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Placement Test FAQ

Please note that the Natural Sciences Advising website also has an information page and an FAQ page for the placement exams.


Questions with answers


  • Why do I need to take a placement test?

    Your placement test result will be combined with your other academic data to determine a recommendation for which mathematics course you should take at UC Merced. This test allows your advisor to place you in the math course in which you will be most successful.

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  • What about my Calculus AP Scores?

    If you scored a 4 or above on the Calculus AB or the Calculus BC exams, you do not need to take the placement exam and should consult the UCM General Catalog or your school counselor for more information.

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  • What math is tested on the placement test?

    This placement test is a Calculus Readiness Test. It is a test on algebra, geometry, trigonometry and pre-calculus. This test contains no Calculus. Rather, this placement test is meant to determine whether you have the background to succeed in Calculus at UC Merced.

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  • Will I get my placement score as soon as I finish the on-line test?

    No. You will not receive a score on the test. Instead, you will get feedback on your strength and weakness on various topics. The course into which you are ready to place will be included in a recommended list of courses sent to you by your Academic Advisor.

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  • What information do I need to take the test?

    The online exam is available at  You will need an access code in order to take the oexam.  Please refer to you email for specific access code information. Before logging in to take the exam, please be ready with your student ID number, first and last name as they appear on your UC Merced record.

    If you need a new access code, please email

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  • What equipment do I need to take the test?

    You need some clean scratch paper to work on and a pencil or pen. You will need a modern web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, etc) to take the test. Calculators, books and internet resources are not permitted on the mathematics placement test!

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  • What if I use a calculator or some other resource?

    This is actually a bad idea. The test is constructed so that someone who spends time looking up answers or working with their calculator won't do as well as someone who knows the material. In addition, placing into a course for which you are not prepared will only hurt you -- and your GPA.

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  • Why can't I use a calculator on the test?

    The placement test is designed to measure your facility with basic mathematical skills that are needed for different math courses. Because of this, using a calculator will generally not help you -- you'll score better by knowing the material and working it all out by hand.

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  • Do I need to study for the test?

    If you have just completed a math course, you do not need to study. However, if it's been a year since you've had math you may want to review.

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  • How many questions are on the test?

    There are 45 questions on the test.

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  • What is the time limit on the test?

    You must complete the test in 90 minutes or less.

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  • What if something goes wrong while I'm taking the test?

    In general this won't happen. If your browser crashes or you have a similar problem, immediately go to retake the test: it will let you resume where you left off. If a technical problem prevents you from completing the placement test, please contact

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