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Math Placement

Wondering how you're placed in your first SDSU math course? Read on ...

The goal of the mathematics placement procedure at SDSU is to place each student into the most advanced level first mathematics or statistics class for which the student has a good chance of succeeding.  In order to be as effective as possible in achieving this goal, we utilize multiple measures of mathematical preparedness to help students determine which SDSU mathematics or statistics class should be their first class.  Each student is assigned an initial placement and has one opportunity to challenge that placement.

If you have

  • a current (within 5 years) Math ACT score and High School GPA OR
  • a Math ACT or SAT score only (no HS GPA) OR
  • score from Smarter Balanced (taken in 11th grade) OR
  • an Accuplacer score obtained through the SD Dial Project,

your initial placement is the highest placement determined from these scores- see table below.  Otherwise, your initial placement will be established when you take the Accuplacer for the first time.

If you wish to take Calculus and have a qualifying initial placement (see table), you will take the Accuplacer + Calculus exam.  There is no fee for this exam under these circumstances.

Placement Policy effective through December 31, 2018:

placement table

More Information About Math Placement

Challenging your placement

If you believe you are capable of succeeding in a more advanced class than the one in which you are placed by the standard placement procedures described above, you may challenge your placement by taking the Accuplacer. Students are allowed only one challenge opportunity. There is an $18.00 challenge fee that must be paid prior to testing. Though in most cases, students are allowed two challenges, review of the subject should be done prior to testing.  The Accuplacer exam may be taken no more than two times.

For more information about how to prepare for these exams, click here.

If you choose to challenge your placement, please click here to set up an appointment at the testing center.

Enrolling in a course lower than placed

Students who wish to enroll in a less advanced course than the one into which they are placed by the standard placement procedure should contact their advisor.  Be sure to take a math class which will prepare you sufficiently for the courses in your current or possible major(s).

Consequences of ignoring the placement procedure

Students who are not enrolled in the appropriate course based on standard placement or challenge procedures will be notified by e-mail from the Math Department Placement Coordinator to the student email account. Failure to adjust courses or take the appropriate placement test prior to the add/drop date for the semester will result in the student being administratively dropped from Math courses.

Some students should consider the CLEP College Algebra Exam

Students with an ACT Math score of 25 or higher should consider the CLEP College Algebra Exam if Math 102 (College Algebra) is the only course required for their major. Successful completion of the CLEP College Algebra examination allows qualification for Math 102 credits. The cost to take a CLEP exam is $80 plus a $20 registration fee. If a passing score is achieved, students will pay $7.50 per credit (3 credits x $7.50 = $22.50) to have these credits recorded on the transcript. Find more information about CLEP.  If you would like more information about taking the CLEP at SDSU, click here.

If you already have college credit

If you already have college credit for Math 102, Math 115 or higher, you will not use the placement process.  The following table describes the prerequisites for first year courses at SDSU.


Contact Information

Mathematics Placement Coordinator
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
AME Building Room 282
Box 2225
Brookings, SD  57007