Math Placement Exam for Engineering - Take It Seriously

Engineering freshman, be aware that if you do not score at least 22 out of 33 on the math placement exam given at the NSC, you will be blocked from taking ENGR 102. The requirement is at least co-enrollment in Math 151.

You will be blocked from enrolling in Math 151 and also will not be able to use your Calculus BC AP credit for Math 151, whatever score you made, if you do not score at least a 22 on the MPE. You will be taking Math 150 and university core curriculum that first semester, and this will delay Entry to a Major at least one semester.

Many students that we encountered did not prepare for the MPE, and many students will be taking Math 150 their first semester.

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My understanding is that it is a “recommendation” to not use your AP Calc credit for math if you score below a 22 on the MPE. The AP chart that was sent with the NSC information shows a student can skip Math 151 with a score of 3 on the AP Calc BC exam, and they can skip both Math 151 & 152 with a score of 4.

If you are not using AP credit for math, below are the classes you can enroll in based on your MPE score
(from our NSC presentation):

MPE Score
0-14: Enroll in ENGR 289* (Algebra, Trigonometry and Pre-calculus)
15-21: Enrollin MATH 150* (Pre-calculus)
22-33: Enroll in MATH 151 (Engineering Calculus I)

**Students enrolled in ENGR 289 or MATH 150 for Fall 2018 may retake the Math Placement Exam (MPE) during Howdy Week. Registration information for retakes will be sent early August.
Students can enroll in the Personalized Precalculus Program to improve their math skills. For more information please visit

MPE 0-14
Schedule A
ENGR 289/4
CLEN 289/0
Total Credits 14

MPE 15-21
Schedule B
CLEN 289/0
Total Credits 14

MPE 22 -33
Schedule C
MATH 151/4
ENGR 102/2
Total Credits 16

Note: Students who begin the Fall 2018 semester in ENGR 289 or MATH 150 are eligible for Automatic Entry at the second ETAM application opportunity in Fall 2019 pending successful completion of MATH 152, PHYS 206 and ENGR 216 with a C or better.

My son’s group was specifically told that they cannot take AP credit without a 22 on the MPE. The advisors indicated that they would be locked out. There was no doubt about what the presentation said. I was also surprised. If someone HAS tried to do this, please let us know. The presentation also indicated that the AP Calculus BC score has to be a 5 (not a 4) with MPE >=22 before both Math 151 and 152 can be bypassed. In every bracket of AP Calculus BC score, there was an MPE >= 22 requirement to take math credit. I am more concerned about students being electronically locked out of taking AP credit due to their MPE score. This part didn’t sound like a recommendation, and I was listening carefully.

Wow! Hopefully they will honor their published AP credit chart for those kids who plan on using it for math. I’m glad you brought up the MPE scores because there were some kids in our group as well who were surprised by their low scores on the MPE. I think the practice exams are key, and all of the kids need to do them.

I encountered plenty of students who “didn’t realize it [the MPE] was such a big deal.” Please, folks, as @chercheur said, either prepare for the MPE or be ready for the consequences.

From what I have heard if you did well in ap calc, you really shouldn’t struggle til the mpe so long as you go back and review. The mpe is really precal material and for some kids it has been a couple of years since they have had it. They need to take the practice tests and review.

I believe the CLEN 289 course mentioned in @chercheur 's first post in this thread is the Engineering Learning Community. This is available in College Station as an optional LLC.

My son has been working through the practice exams and the computer one…he completely sees the advantage in working through it before his nsc next week. For him, he got a couple wrong just because of how he entered it…(answer was right, but he used shift plus instead of working in the format of test). It may be a no brainer for some, but would have slipped him up had he not spent some time with it. He also commented that on the printed practice sheets he was simplifying answers as he has been taught and they want the long version answers. So not sure if those that have taken this would agree with him or not but that is what he found out for himself. I would suggest everyone look it over to see how it applies to what they and how they have been taught. It’s not that he doesn’t know the material, it’s just he needed to work with the way A&M is testing. Might be why some kids are being surprised by their results. I am just thankful he listened and looked it over!

