At CU Boulder, students have several math courses to choose from, based on their intended major. While some courses do not require a prerequisite or prior math experience, others will require a math readiness test or the completion of prerequisite coursework.

We want to ensure that students are successful and prepared for the math courses in which they are enrolled. Incoming students planning to register for a precalculus or calculus course during their first year at CU will be asked to take a math readiness test. The test score will be combined with other information including high school transcripts and college entrance exam scores to place students in the appropriate course. Math placement procedures are different for incoming students and for continuing students. Please refer to the section below that corresponds to your status.

Online Math Readiness Test for Incoming Students

Students wishing to enroll in a precalculus or calculus course during their first year at CU must take the appropriate readiness test. The test score will be combined with other student information (high school transcripts and college entrance exam scores) to generate a math placement. Results remain valid for one year.

There are two versions of the online Math Readiness Test:

  • Calculus Readiness Test for students intending to enroll in Calculus 1 (MATH 1300 or APPM 1350 or APPM 1340). The test will result in one of three possible placements: Calculus, Precalculus, or Not Calculus/Precalculus.

  • Precalculus Readiness Test for students intending to enroll in Precalculus (MATH 1150 or APPM 1235). The test will result in one of two possible placements: Precalculus or Not Calculus/Precalculus.

Students are encouraged to review the study materials and work through a practice test before taking the actual test in a distraction-free environment. Please make note of the test conditions:

  • The 60-minute Calculus Readiness Test will consist of 40 multiple choice questions. The 30-minute Precalculus Readiness Test will consist of 20 multiple choice questions. There will be only one correct answer per question. Partial credit will not be awarded.

  • The only resources allowed are pencils (or pens) and blank scratch paper. Books, notes, calculators, electronic devices, the internet, and other resources are not permitted.

  • For fall 2018 incoming students, it is preferred that you complete the exam by June 14, 2018 or as soon as possible after this date. The date that you take the readiness exam could impact your ability to enroll in fall math courses. The latest the test can be completed is Friday, August 10th. After that date, students who have not completed the math readiness test will be able to take a proctored on-site exam scheduled during the week before fall classes begin. Please speak with your academic advisor if you have questions about this.

  • Test takers who require additional time to complete the test online due to a documented disability should visit Disability Services in the Center for Community, Room N220, email dsinfo@colorado.edu, or call 303-492-8671 prior to taking the readiness test. You will be asked to register for accommodations with Disability Services and provide the appropriate documentation. After you have received disability accommodations for extended time, it’s extremely important that you contact mathplacement@colorado.edu before starting the test to activate additional time.

  • Important note: When you start the Math Readiness Test, you should plan to complete it in one sitting or your incomplete score will be submitted and you will be locked out. If that happens, contact mathplacement@colorado.edu.

Signing up to take the Math Readiness Test

When you are ready, visit this site to take the Math Readiness Test.

  1. Log in using your CU Identikey username and password.

  2. On the Enroll in CU Boulder Math Readiness Test page, click Enroll in Course, then Go to the Course.

  3. On the Canvas home page, select the course CU Boulder Math Readiness Test.

  4. Select the appropriate test:

    • Calculus Readiness Test for students intending to enroll in Calculus 1.

    • Precalculus Readiness Test for students intending to enroll in Precalculus.

After taking the Math Readiness Test, placement will be available beginning in mid-June or, if taken later, within two business days following the test date.  Students can view their placement results by going to MyCUHub.

Students who take the Calculus Readiness Test and receive a placement of Not Calculus/Precalculus have the option of reviewing the prep materials and then taking the Precalculus Readiness Test to qualify for Precalculus.

Students who feel they have not been placed in the appropriate math eligibility category based on the Math Readiness Test may take an on-site proctored math placement test to demonstrate their math proficiency. This exam will be offered during the week prior to the start of fall semester classes. See additional information on this below, and on the New Student & Family Programs Website. If you have questions about the on-site test please contact mathplacement@colorado.edu.

Incoming Students Who Are Exempt from the Math Readiness Test

All incoming students who will be taking a precalculus or calculus 1 course at CU must complete the Math Readiness Test, with the following exceptions:

  • Successful completion of prerequisite coursework at the college level (either at CU Boulder or via approved transfer).

  • Successful completion of the AP Calculus AB or BC test with the requisite exam score.

Students who meet these eligibility requirements, or those who are eligible for a higher level math course, are still asked to complete the Math Readiness Test to review the topics necessary for success in CU math courses. In these cases the readiness test will not impact your math class options.

All incoming students are encouraged to consult their academic advisors for help in selecting an appropriate math course.

Math Placement Test for Continuing CU Boulder Students

Continuing CU Boulder students can either take the scheduled on-site proctored math placement test with incoming students in late August by registering at this link or take it (for a $30 fee) at their convenience at Testing Services on East Campus. If you opt to take the proctored exam at your convenience, contact Testing Services for more information and to register. In the case of extreme financial hardship, contact Financial Aid to discuss options.

Test takers requesting more time due to a documented disability should contact dsinfo@colorado.edu or call 303-492-8671 or visit Disability Services in the Center for Community, N200, prior to taking the proctored exam.

Since results remain valid for only one year,  students should take the proctored placement exam shortly before the semester in which they plan to take Precalculus or Calculus 1. The placement test may be taken at most once each semester. Students are encouraged to prepare for the on-site exam through self-study (see resources below), at a community college, or through other options available to them. Sufficient independent preparatory work should be completed prior to a second attempt.

Results of the proctored placement test will be sent to students and their advisors via email, using the colorado.edu address. Students will need to work with the advisor directly to register for the math course into which they have been placed.

On-Site Proctored Math Placement Test (optional)

Students who do not have a Calculus or Precalculus placement, or those who would like to improve their placement, can take a proctored on-site math placement test to demonstrate sufficient proficiency in the topics necessary to be successful in precalculus or calculus at CU Boulder. The proctored test score determines the placement: Calculus, Precalculus, or Not Calculus/Precalculus.

Proctored math placement tests will be held on Tuesday, August 21st from 3:00 - 4:15 p.m. and on Thursday, August 23rd from 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m.  Note: Engineering and Pre-Engineering students who wish to improve their score should plan to take the test on Tuesday. Both exams will take place in Muenzinger E050. Students should plan to arrive 10 - 15 minutes early for check-in and instructions. There is no fee to take this exam, but registration is required. Fall-semester incoming students will receive an email invitation from New Student and Family Programs with information about this test. All students may sign up by registering onlineYou can also get more information about placement assessments on the New Student & Family Programs Website. If you have questions about the on-site test, please contact mathplacement@colorado.edu.

How to Prepare for the Math Readiness and Placement Tests

For students planning to enroll in Calculus 1:

The Calculus Readiness Test and proctored Math Placement Test cover the topics of algebra, analytic geometry, trigonometry, exponentials, logarithms, and more. We recommend practicing problems from these resources:

For students planning to enroll in Precalculus:

The Precalculus Readiness Test covers the topics of algebra and analytic geometry. We recommend practicing problems from these resources:

Additional Information

You may find additional information on our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact:

Your advisor is your best resource for up-to-date information specific to your particular situation. Visit http://www.colorado.edu/mycuhub/ to schedule an advising appointment.