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Mathematics Placement Exam (MAPE) Information

Who must take the Mathematics Placement Exam?
What is the purpose of the MAPE?
Is there a cost to the student?
Can I take the MAPE instead of the Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) Exam?
If I pass the ELM, do I still need to take the MAPE?
What are the prerequisite skills for Calculus and Mathematics for Elementary Teaching?
When will the Placement Exams be given?
What does the MAPE cover?
Should I prepare for the Placement Exam?

Who must take the Mathematics Placement Exam?

Important Note: The Mathematics Placement Exams (MAPE) are diagnostic exams used by Cal Poly for students who have satisfied the Entry Level Mathematics requirement. Not all students need to take the MAPE. Please check the course prerequisites or Selecting Your First Math Course to help you make that determination.

The Precalculus MAPE are diagnostic exams to determine your readiness for Trigonometry (Math 119) or Calculus (Math 141, 161 or 221) if you do not already meet the course prerequisite.

The Intermediate Algebra MAPE is a diagnostic exam to determine your readiness for precalculus algebra (Math 118) if you do not already meet the course prerequisite.

What is the purpose of the MAPE?

The goal of the MAPE is to help you enter the mathematics curriculum at an appropriate level, aid faculty in giving you appropriate advice, decrease failure and drop out rates, reduce frustrations and academic difficulties, and increase chances of success.

The MAPE report indicates a mastery level expected for selected topic areas, your score in each area, a total score, and a statement which indicates the course(s) you are eligible for. There are also recommendations for appropriate actions and/or courses if you do not score mastery level in all areas.

Please note that prerequisites are checked by CPReg during registration. You will not be allowed to enroll in a math or statistics course if you do not meet the course prerequisites.

Is there a cost to the student?

There is no fee. The only cost is a little bit of time (one to one-and-a-half hours).

Can I take the MAPE instead of the Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) Exam?

No...The MAPE is used at Cal Poly only if you have satisfied the ELM requirement (for more information on the ELM, please see ELM Information). You will not be allowed to take the MAPE if you do not have an ELM exemption or if you have been directed by your ELM score to take prebaccalaureate math courses.

If I pass the ELM, do I still need to take the MAPE?

If you wish to enroll in Math 118, 119, 141, 161, or 221 and do not satisfy one of the other prerequisites, the answer is yes! The MAPE should be taken prior to the registration period.

What are the prerequisite skills for Calculus?

To take Math 141, 161, or 221, we expect that you will have completed a typical four-year sequence in high school mathematics, including one year of geometry and two-and-one-half years of algebra with grades of "B" or better, and some math within the last year. For Math 141, it is also expected that you have completed at least a semester of trigonometry with grade "B" or better.

Satisfying the ELM requirement and one of the following are prerequisites for these courses:

  • An Advanced Placement Exam score of 3 or above on the AB or BC Calculus Exam, or
  • An SAT Math I/II score of 600 or above, or
  • An ACT Math score of 26 or above, or
  • An appropriate precalculus MAPE score

When will the Placement Exams be given?

MAPE exams are given continuously throughout each quarter. Each quarter the schedule will vary, so please call: 756-2268 (ELM/MAPE Coordinator), or 756-2206 (Math Department). The MAPE exams are also given at specific times during Cal Poly’s Open House in the spring, and during the Summer Advising Program (SOAR). Appointments for the MAPE may be made by calling 756-2268.

What does the MAPE cover?

The Intermediate Algebra MAPE covers:

  • Elementary operations with numerical and algebraic fractions
  • Quadratic polynomials, equations and inequalities
  • Rational expressions
  • Graphing
  • Exponents and radicals
  • Logarithms and functions
  • Linear equations and inequalities
  • Word problems

The Precalculus MAPE exams cover:

  • Elementary operations with numerical and algebraic fractions
  • Trigonometry (not needed for Math 161 or 221)
  • Operations with exponents and radicals
  • Logarithms and exponential functions
  • Linear equations and inequalities
  • Word problems
  • Functions

Should I prepare for the Placement Exam?

Many students find a review, even just a few hours, helpful. Taking the exam without any review may give a score that does not reflect your true ability. The Robert E. Kennedy Library at Cal Poly has a large collection of college algebra and precalculus algebra books. The reference section of the Campus Bookstore contains helpful references. We have a few sample MAPE questions available on the Math Department website. You can also find review materials online by searching for intermediate algebra, college algebra, trigonometry and precalculus.