Who has to take the WOU Mathematics Placement Test?
The Mathematics Department at WOU uses SAT/ACT-Math scores to make an initial placement recommendation for new students. If you wish to enter a mathematics course at a higher level than your SAT/ACT score indicates you must take the math placement Test.
Note: some students with particular course prerequisites may also have to take the mathematics placement test. For example, Math 105 is not the prerequisite for Math 111, 211, 251, etc. See the FAQ page for more information.
Students in the following majors take the mathematics placement test during SOAR, during New Student Week or at the beginning of their first term at WOU. Students in these majors will be better served by WOU if they start their mathematics course sequences at the beginning of their first year at WOU.
What should you expect when you take the WOU Mathematics Placement Test?
The WOU Mathematics Department uses COMPASS®, which is a computerized, multiple choice test.
There is an online non-graphing calculator for your use.
You may use the provided calculator (or your own non-graphing calculator) and pencil and paper during the test, but no other materials.
The test has questions of increasing difficulty, in approximately the topic order listed below. You will not be asked questions about every topic in the lists; problems are randomly selected and the difficulty of the problems increases as you answer the problems correctly.
What topics are covered on the WOU Mathematics Placement Test?
Numerical skills/ Pre-Algebra
Basic operations with integers
Basic operations with fractions
Basic operations with decimals
Absolute value of numbers
Means, medians, modes
Multiples and factors of integers
Exponents, square roots, scientific notation
Conversions between fractions and decimals
Order concepts (greater than, less than)
Counting problems and basic probability
Ratios and proportions
Substituting values into algebraic equations
Setting up equations
Basic operations with polynomials
Factoring of polynomials
Basic operations with linear equations
Exponents and radicals
Basic operations with linear inequalities
Exponents and radicals
Systems of linear equations, 2 variables
Absolute value equations
Absolute value inequalities
Linear equations in two variables
Distance and midpoint formula in the plane
Graphing circles, parabolas, etc.
Graphing parallel and perpendicular lines
Graphing rational functions
Graphing systems of equations
Roots of polynomials
Matrices (basic operations, equations and determinants)
Systems of linear equations in three or more variables
The COMPASS Web Site provides some sample questions. The solutions to the sample questions are listed at the end of the sample questions. Please note, this is just a short list of sample questions to help familiarize students with the type of questions on the test. Most students find that more in-depth study is required to place into the appropriate course.
Math Center Free Drop In Tutoring: Take a textbook or the practice problems to the free Math Center Free Drop In Mathematics Tutoring, Hamersly Library 228. Their schedule is posted at wou.edu/mathcenter
Book Study Resources
WOU Checkout Resources: The State Adopted text book collection, Hamersly Library, second floor, has a variety of high school mathematics textbooks that you may check out for self study.
Quick Guides: Schaum's Outline of Elementary Algebra by B. R. Rich and Schaum's Outline of Intermediate Algebra by Ray Steege, Kerry Bailey are both available at the WOU bookstore
Self-Paced Text Introductory Algebra: A Just-In-Time Approach by Alice M. Kaseberg This text, used at several local community colleges, is available in paperback or hardcover.
Self-Paced Text Intermediate Algebra:: A Just-In-Time Approach by Alice M. Kaseberg This text, used at several local community colleges, is available in paperback or hardcover.
Any standard Introductory Algebra or Intermediate Algebra text will also suffice for a study guide.
Scheduling a time to take the WOU Mathematics Placement Test
Students attending SOAR and/or New Student Week will be given the opportunity to take the Mathematics Placement Test. No additional sign up or appointment is necessary for these students prior to arriving at SOAR or at New Student Week.
Students who wish to take the Mathematics Placement Test during the regular academic year must contact the mathematics office specialist: Sharon Price, to schedule an appointment.
Students may take the Mathematics Placement Test twice without charge.
Math & Nursing Building 116