Department of Mathematics
Our goal is that during your first year at GVSU, you enroll in the correct mathematics or statistics course that fits your academic plans and your background. As a first step, when you are admitted, an initial mathematics placement is determined based on your mathematics subscore on the ACT or SAT exam. There are four possible initial placements:
- MTH 097 (Elementary Algebra): You may directly enroll in MTH 097 and should do so during your first semester. Supplementary Learning Assistance (SLA) sections are available for fall semester.
- MTH 110 (Algebra): You may directly enroll in MTH 097 or MTH 110. If your major requires courses that have MTH 110 as a prerequisite, then you are strongly suggested to enroll in MTH 110 (or MTH 097, if you choose) in your first semester. If your major does not require courses that have MTH 110 as a prerequisite, then you should enroll in MTH 110 during the winter semester. Supplementary Learning Assistance (SLA) sections are available fall and winter semesters. MTH 110 is the pre-requisite for all courses in the General Education – Mathematics category.
- Waiver of MTH 110: You may directly enroll into the following courses in the General Education Mathematical Sciences category: CIS 160, GPY 200, MTH 122, 125, 131, or 221, PHI 103, or STA 215. The choice of course depends on your major and your interests. If you are planning on taking MTH 122, 125, 131, or 221, you are strongly suggested to enroll into these courses as early as possible in your undergraduate studies. (Please note that MTH 221 requires sophomore standing. MTH 122, 125, and 131 can all be taken during your first year.)
- Advanced Waiver/Override: You may directly enroll into any of the courses in the General Education Mathematical Sciences category. The choice of course depends on your major and interests.
Please see the course catalog for the descriptions of these courses.
Mathematics proficiency testing is available to change your placement. There are proficiency tests for MTH 110 (Algebra), MTH 122 (College Algebra), and MTH 123 (Trigonometry). Practice tests may be found at www.gvsu.edu/testserv/math-placement-5.htm.
Testing is recommended for the following situations:
- If you believe that your placement is not appropriate for your math level because your ACT or SAT score does not correctly represent your mathematics preparation.
- Your major is engineering, mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, physical therapy, or any health science, and you do not have the Advanced Waiver/Override.
- Your initial mathematics placement is “Waiver of MTH 110” and you believe that you are ready for MTH 201 (Calculus). In this case, you should attempt the MTH 122 and MTH 123 proficiency tests.
- Your initial placement is “MTH 097” and you believe your algebra skills are strong enough to either start in MTH 110 or waive MTH 110. You should attempt the MTH 110 test.
Some other notes about mathematics proficiency testing:
- Testing is available continuously through an online system. Incoming freshmen should complete any testing at least 48 hours before their orientation. For more information: www.gvsu.edu/admissions/math
- This video will show you how to take one of our tests online: gvsu.edu/s/jq.
- If you choose to complete a proficiency test, go online to: gvsu.edu/s/jk.
- Your username and password for the proficiency tests is the same as your GVSU login and password. If you have trouble logging in, contact MathTest@gvsu.edu. It may be necessary to add your login to the testing system.
- Testing is free and results are available immediately. Students are allowed to take two tests for each course (MTH 110, 122, 123).
- Passing the MTH 122 or 123 proficiency test does not replace the General Education mathematics requirement.
- For current GVSU students: If you wish to register to take one or more proficiency tests, please send an e-mail to MathTest@gvsu.edu with your name, G-number, e-mail address, and reason for taking a math test.
- For newly-admitted students: You will be automatically added to the testing system after you register for orientation.
- When you log in, you will see six tests - two for each course. The MTH 110 tests have 50 questions and a 60 minute time limit. The other tests have 20 questions and a 30 minute time limit. To pass: MTH 110 (34 correct), MTH 122 and 123 (12 correct). You can attempt each of the six tests once.
- When you come to orientation, we will have a record of your performance on the tests.
Q: Should I take a proficiency test? If so, which one?
A: Which proficiency test you may want to take depends on your initial mathematics placement, your prior mathematics background, and your intended major. For example, suppose you plan to enroll in a major that requires calculus (such as engineering) and you receive the MTH 110 waiver as your initial mathematics placement. With this placement, your initial mathematics course would be MTH 122 (College Algebra). However, if you feel that you are prepared for calculus based on your prior mathematics courses from high school or elsewhere, then you could take the MTH 122 and MTH 123 proficiency tests. If you pass them both, then you could enroll directly in MTH 201 (Calculus 1). If, on the other other hand, your intended major does not require advanced mathematics courses like calculus, then it may not be necessary for you to take a proficiency test.
Q: How many times can I take each test?
A: There are two versions of each of the tests for MTH 110, 122, and 123. You may attempt each of these six tests once. There are also practice tests available at www.gvsu.edu/testserv/math-placement-5.htm.
Q: What score do I need to pass each test?
A: To pass the MTH 110 test, you must answer at least 34 of the 50 questions correctly. If your initial placement is MTH 097 and you score between 22 and 33 on the MTH 110 test, your placement will be changed to MTH 110. For MTH 122 and MTH 123, you must answer at least 12 of the 20 questions correctly.
Q: How do I log in to the online testing system?
A: Your username and password is the same as your Grand Valley network login and e-mail. So, for instance, if your e-mail address is email@example.com, your login would be astudent (the part before the @ symbol). If you can't remember your password, try using your 6-digit birth date (mmddyy).
Q: I received the MTH 110 waiver. What math class should I take next?
A: There is not necessarily a "next" math course to take after MTH 110. Every GVSU student is required to take one course in the Mathematical Sciences general education category. (See http://gvsu.edu/s/nu for more information.) Since you received the MTH 110 waiver, there are several mathematical sciences courses (including CIS 160, GPY 200, MTH 122, 125, 131, or 221, PHI 103, and STA 215) that you can enroll in without taking a proficiency test. When considering which course to enroll in, you should also consider the requirements of your intended major, as different majors have different mathematics requirements. Your advisor at orientation will be able to help you make this decision.
Q: I received the advanced waiver. Should I take a proficiency test?
A: If you received the advanced waiver, then you can enroll directly in MTH 123, 201, or 225. There is no need for you to take any additional proficiency tests.
Q: If I pass a proficiency test, do I receive credit for the corresponding course?
A: Passing a proficiency test does not grant you credit in the corresponding course. So, for instance, passing the MTH 122 proficiency test does not grant you credit for MTH 122, but it does allow you to enroll in courses that have MTH 122 as a prerequisite.
Q: What if I have taken or am planning to take an AP test?
A: For the purposes of registration (which will take place at your summer orientation session), we assume that you will pass the AP test and therefore receive credit for the corresponding courses. Depending on your major, your AP credit may completely satisfy your mathematics requirements at GVSU. If you do need to register for subsequent mathematics courses, your advisor at orientation will help process any permits that need to be issued in order for you to do so. If it turns out that you do not score high enough to receive AP credit, then you can adjust your schedule later. More information can be found at the following link: http://gvsu.edu/s/mw. Please note that if you are planning to receive AP calculus credit, then there is no need for you to take a proficiency test.
Page last modified October 8, 2013