Math Placement Exam

Incoming students may receive credit for one or more lower level courses based on performance on Advanced Placement tests:

  • A score of 4 on the Calculus AB exam: credit for Math 131 (Calculus I)
  • A score of 5 on the Calculus AB exam: credit for Math 131 and 132 (Calculus I and II)
  • A score of 3 on the Calculus BC exam: credit for Math 131 (Calculus I)
  • A score of 4 or 5 on the Calculus BC exam: credit for Math 131 and 132 (Calculus I and II)
  • A score of 3 or higher on the Statistics AP exam: credit for STAT 140 (General Statistics)
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Students entering Valparaiso University without AP credit, dual credit, or transfer credit for pre-calculus or calculus will take the Math Placement Examination before choosing classes – usually during summer orientation, i.e. Focus. A combination of performance on this exam and the student’s stated program of interest are used to make a recommendation for an appropriate first mathematics or quantitative analysis course.  We use ACT's Compass Placement Exam; questions are based on algebraic skill, and sample questions may be found here and here. Some possible scenarios are:

  • A student demonstrating weak algebra skills at the pre-algebra level will be recommended to start in Math 110: Quantitative Problem Solving.  Almost all natural science, quantitative analysis, and mathematics courses require this class or placement above this class for enrollment.
  • A student demonstrating strong algebra skills (at the college algebra level) will be recommended to start in Calculus I right away, or another similarly advanced course, depending on major. 
  • Students demonstrating average algebra skills will be recommended to start in Precalculus (if in a major that will require Calculus), Finite Mathematics, or another of many courses which can be used to fill the general education Quantitative Analysis requirement.