Is the Math Assessment required?

Math assessment is required of all new first-time college students attending Santa Monica College and of all students who wish to enroll in a math course for the first time.

What is the purpose of math assessment?

The purpose of math assessment is to recommend a math class that is neither too difficult nor too easy for you. The Math Department is particularly concerned that you do not waste a semester by selecting a class that exceeds your preparation.

What is the name and content of the math assessment test?

SMC uses the College Board "Accuplacer" math test to assess students' skills in a variety of subject areas. All students start by taking the Elementary Algebra test, and depending on their performance they are then either 1) stopped, 2) routed to an easier test (Arithmetic assessment), or 3) routed to a more difficult test (College Level Math assessment) where placement will be determined. Given the adaptive nature of the test not all students will see questions in all content areas. 

What skills are assessed by the Accuplacer math tests?

The Accuplacer test assesses a variety of skills and in most cases students will see 12-20 questions.

 Skills include:

  • Arithmetic: Operations with whole numbers and fractions, Operations with decimals and percent's and Applications and problem solving, to name a few. Click here to see examples 
  • Elementary Algebra: Numbers and quantities, Algebraic expressions and Problem solving, to name a few. Click here to see examples 
  • College Level Math: Algebraic operations, Solutions of equations and inequalities, Coordinate geometry, Functions, Trigonometry, to name a few. Click here to see examples 

How can I best prepare for the math assessment?

There are a variety of ways on how you can prepare to take the math assessment. We have compiled a variety of practice tests and resources that may help you prepare. You will find these examples on our Math Prep web page. 

How is placement in math determined?

Placement into a math class at SMC is based on multiple measures. However, we place the greatest emphasis on your Accuplacer math assessment test. Thus it is critical you take the test seriously, take your time in reviewing questions and deriving a solution. Your score will determine which course you will be eligible for at SMC. Once you place into a course, you will not be able to switch into a higher-level course.

What determines success in math?

The Math Department believes that the single most important success factor is your current skill level which is measured by math assessment. However, since the department also recognizes the importance of study skills, the allowance of time for homework, previous math grades, the length of time elapsed since the completion of your last math class, completion of course pre-requisites, and personal motivation, these will also be considered in the recommendation.