​Information for Students on the Math Assessment Test: Retesting and Challenge Procedures

If you take the Math Assessment Test and believe that your score does not accurately reflect your skill level, you may retake the Assessment Test after a two-week period. Note that once you have enrolled/started the course sequence in a math course, you may not retake the Assessment Test.

Information on preparing for the Assessment Test

  • Assessment website: Please review before retaking the assessment. Relevant information is primarily located under the Tests and Services heading.

  • Math Department website: Information can be found under the Math Placement heading. Additional course-specific study guides and online resources are provided under the Current Students heading.

Other sources for preparation material

  • SMC Library: Older math texts are available on the shelves, and current texts are available to SMC students in the Reserve section behind the circulation desk.

  • Math Lab: Editions of older textbooks are available for reference.

Challenging the results of the computerized Math Assessment Test

If, after taking the Math Assessment a second time, you still have not achieved eligibility for the class you desire, you may request to challenge your result by taking a challenge exam. If taking a challenge exam, please note:

  • A challenge exam may be taken once only.

  • Challenge exams are done without use of a calculator.

  • Challenge exams (except for Geometry Challenge exam) are paper-and-pencil multiple choice timed tests, generally lasting 40 minutes.

  • Geometry Challenge exam is administered through the Assessment Center.

You must earn a score of at least 70% on the challenge exam(s) to qualify for the desired class.

The challenge procedure cannot be used to make up results of D, F or W in a course.

Choosing a challenge exam

The chart below identifies which challenge exam you might take depending upon your Math Assessment score and the class desired. Preparing for a challenge exam should be a review of material you have already studied but possibly forgotten.

You should also be aware of the sequence of prerequisites for math courses. The most common misconception is that eligibility for Math 21, 26, 41, and 54 satisfies the Math 20 prerequisite for Math 2. In fact this is not the case, because eligibility for these courses reflects relatively basic algebra skills while Math 2 requires strong algebra skills.

Typical scenarios, score eligibility, and guidelines to follow:

Score made you eligible forYou WantChallenge Exam(s) Needed
Math 31, 49Math 20You will take a test on Math 31 topics (elementary algebra).
Math 18, 20, 32Math 21, 26, 41, 54You will take a test on Math 20 topics (intermediate algebra).
Math 18, 20, 32Math 2You will take tests on both Math 20 & 32 topics (intermediate algebra & geometry).
Math 21, 26, 41, 54Math 2You will take tests on both Math 20 & 32 topics (intermediate algebra & geometry).
Math 28Math 2You will take a test on Math 32 topics because algebra skills seem reasonably strong but we have no information on geometry skills.
Math 28Math 7 You will take a test on Math 2 topics including trigonometry and college algebra.
Math 2Math 7You will take a test on Math 2 topics including trigonometry and college algebra.
​Math 2Math 28No challenge test is needed; you may be waived into Math 28 by a counselor.

Other challenge exam situations

You may have successfully completed Math 20 (Intermediate Algebra) and wish to take Math 2 (Precalculus). In this case, you also need to demonstrate proficiency in geometry (Math 32 at SMC). You may do this by taking a geometry challenge exam.

How to schedule a challenge exam

Challenge Exam Request forms are available outside the math department office, MC 26. Submit the completed form to Math Department Chair, in MC 26. If your request for the challenge exam is approved by the department chair, you will be scheduled for the appropriate challenge exam(s).