Math Placement

Math is a basic element of your college education and your success in these courses depends on starting in a class that best matches your ability and preparation. To aid the matching process, we ask each student to take a math placement exam.

It gives us a snapshot of your understanding and of basic math concepts and your grasp of the math skills that you will need to take our courses. The goal of the exam is to increase your chances of success at Suffolk by placing you in a math course for which you have been adequately prepared.


  • Access the exam through the Suffolk Canvas platform*
  • Click Canvas in the navigation bar at the top of the page (if the page does not load, make sure you disable your pop-up blocker).
  • In the 'My Courses' box, you should see a link to the Math Placement Exam.
  • Read through the on-screen instructions and begin.

*Students will receive instructions about the Math Placement Exam when it opens in early May. If after receiving the instructions you need assistance logging in, please contact the Suffolk Help Desk or call 617-557-2000. 

All first year students must take the Math Placement Exam (MPE). Transfer students are strongly encouraged to take the MPE. However, transfer students who have already fulfilled the math requirement at another institution may be exempt from taking the MPE. If this is your situation, you must bring the evaluation of your transfer credits that the admissions office sent you to Orientation as evidence that you have fulfilled the math requirement. Some majors require a specific math course. Students who are not transferring in the particular math course required by the major should take the placement exam. 

  • Timing: Many students will be able to complete the exam within 50 minutes; however, the clock will allow up to 60 minutes. Once you start the exam the clock will start running. It will continue to run even if you click "save and quit.‟ Once the time runs out, your exam will be locked. You should plan to take the exam in one sitting. Make sure you have scrap paper, pencils and your calculator next to your computer before you begin.
  • Types of questions: The exam is a set of approximately 40 multiple-choice questions. They start from basic arithmetic, then progress to algebra 1 and 2 and trigonometry similar to standard high school classes. It is not expected that everyone can answer all questions. Answer as many as you can.
  • Should I guess? It is best to limit guessing to problems in which you can eliminate all but two choices. In general, a student will get the most accurate course placement if he or she does not guess. 

You will take the exam online. In most cases this will be at home before coming to Orientation. You will receive an email from the University with information on how to access the exam. 

We strongly encourage all students to take the exam prior to Orientation. Students who take the exam prior to Orientation will know earlier which level math class to take and will have a wider set of choices of class times at registration. Students who are not able to take the exam before Orientation will be able to take the exam at a designated time during Orientation.

While it is not necessary to prepare for the test, many students like to review some beforehand. For your convenience, we offer sample problems and answers below.

Your math placement level will be available under Placement Results in WebAdvisor within three business days of when your exam was completed. 

If you are in need of any accommodations that allow for extended test-taking time, please contact the Office of Disability Services

It is wise to not wait. Many courses depend on math as a prerequisite. In some majors, your entire degree program may be delayed if you delay math. Also, the longer the time since your last math course, the more difficult it is to remember what you knew. Once we humans start procrastinating it is hard to stop! No special favors are available for students who wait until the senior year and then fail. Math is a requirement at Suffolk because we believe that a college educated person must know some mathematics in order to have any chance at all of understanding the world and its problems. 

During the first meeting of all math classes, instructors spend time discussing the content and prerequisites for the courses. If it turns out that you have chosen the wrong math course it may be possible to move from one class to another during the “Drop-Add Period” (the first week of class). 

You are on your honor when taking the test. You may use paper and pencil to work the problems and a calculator. You should not receive help from others, or use books or other resources such as web sites for help. Your success in a course is unlikely if you are placed above your current ability. 

If you are looking to find your Math or English placements, please follow these instructions:

1. Log into WebAdvisor with your Suffolk University username and password.

2. In WebAdvisor, click on "Students Menu," then click on "Placement Results."

You then will be able to see your Math and English placements.

*Note: It can take up to 3 business days from when you complete your math placement for your score to appear.*

Your score will not be emailed to you.

Instructions with Screen Shots [PDF]