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Frequently Asked Questions

Not everyone needs to take an additional mathematics placement test.

If you have taken the ACT or the SAT: Your ACT Math Subscore or SAT Math Score has already determined your placement. The only reason you would want to take another placement test is if you believe your current placement does not appropriately represent your current mathematics skills. You need to start in a course that will allow you to be successful. However, you do not want to pay for a course that covers concepts you have already mastered. If you believe the ACT or SAT placement is not appropriate, then you may opt to take a placement test to demonstrate your skills and readiness for a higher-level mathematics course.

If you have taken a math course at a post-secondary institution within the last three years or are currently enrolled in a math course at a post-secondary institution: This recent math course will be used to determine your math placement. You may not take the online Math Placement Exam to change your placement.

If you have not taken the ACT, SAT, or your scores are more than three years old: You will automatically be placed into Southeast’s lowest level mathematics course, MA050 – Basic Math Skills. You may take the online placement test if you believe your skills warrant a higher placement.

View the List of Topics for each test.

What course I want to take. The placement test I need to pass with at least 80% correct.
MA115, MA123/023, MA128/018, MA155/055 (These are courses that allow the student to take their university required mathematics course with a developmental algebra component) Level 1 test
MA116, MA123, MA128, MA155, CS125, PL120, MA137 Level 2 test
MA139 Level 3a test
MA140 Level 3b test
  • You can start at any level.
  • You may take a test only once.
  • If you fail a test, you may take a lower level test, but not a higher level test.
  • If you pass a test, you may take a higher level test.

Level 3a and 3b determine if you are ready to take a calculus course that requires trigonometry or not. MA139 Applied Calculus does not require trigonometry. MA140 Analytic Geometry and Calculus I requires trigonometry.

The deadlines for taking the placement tests each semester are the following.

Fall Semester Enrollment
  • 5 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the fall semester
Winter Session Enrollment
  • 5 p.m. on the Wednesday of the week before final exam week in the fall semester
Spring Semester Enrollment
  • 5 p.m. on the first Wednesday of the spring semester
Summer Semester Enrollment
  • 5 p.m. on the Wednesday of the week before final exam week in the spring semester

There is an Orientation to Lumen OHM Software Assignment to teach you how to navigate the program and input answers in a format the program will recognize. It is required you work through this assignment before starting a test. There are also short sample practice assignments for each test that will give you practice entering answers. These can be repeated as often as you like. A topics list is provided for each test.

View the List of Topics for each test.

The test will be graded instantly. Your score will appear on the screen along with a message explaining what the score means. In addition, an email will immediately be sent to you that contains more detailed course and registration information If your score is 80% or higher you have passed the test for that level. Passing Test 1 allows you to take Test 2.

Another test can be taken immediately, that is up to you. However, you will probably do better if you wait a reasonable length of time. Use that time to review for the next test. You may wish to consult the topics list for the test you will be taking next. Or perhaps work though the Practice assignment for that test. You also need to be aware of the semester deadlines for taking placement tests.

Suppose your placement score indicates you are eligible to take Analytic Geometry and Calculus I (MA140), but your major requires Statistical Reasoning (MA155). While you could take MA140, you will be paying for five credit hours that are not required for your degree and you still must take MA155 to fulfill your major requirement. Thus, your placement scores and your major should be essential considerations when determining the appropriate math class to take. It is very important to consult with your advisor about the appropriate math class for you to take based on your placement scores and your major.

Be sure you can perform calculations with fractions, decimals, roots, etc. without a calculator! Then attend class and be on time!


Phone: 573.651.2164
Johnson Hall 201

Department of Mathematics
One University Plaza, MS 6700
Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701