I had the first NSC so I’ve already taken my MPE. I made a high enough score to get into Calc 1. I would definitely recommend studying for it since it is all non-calc math (mostly pre-cal and algebra but also some geometry). I only studied the sheets that you print out and that seemed to work for me (I took BC calc year, so pre-calc junior and algebra sophomore). The test is multiple-choice, so I wouldn’t worry too much about how to format or simplify the answers. I can try to answer any questions y’all may have over it but I was really nervous the whole time so my memory might not be the best.

If you go to your howdy portal
→ my records
→ math placement exam
->Click here to continue to the MPE website
There will be a practice test on the computer. This give students to knowledge to navigate the test on the computer

@anxious_stdnt would you say the algebra you mentioned is algebra 2?

MPE included functions among other things, trig, for example. Functions are Algebra 2.

I know this is an old thread but it is good to see that it has come back up.

My son will be taking his placement test during his NSC the first week of June. He has known about the test since last summer since he and I helped a friend of his study for it. He has been studying some so far throughout the year since he recognizes that doing well in Calculus BC does not guarantee he will do well on this non-calculator Algebra 2/PreCalculus test. He knows to practice with the available practice tests and to use those to help direct his additional study.

That being said, does anyone know of additional study material that is geared well to this test? There are tons of algebra and pre cal resources online and in my closest (I am a math teacher), but does anyone know of additional practice tests that have already been created or additional practice sets created with this test in mind?

I have heard that the NSC MPE is very much like the online practice tests and the copies of written tests (also available online) provided by TAMU. However, when my son did a retake during Howdy Week, that test was significantly different. Moral of the story: prepare well, learn the relevant material, and pass the first attempt. It seems very likely that the roughly half of all students who failed at NSC just hadn’t prepared. TAMU also provided a summer prep distance course (at least a couple different start dates/times) for students notified of it by email, presumably after they failed the original test. The course cost was a couple hundred dollars.

Your student will definitely be able to find his weak spots through the practice tests and can do extra study on those areas. Good luck to him and good to hear he’s taking this seriously.

@MomHopesNxtGenAg , is there a limit to the number of times that a student can take the MPE practice online test?

@camandcam It’s been a couple years now but if I remember correctly there was not a limit to how many times you could take it, but there was a 3 week cool off period in between takes and it had to be complete by a given date. So depending on when your first take was, that date derived how many possible attempts you had.

@mathcat @camandcam @pbleigh @MomHopesNxtGenAg

Between these two links, The MPE practice test can be taken twice, with 14 days in between tests.
This link addresses Engineering and Science Majors
And this one is Engineering Only

@pbleigh , @Thelma2 , thanks for the replies!

@Thelma2 , Thanks for mentioning the practice exams. We have known about them since last summer and my son has now taken the first of his two (only earned a 25 but it helped him see where to focus his study to help assure a passing score on the real thing). He also has been using the bit of available study material. I was just hoping to find even more. Since neither one of use ever found study material beyond what TAMU offers, he has simply been using online resources and an algebra 2 and a precaculus teacher’s edition.

I do now have an additional question though. My son has accommodations on his MPE due to a medical condition. Since he is with engineering, we were expecting the exam to take place on the second day of his new student conference, even if that might need to be in a different room than the students who do not have accommodations. He recently received an email stating that he will be able to take the exam prior to his NSC as an online proctored exam with Examity Proctoring System. He already knows the date he would like for the exam (May 26 with his NSC being June 5-6). He has already checked the computer requirements for this and all seems good. And yes, he will be able to take the exam alone in a room with no one interrupting. My direct question is if anyone knows the turn around between completion of the exam in this specific online proctored circumstance and receipt of the scores (I am suspecting through Howdy)? Also, if there is anything we might need to know that has not been thought of?

@Mathcat I am not sure if it has changed but when my son took it for fall 2016, the result were known immediately. 25 isn’t bad for a first attempt. Mine got a 26 with no prep or practice, on the last day it was available back in the day they let you take it at home. During NSC, in the group advising session power point, it was stated that if you made a 22-26, you would likely made a C in Physics. He made a B and part of that result was he miscalculated that if he didn’t do some of the work that was a small % of grade, he could still make an A if he tested well. Well, that % he skipped dropped him a letter grade. If you get math easily, you shouldn’t have too much trouble in calculus. If you struggle with time management, procrastination, good study habits, that is where a lot of smart kids get in trouble. The level of time involved and study skills, most did not have to demonstrate in high school to get top grades.