Mathematics Placement

Initial Mathematics Placement

During your first year at GVSU, we want you to enroll in mathematics or statistics courses that fit your academic plans and your preparation. If you have taken the ACT or SAT and have a HS GPA, we determine an initial mathematics placement based on a combination of your mathematics subscore on the ACT/SAT and your HS GPA; if you only have one of these two scores, you have an initial placement based on just the one.

Most students should expect to take at least one test to update or determine their placement. There are five possible initial placements:

  1. No placement: you have not reported an ACT or SAT MTH score nor a HS GPA to GVSU, and so you need to take proficiency tests to determine your placement.
  2. MTH 108: You are ready to enroll in MTH 108.
  3. MTH 108 Fulfilled: You are ready to enroll in MTH 110.
  4. MTH 110 Fulfilled: You are ready to enroll in courses whose only MTH prerequisite is MTH 110, which include several General Education Mathematical Sciences Foundations courses.
  5. MTH 122 & MTH 123 Fulfilled: You are ready to enroll in courses that have MTH prerequisites of MTH 122 and/or MTH 123, including MTH 201 (Calculus).

Please see the course catalog for the full descriptions of these courses. For more information about how initial and updated placements are determined, see the Mathematics Placement Grid.

Mathematics Proficiency Testing

If your placement is anything other than “5. MTH 122 & MTH 123 Fulfilled”, you can and should update your placement by taking one or more online proficiency tests. New students are automatically added to the testing system upon registering for Orientation. The links below to the MTH 110 proficiency test page and the MTH 122 & MTH 123 proficiency tests page include practice tests, a video on how to take the tests online, and the link to the login site.  Here is how to know which test(s) to take:

  • If you do not have an initial placement or your initial placement is MTH 108 or MTH 108 Fulfilled, you should take the MTH 110 proficiency test.
  • If you pass the MTH 110 proficiency test with 17 or more correct (out of 25), or your initial placement is MTH 110 Fulfilled, you should take the MTH 122 & MTH 123 proficiency tests.
  • If you have taken AP Calculus (even if you have not taken the official AP exam) and you earned at least a C in the course, you need not take any math proficiency tests.  Your advisor will work with you at Orientation to update your placement to MTH 122 & MTH 123 Fulfilled. More information about AP and IB credit can be found at

If your placement is lower than "MTH 110-Fulfilled" and you take the MTH 110 proficiency test, a score of 17/25 or higher raises your placement to "MTH 110-Fulfilled".  If your placement is lower than "MTH 122 & MTH 123 Fulfilled", a score of 9/15 or better on either the MTH 122 or MTH 123 Proficiency Test will raise your placement to MTH 122-Fulfilled and/or MTH 123-Fulfilled.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How much time does it take to take a proficiency test?

A: Before taking a proficiency test, you’ll need to take the corresponding practice test and watch a short video.  For MTH 110, you might plan to spend 1-2 hours on the practice test; when you take the test itself, it’s timed with a limit of 60 minutes.  The MTH 122 and MTH 123 tests are each 30 minutes long; each has a corresponding practice test that is similar in length. 

Q: How many times can I take each proficiency test?

A: There are two versions of each of the tests for MTH 110, 122, and 123. You may attempt each of the two versions for each test once. There are also practice tests available to help you prepare.


Q: Can the result of a proficiency test lower my math placement?

A: No.  We take the best possible placement for you that results from your ACT/SAT score and/or any online proficiency tests you take.

Q: What if I need accommodations to take a proficiency test due to a documented disability?

A: If you have special needs because of a physical, learning, or other type of disability and need an accommodation to take a proficiency test, please contact Disability Support Resources (DSR) at (616) 331-2490 or online at contact DSR prior to attempting any of the online proficiency tests as you are only allowed to take each test once.

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.


If you have any questions regarding the math proficiency tests, please contact the Department of Mathematics - Math Proficiency Testing: [email protected] or (616) 331-2040.

Page last modified January 16, 2024