Math Placement Online Examination

The Mathematical, Information and Computer Science Department at Point Loma Nazarene University is committed to providing students with personal attention to help them succeed in their academic work. That includes providing assistance at the onset of your academic program to take the mathematics course that is appropriate to your course of study. To avoid students enrolling in a course and repeating material that they have already mastered, we require each student to take a one-hour online mathematics exam prior to New Student Orientation.

The online mathematics placement examination will be available to you August 9-11, 2016. We cannot finalize a fall class schedule for you until you have taken the exam, so it is in your best interest to take the test online.  

Beginning the week of July 18th you will receive an email with instructions for registering for the online exam. You must complete the registration by July 28th in order to be able to take the exam online.

On Monday, August 8th you will receive an email with instructions for how to access the exam. In order to take the exam you must use Internet Explorer or Firefox as your web browser and you must have Java script and pop-ups enabled during the time that you are taking the exam.

Reviewing scoring information will be conducted via the PLNU student portal. Make sure you have created your portal account at your earliest opportunity.  If you need help with the portal please contact PLNU Admissions at 619-849-2541. The results of the exam are generally available in 72 hours after the end of the testing period and will be used for placement in the appropriate mathematics course for your program of study.  Please note that if a new student does not take the Math Placement Exam August 9-11, s/he will take it Monday morning, August 29th, prior to classes starting on Tuesday, August 30th. A change in class schedule may occur, based on the student's score on the exam.   

Examination Exemptions

Everyone entering PLNU needs to take this exam prior to attending Fall 2016 classes, no matter what course work the student has completed before coming to PLNU. Students who have passed the AP Calculus AB exam or BC exam with a score of 3, 4 or 5 and have sent the score to PLNU before July 31st, 2016, do not need to take the exam.  

Some transfer students may be exempt from taking the exam.  The exemption depends on the exact type of mathematics that you took before coming to PLNU and your major.  Please contact transfer counselor Raquel Aparicio ( to determine if you are exempt. 

Academic Accommodations 

Students with disabilities who are seeking accommodations for taking the online placement exam should contact the PLNU Disability Resource Center at 619-849-2486. 

Test Preparation

You should study for the math placement test. Like anything else, if you don't use it, you lose it. If you've been out of math for a year (or even a few months over the summer); a review of mathematical concepts and operations will help you to do your best work. Often students who do not study are disappointed about their low placement. Placing into a higher-level of math class can save you time and tuition money ... it is worth a couple hours of practice.

The mathematics placement exam covers the following courses: MTH 099 - Elementary Algebra; MTH 113 - Intermediate Algebra; MTH 123 - Pre-Calculus Mathematics; and MTH133-Pre-calculus for the Sciences. The online exam provides instructions to assist you with selection of the appropriate test. To assist you with test preparation, a list of the topics each class covers has been provided below. Use this list and the sample questions to sharpen your skills, review concepts, and practice solving math problems.

MTH 099 - Elementary Algebra

An introduction to algebra, including a study of the real number system, solutions of linear and quadratic equations, polynomials, factoring, systems of equations, graphing, inequalities, and radicals.

MTH 113 -Intermediate Algebra

A review and extension of elementary algebra, solutions of linear and quadratic equations, radicals, inequalities, linear and quadratic functions, polynomial functions, and graphing.

MTH 123 - Pre-Calculus Mathematics

A basic introduction to functions designed to meet the prerequisite skills necessary for the study of calculus. Studies of polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions, coordinate geometry, and graphing. 

MTH 133 - Pre-calculus for the Sciences

 A  introduction to the functions necessary for the study of calculus with an emphasis on numerical and graphical notations of continuity, limits, and derivatives. The following function types are used as examples for the study of the concepts: polynomial, rational, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions.