Math Placement Exam

Students who intend to register for ANY math course at UNL must take the Math Placement Exam, which is available online. New students take the Math Placement Exam, even if they think they will be registering only for advanced math courses, to prove that they are prepared to succeed in those courses.

In order to register for ANY math course, students must satisfy the prerequisite for that math course. Students who register for a course for which they do not satisfy the prerequisite under this policy will be dropped from the course.

The prerequisite is satisfied by achieving a qualifying score on the Math Placement Exam OR by passing the prerequisite course(s) in college with a grade of ‘P’ (pass) or ‘C’ or better. If the prerequisite course was taken more than once, the most recent grade is the applicable one.

Transfer students MUST take the Math Placement Exam, as must all students new to UNL. Transfer students will work with their advisor to determine their proper Math Placement based on the Math Placement Exam and any college-level math coursework they have completed.

* The Math Placement Exam covers Algebra and Pre-calculus material only. So, the qualifying score for Calculus II (Math 107) or higher is the same as for Calculus I (Math 106).

Preparing for the MPE

There is a practice exam available below. You should try the practice exam before you take the MPE and you should review any topics that went poorly on the practice exam.  This is particularly important if you are not taking a math course currently.

Scoring the MPE

The Math Placement Exam has four parts. Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4 are also labeled Beginning Algebra (BA), Advanced Algebra (AA), Pre-calculus (PC), and Trigonometry (TR) respectively. When you take the real Math Placement Exam, the software will start you in AA. If you do poorly on AA, it will then give you BA. Do NOT force the exam back to BA as it will result in an improper Math Placement. If you do well on AA, the software will give you PC and then TR. On the above practice exam, we suggest you take at least the first three parts, and then part 4 if you have had a trigonometry course. Wrong answers are penalized. If you are not fairly certain how to do a problem, leave it blank. The actual scoring scheme on each part is 1 point for each blank and 3 points for each correct answer, but 0 points for each wrong answer with 10 questions per part.

If your score is 19 or less, in a part, you might want to review using a Schaum's Outline Series Study Guide which can be purchased online (Amazon or Follet websites) or at most large bookstores.

  1. Review for Part 1 (BA): Schaum's Outline Elementary Algebra
  2. Review for Part 2 (AA): Schaum's Outline Intermediate Algebra
  3. Review for Part 3 (PC): Schaum's Outline Pre-calculus (skip trigonometry)
  4. Review for Part 4 (TR): Schaum's Outline Pre-calculus

All students are allowed a maximum of 3 Math Placement Exam attempts across their time at UNL. You may only make one attempt each day (24 hours). If you feel your initial placement is not accurate, you should do significant review and practice before your subsequent attempts.

Taking the MPE

We want you to be placed into the right course, so you can succeed. Do not get help from another person or use any outside aids, besides a calculator or graphing calculator. If you end up in an inappropriate course, it will delay your progress and waste your tuition money. Please take this exam honestly and as directed.

Math Placement Exam

Before you take the math placement exam, remember that you should have some scratch paper handy and that you can use a graphing calculator, if you want to. You should not use any calculator that can do symbolic algebra.

Your math placement will be determined after you take the test. The Math Placement Exam results are uploaded to MyRed every weekday morning after which MyRED will allow you to register for the courses you qualify for.


If you have any questions, contact Doug Pellatz.