Mathematics Placement

Mathematics Placement Exam Information
All students at Saint Mary's College of California are required to take an appropriate mathematics or computer science class as part of their liberal arts experience. In order for you to be successful in your mathematics and science classes you need to be in a college level mathematics class for which you are prepared.

All incoming freshmen are required to take the mathematics placement exam. Transfer students should also take the placement exam if they have yet to complete their mathematics studies. This assists us in advising you and allows us to help you be successful in your mathematics studies. Using the results of your exam as well as your high school background and your SAT mathematics score, we will determine your mathematics placement depending on your plans for study.

You must take your mathematics placement exam before attending summer orientation. You may come to Saint Mary's College campus in Moraga or you may choose to take it at one of the testing centers listed below. If you take it at an approved off campus testing site there will be a fee, you must register 2 weeks before the exam and you must complete the placement exam at least 10 days before your orientation day. There is no fee for taking the placement exam at Saint Mary's College campus at a date listed below. If you have a disability, please contact Jennifer Billeci, Director of Student Disability Services (SDS) at to discuss taking the exam in SDS.

Preparing for the Placement Exam
The Mathematics Placement exam is a 50-question multiple-choice exam. The exam is a paper and pencil, no calculator exam. You have 60 minutes to complete the exam. The exam covers Algebra I, Algebra II, Geometry, and Precalculus (including Trigonometry). If you wish to prepare for the Placement Exam, there are various self-help books available. Any SAT subject preparation book covers most of the topics on which you will be tested. These type books contain explanations and practice exams to help you. The following is a sample of typical questions that appear on the Placement exam. These questions should be done without the use of a calculator. The answers appear at the end of the set of questions.

On Campus Testing Dates:
Students may take the Placement Exam on Saint Mary's Campus in Galileo Hall Room 201 on the following dates:
  • Monday May 6, 2013, at 4:00-5:00 pm or 6:00-7:00 pm
  • Saturday May 18, 2013, at 11:00-12:00 noon, 1:00-2:00 pm, or 3:00-4:00 pm
  • Friday June 7, 2013, at 11:00-12:00 noon, 1:00-2:00 pm or 3:00-4:00 pm
  • Saturday June 15, 2013, at 9:00-10:00 am, 11:00-12:00 noon or 2:00-3:00 pm
  • Monday August 5, 2013, at 11:00-12:00 noon or 2:00-3:00 pm
  • Thursday August 22, 2013 at 11:00-12:00 noon or 2:00-3:00 pm

Off-Campus Testing Sites in California, Oregon, and Washington
To take the math placement exam at an off campus site please do the following:
  1. Register for Orientation and choose “offsite” for where you will take the placement exam. You do not have to specify where and when you will take it offsite.
  2. Next look at the list off offsite testing centers below. If you live
    1. in California, Oregon, or Washington, choose one of the listed sites and email your choice to Kathy Porter at
    2. Outside of California, Oregon, and Washington, email Kathy Porter at Requesting the closest approved testing center to your home.Once you get a reply from Prof. Porter you may contact the testing site to set up a time and date for your Mathematics Placement Exam.
  3. Identify yourself as an incoming student to Saint Mary’s College and set up your date and time to take the SMC Math Placement Exam. (This is not the ELM exam that students take who are going to a CSU.)
  4. You must set up you exam at least 2 weeks before your testing time and you must take the exam at least 10 days before your Orientation. You are responsible for paying the testing/proctoring fee to the testing center.
    1. Note that only non-matriculated students (i.e., students who have not yet taken any classes at SMC) can choose an offsite testing center to take the Saint Mary’s College Math Placement Exam.

Last modified: January 15th, 2013

Department of Mathematics & Computer Science . Saint Mary's College of California . Moraga, CA 94575 . (925) 631-4000