Online Placement Test

Current SMC students are required to take the exam on campus. Students interested in this should follow this link.

For incoming students starting in Spring 2019:

The Saint Mary’s math placement test is administered online to new first-year and transfer students prior to their arrival on campus. Incoming students will receive an email to their SMC email address inviting you to take the exam. The placement exam opens on January 1. We ask that students complete the placement exam within a week of being invited to do so.

 If you are entitled to accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act, please contact Student Disability Services (, 925-631-4358) to make appropriate arrangements prior to taking the test.


Login id:  Your SMC email prefix, which is built from your initials: man6, crh65 or fc2

Password: Your 6-digit Saint Mary’s identification number, omitting the initial zero. (If this doesn’t work, you can try your full 7-digit SMC identification number.)

If the password doesn’t work, the site has a “don’t remember my password” procedure on the login page which results in your password being mailed to you.

If you have other questions or technical issues taking the online exam, you can email for assistance.

Once you are logged in, click on the link that says “Incoming Students, Fall 2018.”

There are two tests available, the SMC calculus readiness test (for students who are required to take calculus) and the SMC algebra placement test (for students who do not plan to take calculus). You may take either test or both. In particular, if you take the calculus readiness test and don’t feel that it demonstrated your mathematical strengths, it might be especially useful to take the algebra exam.

  • Calculus is required for students majoring in: Allied Health Science, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science, Mathematics, Physics, and 3+2 Engineering Program.
  • Calculus is required for students pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Economics (but not a Bachelor of Arts).
  • Calculus is required for Business Majors in the concentration of Business Analytics (but not other concentrations). If you are interested in business and have taken studied math beyond Algebra 2 (not including statistics), you should take both the calculus readiness test and the algebra placement test. This will maximize your options moving forward.
  • All other students are welcome to take the calculus readiness exam, but calculus is unlikely to be required for your major.

More information about which exam to take can be found at the main Mathematics Placement page.

The calculus readiness test has 25 questions and takes 30 minutes; the algebra test has 32 questions and takes 40 minutes to complete. Once you begin the exam, you cannot stop. When you finish each question, click “Next” for the next question. Do not click the button that says “Quit & Save,” as the clock will continue to run even if you do this. Do not click the button that says “Submit,” as this will submit your assignment and prevent you from continuing. Note also that your work is automatically saved every time you answer a question.

If you wish to prepare for the placement test, there are various self-help books available. Any SAT subject preparation book covers most of the topics on which you will be tested. Such books contain explanations and practice exams to help you. You can also use online resources addressing Algebra 1 & 2 and (for calculus readiness) Precalculus.  You are not expected to get 100% on the exam. Just do your best work. 

  • The algebra placement exam is meant to test your comfort with basic algebra and numerical concepts. Selected topics include arithmetic & order of operations; fractions; properties of exponents; equations of lines; and basics of functions.
  • The calculus readiness exam is meant to test your familiarity with the vocabulary and conceptual approach needed to study calculus. Selected topics include polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions and their graphs and properties; applied problems; and basic algebraic skills.