Your first math placement is very important to your success in college. It should be neither below nor beyond your preparation level, and it should move you toward the completion of your degree program. We want to make sure your math placement fits you and your needs as closely as possible.
For students entering Fall 2010 or later, your initial math placement at SVSU will be based on your ACT Math sub-score. For information about how the initial mathematics placement is determined, Click Here (75kB). Students may try to improve their initial placement by taking a mathematics placement test. Students may take this placement test no more than 2 times. (Students who entered before Fall 2010 will still abide by the placement policies in place at the time of entrance. These students may call the Math and Physics Resource Center at 964-4648 to check for eligibility to take the placement test.)
Students without ACT Math sub-scores must take the mathematics placement test. These students may take the placement test no more than 2 times. Transfer students who do not transfer appropriate coursework to SVSU, but do submit ACT Math sub-scores, will follow the usual procedure for students with ACT scores.
Those students who do not have an ACT Math sub-score, or who wish to exercise the re-test option, will take the math placement test. The math placement test is a COMPASS (Computer-adaptive Placement Assessment and Support System) test, developed by ACT (America College Testing Program). The test is multiple-choice, computer-based, and designed to evaluate students' ability levels in Pre-algebra, Algebra, College Algebra, and Trigonometry. As a computer-adaptive test, the number of and type of questions you are given will be determined by your responses to previous questions. For more information on the COMPASS test, click here (35kB) or visit http://www.act.org/compass.
1. You have only two opportunities to do so. (Students who entered before Fall 2010 will follow the placement policy in effect at the time of entrance. Call the Math and Physics Resource Center at 964-4648 for more details.)
2. You must register in advance to take the placement test. Tests are available most business hours Monday - Thursday 9AM to 4PM (begin test by 3PM), Friday 9AM - 2PM (begin test by 1PM).
Call the Math & Physics Resource Center at (989) 964-4648 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to register for a test.
(Transfer students who are attending a Transfer Orientation Program (TOP) will have an opportunity to test during their orientation program. You do not need to register to take the test during a TOP.)
3. The test is untimed, but you should allow at least an hour to take the test.
4.You will be asked to show a picture ID before you take the placement re-test.
5. Compass will provide an online calculator for your use during the exam. To ensure uniformity, no other calculators will be permitted. The online calculator provided by Compass has both a standard and a scientific view. You should use the scientific view.
6. While you should not cram for the test to avoid placing too high, it is a good idea to review before the test so that you are not placed too low. You are unlikely to improve your placement unless you do some kind of preparation or review.
1. The Compass website offers sample problems at:
2. Other useful websites with pre-algebra, algebra, and trigonometry reviews are:
3. To download paper reviews, click on the links below.
4. Feel free to come by the Math Resource Center and work with one of our tutors. For our current schedule, click here → Curent Tutor Schedule (42kB).
For a hard copy of the above placement information, click here (106kB).
For information on SVSU's previous placement policy, click here (80kB).