Math calculationsAt 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. Students planning to register for a precalculus or calculus course should take the math readiness test first. The test score will be combined with other information including previously taken math courses, to place students in the appropriate course.

Spring 2023 Course Registration: The Math Readiness Test will open on October 27, 2022, for both incoming and continuing students who wish to enroll in spring semester courses. Plan to prepare well and take this test at least one week before your assigned enrollment period. Students who take the test can expect to see their placements within three business days in Canvas under "Grades". If your placement is not what you expect, you can still attempt to improve your score by taking a proctored placement test. (see details below).

All students wishing to enroll in a precalculus or calculus course at CU must take the online Math Readiness Test prior to enrolling in a math class. The test score will be combined with other student information to generate one of three possible placements: Calculus, Precalculus, or Not Calculus/Precalculus. We recommend that you take the Math Readiness Test as soon as possible because delaying could impact your ability to enroll in math courses. Results remain valid for one year, so it is recommended that continuing students take the test shortly before the semester in which they plan to enroll in precalculus or calculus.

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 Math Readiness Test will consist of 40 multiple choice questions. Students interested in qualifying for Calculus must complete the entire test. Students interested in qualifying for Precalculus may submit the test after completing the first 20 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.
  • New students should complete the exam as soon as possible. The date that you take the Math Readiness Test could impact your ability to enroll in math courses! 
  • 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 is 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.

When you are ready, visit this site to take the online 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. Review the study materials and take the Practice Test.

  5. When you are ready, take the official Math Readiness Test. We strongly recommend using the Chrome browser.

Placement results will be available within 3 business days. Students can view their placement results in Canvas under "Grades" or by going to the Buff Portal.

Students who feel they have not been placed in the appropriate math eligibility category based on the Math Readiness Test may take a proctored math placement test to demonstrate their math proficiency. See additional information on this below, and on the New Student & Family Programs Website.

All students are required to take the Math Readiness Test first. Those who would like to improve their placement may attempt a proctored math placement test for another opportunity to demonstrate sufficient proficiency in the topics necessary to be successful in precalculus or calculus 1 at CU Boulder. The proctored test score also determines the placement: Calculus, Precalculus, or Not Calculus/Precalculus; it will not make students eligible for Calculus 2.

For students wishing to improve their math placements, an Online Proctored Math Placement Test will be offered January 11-15, 2023. You may sign up by enrolling in this Canvas course. Note that this test will be video recorded and remotely proctored using Proctorio software. You will need a computer and a webcam. Details about the proctoring requirements can be found in the Canvas course.

Important: Students should prepare well prior to taking this test, as it is set up to be taken only once. After completion of the test, math placement results will be emailed within 2 business days. You can find more information about placement assessments on the New Student & Family Programs Website

All 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.

All incoming Engineering students must complete the Math Readiness Test regardless of previous math college credit (transfer, dual enrollment, AP/IB). Other 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.

Still have questions? Check out the FAQs first, then Email mathplacement@colorado.edu if necessary. Do not call: we are unable to respond to math placement questions at the phone number below.