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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of the service?

The service is designed to identify the MSU mathematics course that best matches your current mathematical skill.

Can everyone use the service?

No.  The service is provided solely for use by new freshmen, new Ag Tech students, new transfer students, and new lifelong undergrads who have been admitted to MSU for the first time.  (Some of these students might not have to take the MPS Assessment.  Read "Who must use the service?".) To gain access to either the MPS Assessment, students must use their MSUNet ID and password.

Students who are (or have been) enrolled at MSU may take only the proctored MPS Assessment.  For more information, go to Can I use the MPS Assessment to 'place out of' mathematics at MSU?

Who must use the service?

All incoming students will be required to take this assessment.

What benefits does the service provide?

When a student submits a completed MPS Assessment for grading, the service immediately displays both the student's score and a link to a description of the corresponding placement into mathematics courses at MSU.

Students who are not satisfied with their placement may re-take the MPS Assessment 5 times (for a maximum total of 6 attempts). There is an enforced 30 day waiting period between each pair of attempts.  (We hope that students will use the four week periods to sharpen their mathematical skills.)

By providing an early warning plus the opportunity to re-try the MPS Assessment at a later date, we hope to encourage as many students as possible to work toward their best possible placement.

What can I do to prepare for the MPS Assessment?

The Department of Mathematics has provided a publicly accessible Diagnostic Assessment, which reviews the mathematics that appears on the MPS Assessment.

To use the service, what kind of equipment will I need?

To access the MPS Assessment, a student must use the latest version of Chrome, Edge, Firefox or Safari web browser program on a computer that has full Internet access. Almost any modern Internet connection (like those available from cable providers, DSL, dial-up, etc.) provides these services.

How can I reach the service?

The Mathematics Placement Service can be reached at the Mathematics Placement Service Homepage.

Students MUST read this page carefully before proceeding. In particular, the page contains links to a 'Diagnostic Exam', and the 'MPS Assessment'. Only the scores from the actual 'Math Placement Service (MPS) Assessment' can be used for placement.

After clicking the 'Take the MPS Assessment' link found on the right OR at the bottom of the Mathematics Placement Service Homepage, the student will be prompted to login to the system with their MSU login information (MSUNet ID and password). Then the student should be redirected to the MPS Assessment application where they can begin an assessment attempt.

What if something goes wrong while I am using the service?

We strongly recommend that students use reliable equipment on reliable internet connections, such as are available from most schools, libraries, MSU MSUE offices, etc.

While we hope that no one will experience technical difficulty while taking the assessment, glitches of various kinds do sometimes affect network connections like those used by the MPS Assessment.  If such a problem interrupts a student's assessment session, the student must attempt to reconnect and complete the assessment immediately!

How can I find out what my score means?

Go to Placement into Mathematics Courses at MSU.

Can I use the MPS Assessment to 'place out of' mathematics at MSU?

Because of security concerns, the result of the current unproctored web-based MPS Assessment cannot be used to waive the entire University Graduation Requirement in mathematics.  To obtain such a waiver, a student must earn a sufficiently high score on the Proctored MPS Assessment:

The Proctored MPS Assessment can be taken only once.

During each student's New Student Orientation (NSO), a proctored MPS Assessment is made available to those new freshmen and transfer students who have not taken it before.  (In the past, the proctored assessment has been offered early in the morning, before the official starting time for NSO; however, the actual schedule for this year's sessions is determined by the Office of Admissions.)

Alternatively, before your NSO, by special pre-arrangement, you can take your proctored assessment at one of several MSU Extension (MSUE) sites spread around the State of Michigan.

MSUE Offices

To arrange to take your proctored assessment before your NSO, please contact the selected site directly.

Otherwise, access to the Proctored MPS Assessment is solely at the discretion of the Office of the Undergraduate Director for Mathematics (517 353-0844).

Can I take the MPS Assessment after I have been enrolled in classes at MSU?

No.  The web-based Mathematics Placement Assessment is available only to those students who have been admitted to MSU, but have not yet enrolled in any class.  (Students 'Pre-enrolled' by the University during the Spring prior to their NSO are a special case: see Pre-Enrollment question below.)

How is the potential for dishonesty on the MPS Assessment controlled?

In answering an earlier question, we noted that students cannot use the unproctored MPS Assessment to waive the MSU University Mathematics Graduation Requirement.  Consequently, dishonesty of any kind on this assessment can only result in placement into a course in which the student is extremely unlikely to succeed.

Is there a deadline for use of the Placement Service?

Students should complete their use of the service at least three (3) days before their scheduled New Student Orientation (NSO) session.  This will ensure that their placement results have been recorded and distributed prior to their NSO session.  Because of the enforced four-week waiting period between the three possible tries of the MPS Assessment, we suggest that students should plan to write the Assessment for the first time at least two months before their NSO date.

(There is an absolute official deadline for use of the Placement Service.  For most students, it is the start of their NSO session, as described on the Mathematics Placement Service Homepage.)

Can 'Pre-enrollment' (which is scheduled to occur in mid-May) affect my access to the service?

No. Even if you are notified that you have been pre-enrolled in an MSU mathematics course, you will continue to be able to use the service, as described in the answer to the preceding question, "Is there a deadline for use of the Placement Service?".

What kinds of placement are available through this service?

The placement score course table can be viewed at Placement Section of the Preparing for Math at MSU page.  To review your score(s), go to the MSU Student Information System.

Must I bring a printed copy of my MPS Assessment's result page to my NSO session?

Regardless of what you might read (or hear) elsewhere, we suggest that you print a copy of your assessment results ONLY for your own records.  Regrettably, since such pages are remarkably easy to 'fake', MSU cannot accept such printouts as verification of your MPS Assessment placement.