What you should know about the Math Placement Exam (MPE)

Blog Header: Math Placement Exam (MPE)

All CSU majors include at least one mathematics or statistics course (total of three credits) to graduate. The Math Placement Exam (MPE) is a tool to help you place into the highest course in which you can be successful. We’ve outlined the key points below so you know what to expect and what to do next.

What is the MPE?

First, when we reference the MPE, we are including two versions of the exam: the unproctored Math Placement Exam and the proctored Math Challenge Exam.  Incoming students may take the unproctored Math Placement Exam from anywhere off campus, and it is used for placement only.  The Math Challenge Exam can give placement and also potentially award University credit because this exam is proctored.  It’s most common for students to start with the unproctored Math Placement Exam.

The MPE (unproctored or proctored) is an online multiple choice assessment consisting of 50 questions that you have up to two hours and 20 minutes to complete. The unproctored MPE generally is accessible until about a week before the start of your first term; only the proctored (supervised) MPE is available to incoming students after that.

Am I required to take the MPE?

Incoming freshman/first-year students and transfers are directed to create a Personalized Math Plan before attending Ram Orientation to guide their decisions around taking the MPE.

Your Personalized Math Plan will help you understand the math course(s) included in your major or programs of interest, will show you any math credit(s) you’ve already been awarded in transfer through Advanced Placement (AP), International Baccalaureate (IB), prior college work or other test out credits, and will provide guidance on whether the MPE is an essential next step.

When in doubt, there’s no harm in completing the MPE prior to orientation as a starting point for conversations with your academic success coordinator or advisor.

How does completing these steps before Ram Orientation help me?

Our goal is your success. Completing your Personalized Math Plan and MPE (if recommended) before Ram Orientation supports your success in these ways:

  1. Students who complete their college math requirement within their first two semesters on campus are more successful in their college career and graduate at a higher rate.
  2. Demonstrating math readiness opens the door to registering for courses in chemistry, computer science, economics, engineering, physics and more.
  3. You and your academic success coordinator or advisor will be able to select just the right courses for you to start a strong foundation during your first CSU semester.

Is there a cost for the MPE?

Yes. A one-time fee will be billed directly to your student account, allowing you to take the MPE up to three times. There is no charge to create your Personalized Math Plan.

What should I do next?

  1. Create your Personalized Math Plan.
    • Logging in does not cause the exam to start; it does allow you to access information specific to your academic record.
  2. Prepare.
    • It’s a fact: taking time to prepare for exams results in better performance. These tips to prepare for the MPE may help.
    • If the MPE is recommended for you, you’ll also be guided to study guides within your Personalized Math Plan.
  3. Take the exam online when you’re ready.
    • You’ll have 2 hours and 20 minutes to complete the MPE.
    • If you’re taking the MPE from a remote/off-campus location, plan to be in a quiet setting with no interruptions.
    • Take the MPE at least one week prior to Ram Orientation so your results will be available during advising and registration.
  4. View your results.
    • Your results will be available online immediately after you take the exam.
  5. Not satisfied with your results?
    • You may be eligible to take the MPE up to two additional times in a proctored (supervised) setting.
    • Return to your Personalized Math Plan for updated options.

Have questions?

Direct your MPE questions to the PACe office at (970) 491-5761 or pace@math.colostate.edu using your university email account (include your full name and CSU ID) so staff can reply with confidential academic information, if needed.

Ready to start studying?

Check out our tips to prepare for the MPE.


Jill Baylis

Jill was a staff member in the Office of Admissions until 2019 when she moved to Denver. As a first-generation college student, she focused on simplifying the college admissions process and helping future Rams find community on campus.