement exam, or did not received a qualifying score for the course you are registered in, you will be automatically registered in the testing session listed below:

Spring Quarter Testing Session 1 - March 12 - March 21
Begins at 11 AM on March 12 and ends at 11 AM on March 21
Spring Quarter Testing Session 2 - April 1 - April 9
Begins at 11 AM on April 1 and ends at 11 AM on April 9

If you are not currently enrolled in one of these courses but would like to register to take this exam, fill out our manual registration form.

MANUAL REGISTRATION
Spring Quarter Testing Session 1 Submit manual registration request from March 12 at 11 AM until March 20 at 11 AM
Spring Quarter Testing Session 2 Submit manual registration request from April 1 at 11 AM until April 8 at 11 AM

For more information about the online math placement exam, please refer to our Math Placement Exam FAQ webpage.

Staff assistance during the testing sessions is only available during regular business hours, Monday-Friday from 9:00a-4:00p. Should you require help, please contact us at placementhelp@math.ucdavis.edu.

For Newly Admitted Freshmen for Fall 2019

Incoming Freshmen will be notified in mid-May about the Math Placement Examination. They will be sent instructions and login information in via email to their UC Davis email address in mid-May.

The testing sessions for incoming First-Years will be:
College of Letters & Sciences May 30 (11AM) - June 12 (11AM)
College of Engineering May 30 (11AM) - June 12 (11AM) 
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences June 13 (11AM) - June 26 (11AM)
College of Biological Sciences June 13 (11AM) - June 26 (11AM)

For more information about the online math placement exam, please refer to our Math Placement Exam FAQ webpage.

Staff assistance during the testing sessions is only available during regular business hours, Monday-Friday from 9 AM - 4 PM. Should you require help, please contact us at placementhelp@math.ucdavis.edu.

Summer Session 2019

Math Placement Exam sessions for Summer Session 2019 are open to students enrolled in Summer Session courses. If you are registered in MAT 12, 16A, 17A, 21A, or 21M and have not taken the placement exam, or did not received a qualifying score for the course you are registered in, you will be automatically registered in the testing sessions listed below:

Summer Session I - Testing Session 
Begins at 11 AM on June 17 and ends at 11 AM on June 25
Summer Session II - Testing Session
Begins at 11 AM on July 29 and ends at 11 AM on August 6

If you are not currently enrolled in one of these courses but would like to register to take this exam, fill out our manual registration form.

MANUAL REGISTRATION
Summer Session I Submit manual registration request from June 17 at 11 AM until June 24 at 11 AM
Summer Session II Submit manual registration request from July 29 at 11 AM until August 5 at 11 AM

Fall Quarter 2019

Math Placement Exam sessions for Fall Quarter are open to all students. If you are registered in MAT 12, 16A, 17A, 21A, or 21M and have not taken the placement exam, or did not received a qualifying score for the course you are registered in, you will be automatically registered in the testing session listed below:

Fall Quarter Testing Session 1
Begins at 11 AM on September 11 and ends at 11 AM on September 17
Fall Quarter Testing Session 2
Begins at 11 AM on September 25 and ends at 11 AM on October 1

If you are not currently enrolled in one of these courses but would like to register to take this exam, fill out our manual registration form.

MANUAL REGISTRATION
Fall Quarter Testing Session 1 Submit manual registration request from September 11, 2019 at 11 AM until September 16, 2019 at 11 AM
Fall Quarter Testing Session 2 Submit manual registration request from September 25, 2019 at 11 AM until September 30, 2019 at 11 AM

For more information about the online math placement exam, please refer to our Math Placement Exam FAQ webpage.

Staff assistance during the testing sessions is only available during regular business hours, Monday-Friday from 9:00a-4:00p. Should you require help, please contact us at placementhelp@math.ucdavis.edu.

Current Requirements

You must satisfy the MPR if you wish to enroll in MAT 12, 16A, 17A, 21A or 21M as outlined in the following table:

Course
Math Placement Exam
Total Score
withTrigonometry
Sub-Score
MAT 12
25 or more   -------------
MAT 16A
30 or more with 2 or more
MAT 17A
30 or more with 2 or more
MAT 21A
35 or more with 3 or more
MAT 21M *
40 or more with 3 or more

* MAT 21M: You should only consider taking MAT 21M if you received a 5 on the AP Calculus BC exam (or a 6 or 7 in IB Mathematics), have a qualifying placement exam score, and are interested in a class that is more abstract and rigorous. Check with your major adviser before registering.

Students enrolled in one of the above classes without satisfying the MPR will be administratively dropped from the course no matter what anyone else, including an adviser or an instructor, may have told them. No exceptions to this policy are permitted.

Note that the above cut-off points are MINIMUM TOTAL SCORES. If you fail to earn a score that places you into MAT 16A, 17A, 21A, or 21M , you should seriously consider enrolling in MAT 12 to strengthen your algebraic and trigonometric skills prior to taking calculus. This is particularly important if you feel that you are weak in these areas and not merely "a bit rusty" with your basic math skills.

The effects of improper placement in a mathematics class can be difficult to reverse. If you score below 25, you should consult with your major adviser to discuss your options, including the possibility of registering in a Workload course (WLD 055M) or other college-level mathematics course such as MAT B (Elementary Algebra) or MAT C (Trigonometry).

What if my score does not qualify me for my course?

Please refer to our FAQ item if you did not obtain a qualifying score for your course. https://www.math.ucdavis.edu/undergrad/math_placement/exam_faq/#next_steps

Preparation Tips

Study guides are provided by the Academic Assistance and Tutoring Center and can be viewed here:

Also, the following contains explanations and practice exercises that cover most of the topics that you will be tested on, including Rational Expressions, Polynomials, Functions, Word Problems, Trigonometry, and Linear Equations and Inequalities:

Lastly, the Math Department in cooperation with the Center for Educational Effectiveness at UCD is running a program for incoming students in summer 2019. We invite students to use online adaptive learning software - called ALEKS - to help prepare for precalculus and calculus courses at UC Davis, as well as the Math Placement Exam. Studies from our last year’s study showed that the usage of ALEKS has a positive impact on students’ enrollment in math courses. Also, studies at other institution have shown that ALEKS can help students perform significantly better. As part of the program, we will record and analyze students' performance to continue to assess the effectiveness of ALEKS.

Students will not receive credit, and participation will not waive the MPE requirements. ALEKS will cost students $20. However, students with financial need can and should request a fee waiver.

Email mathaleks@ucdavis.edu to sign up to participate in the program or for general inquiries. Please sign up only following instructions provided from this email address and not directly at the ALEKS site.