All entering freshmen are required to take the Colorado State University Mathematics Placement Examination (MPE).  The MPE is waived for students who have earned:

  Satisfactory performance on the MPE is the enforced prerequisite for the entry-level courses MATH 117, MATH 130, MATH 133, and MATH 135.

The MPE is a 50-item exam designed to assess students' current knowledge of prerequisite material for the entry-level mathematics courses, and the content of the one credit precalculus minicourses MATH 117 – MATH 126.  Students who demonstrate basic proficiency with the content of one or more of the minicourses MATH 117 – MATH 126 are placed out of the corresponding minicourse(s) and may register for the next course.  Students whose performance indicates competence comparable to that expected of students who have completed a minicourse are placed out and awarded academic credit in the corresponding minicourse. 

Students whose MPE scores suggest they are not well prepared for entry-level mathematics courses must complete the Entry Level Mathematics (ELM) Tutorial and attain an acceptable score on the ELM Exam to be eligible to take MATH 117, MATH 133, or MATH 135. All students taking the MPE are placed into at least MATH 130, Math in the Social Sciences. The ELM Tutorial is described in the next section found below.

Incoming students have the opportunity to take the MPE remotely one time prior to their term of admission.   When classes are in session the MPE is given on a "walk in" basis during the regular hours of the PACe Testing Center (138 Weber). The MPE may be taken twice in the proctored setting of the PACe Testing Center (WB 138). Exam results are available immediately and students can re-check their results online by selecting the "Math Placement Exam Information" link on the Math Department web site. Credit by examination is only awarded when the MPE is taken in a proctored setting.

A one-time examination fee of $15 is charged to the student's University account the first time he or she takes the MPE.  This one-time fee covers all eligible attempts of the MPE plus any earned placement credit, as well as any work completed on the ELM Tutorial and ELM Exam.

A scientific or graphics calculator is needed for the MPE.  Students may use their own calculator when taking the exam remotely, but must use a calculator provided by the PACe Testing Center at other times.   Calculators that have a "QWERTY" keyboard are not allowed.

Students are urged to prepare for the MPE.  A comprehensive set of review materials can be found online at the CSU Mathematics Department web site (go to and click on Math Placement Exam Information).

Students cannot rely on automat­ically receiving earned placement credit, and should register for placement credit they have earned. Students may confirm their eligibility for placement credit in person with the staff in the PACe Office (137 Weber) or online at





Students who are not well prepared for the entry-level mathematics courses MATH 117, MATH 133 and MATH 135 should complete the ELM Tutorial and pass the proctored ELM Exam in the PACe Testing Center (WB 138). The ELM Tutorial is a structured review of basic algebraic concepts. It includes video instruction, practice problems and review exams. Students must work through the material and qualify to take the ELM Exam by scoring adequately on the four unit/review exams.

When classes are in session the ELM Exam is given on a "walk in" basis during the regular hours of the PACe Testing Center (138 Weber). University credit cannot be earned from the ELM Exam. Students who do not qualify for the desired entry-level mathematics course must repeat the ELM Exam. After two unsuccessful attempts, students must review the tutorial material and re-qualify to take the ELM Exam by passing the final review exam once again.

Tutors in the PACe Tutoring Center (136 Weber) are available to assist students who are working on the ELM Tutorial. There is no additional fee for either the ELM Tutorial or the ELM Exam.

[ Back to Table of Contents]

Last updated on:   March 27, 2012