Placement Exams

Do I need to take a placement exam?

It depends! Your Math placement will automatically be determined by your SAT/ACT scores, based on the following:

  • To qualify for Math 112 or 115, you must have a minimum Math SAT score of 560, or Math ACT score of 23 
  • To qualify for Math 130, you must have a minimum Math SAT score of 590, or Math ACT score of 25
  • To qualify for Math 150, you must have a minimum Math SAT score of 630, or Math ACT score of 27
If you are not satisfied with your placement, then take an online math placement exam, as outlined in the tab below.

To be placed in a Foreign Language, you MUST complete either a waiver of placement or an online placement exam. 


  • If you are not satisfied with your SAT/AP results and would like to be placed in a higher-level math course, you should take the placement exam, as outlined below.
  • If you would like to take a lower-level math course than the one you were placed in, take the placement exam and preference your desired math course on the First-Year Advising Questionnaire.

Requirements for Majors

What major (or majors) are you considering?

  • Keep in mind that many first-year students either haven't chosen a major, or change their minds later.
  • If you are not certain about which major you want, Math 115 (College Algebra) is more flexible than Math 112 (Investigations in Modern Mathematics).
  • For students who are certain that they will not go into one of the majors where Math 115 or higher is required, Math 112 can be an attractive alternative to Math 115, as it covers interesting topics you may not have learned before, such as mathematics of voting, encryption, and games of chance.
  • Also, Math 150 (Calculus 1) is more flexible than Math 130 (Survey of Calculus), but requires some knowledge of trigonometry.

According to your choice of major(s), you will eventually need to take:

  • Behavioral Neuroscience: Math 150
  • Biology: Math 150 or 130
  • Business (including Economics): Math 130 or 150
  • Chemistry: Math 151
  • Computer Science: *Math 151
  • Engineering: *Math 250
  • Environmental Studies: *Math 115 (Math 130 or 150 is also recommended)
  • Liberal Studies (for future K-8 teachers): *Math 115
  • Marine Sciences: Math 150 (Math 151 is also recommended)
  • Mathematics: *Math 250
  • Physics: Math 250
  • Psychology: Math 115 (Math 130 is also strongly recommended)
  • Other majors: The Core requirement may be fulfilled by any 3 or 4-unit mathematics course numbered 100 or above.

Majors with a * require additional math courses to be taken later.


Online Test Link

Please visit the Math Placement website to:

  • Decide which exam to take
  • Go over exam preparation
  • Access a link to take the exam.

Please note, the password for the exam log-in is not your USDOne password - the correct password was sent to the email address you used during admissions. Feel free to use the "forgot password" link, and check all email addresses for a response.


Contact Information

If you have questions about math placement, please email the Mathematics Department.

Before enrolling for the first time in one of the languages offered at USD, students must go through an evaluation of their current skills in the language they want to study. Evaluation results will “place” the student in the most appropriate level of language class. Students can then enroll in a class section for the course.

For more information about the Language Placement Exams, go to the Languages, Cultures and Literatures website.


Online Placement Exam

To continue language study at USD (or at any other colleges or universities if planning to transfer credits), all students must take the Language Placement Exam. Please note:

  • Placement results are valid only for the academic year in which they are obtained.
  • The Language Placement Exam may only be taken once without the express consent of the Director of Placement or the Department Chair of Languages, Cultures and Literatures.
  • The exam is a diagnostic tool: students should not study for it; students should not receive any outside assistance.
  • All Language Placement Exams (except Ancient Greek) are online. Please visit the Language Placement Exam website to access these exams. To take the exam in your language of choice, read the declarations, scroll to the bottom of the page, and press "take the placement exam."

Contact Dr. Rubio-Fernaz at santiago@sandiego.edu to take an in-person exam. If you have obtained a Waiver of Placement, please do not take a Language Placement Exam.


Waiver Versus Exam

To study a language as a beginner, request a Waiver of Placement to enroll in a 101 course. If you have obtained a Waiver of Placement, please do not take a Language Placement Exam.

If you are familiar with a language or have studied it in any classroom, take the Language Placement Exam. Don't use dictionaries, notes, or outside sources, as you will want to be placed accurately! If you are placed in a higher-level course based on your exam results, you cannot register for any lower level courses. So, it is imperative you take the test without any outside help. 


Competency Exams

Students who place into 202 or an upper-division course have two options to fulfill the Core Curriculum Language requirement:

  • take 202 or an upper-division course, selected in consultation with the Director of your specific language program, or
  • take the Competency Exam (which should be done as soon as possible).

Contact Information

If you have any specific questions regarding the language placement process, please contact Dr. Rubio-Fernaz.

Complete Listing of Approved Exam Credits

  • If you have not sent your AP scores to USD, please send those results to the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. You can call the College Board at (609) 771-7300 and request they send your AP scores to USD Code 4849. If you have any further questions about AP credit, you can e-mail Undergraduate Admissions directly.
  • If you have sent your scores to USD already, and your schedule had not reflected the change, please email FirstReg.
  • If you have any questions regarding transfer credit and/or Community College credit, please email Registrar.