Academics » Academic Departments » Math Department
Math Placement
The mathematics department at Whatcom has designed these Placement Tests to assist students and advisors in placing students new to Whatcom in their first mathematics course at the College. To schedule an appointment or for more information on the placement process, please visit the placement testing website.
At the moment, “Practice Tests” with specific problems for prospective Whatcom Community College students are not available. However, lists of skills that appear on specific WCC Math Placement Tests are outlined below. Please select a test below for more information.
The following free websites are provided for students who wish to review their math skills before attempting a Placement Test:
 Math TV
Videos (Basic Math to Calculus)
When you reach the Math TV homepage, select lectures from menu in the left panel.
 SAT Practice Tests Solved (Khan Academy)
Videos related to SAT Practice Test Solutions.

Math Lectures (Khan Academy)
Videos (Basic Math to Calculus and above)
Scroll down to math topics when you reach the homepage.
 Whatcom Elementary and Intermediate Algebra Support Materials
Links to outside resources based around Whatcom's MATH 979899 curriculum. Assembled by Nathan Hall, mathematics faculty.
The links above contain information from independent websites that are not associated with Whatcom Community College.
FAQs

Basic Math (MATH 94 or below)
INFORMATION FOR BASIC MATHEMATICS ASSESSMENT
1. Students will be given the Math Placement Survey. On the basis of the answers to the survey, the student will be given the opportunity to take the Basic Math: Math 94 or below Placement Test.
2. A student may retake the Placement Test only once. Please check with advising regarding when the test may be retaken.
3. Students MAY NOT:
a). Take the placement test after having completed a math class at Whatcom.
b). Take the placement test as an attempt to place in the next course after having failed to achieve a grade of C or better in Math 94 or lower.
c). Use the Placement Test as a Course Challenge.
4. Students will have 60 minutes to complete 40 questions. The test will be available either in a group setting or in the testing center. Please contact Educational Services Advisors regarding either option. Students should contact the testing center regarding dates and times the testing center is open.
5. NO CALCULATOR will be allowed on this exam.
6. Upon completion of the exam, all scratch paper and score sheets will be collected from the student.
To be successful on the Basic Math Placement Test, the student should be competent in: Basic Math Operations: adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, raising to a power.
 Adding several numbers with different digits.
 Working with the order of operations to simplify an arithmetic problem involving whole numbers (without a calculator).
 Working with the order of operations to simplify an arithmetic problem involving fractions (without a calculator).
 Applying math operation concepts to application problems.
 Working with money.
 Dividing a five digit number by a two digit number (without a calculator).
 Dividing and/or multiplying a two, three, four, five, or six digit number by a power of 10.
 Multiplying a four digit number by a two digit number (without a calculator).
 Dividing one fraction by another fraction.
 Subtracting a mixed number from either a whole number and/or another mixed number.
 Multiply a mixed number by either another mixed number or a whole number.
 Working with percentages.
 Calculating the percentage of a number (without a calculator).
 Change a fraction into a percentage (without a calculator).
 Change a percentage into a fraction and reduce.
 Apply percentages to application problems.
 Rewriting a number in "expanded form".
 Determining if a number is a prime number or not.
 Rounding a number (either to ones, tens, hundreds, thousands, millions, ten millions, or hundred millions).
 Estimating the decimal equivalent of a fraction.
 List three, four, or five decimal numbers in order from smallest to largest.
 Calculating the average of several numbers.
 Determining the least common multiple of three, four, or five whole numbers.
 Determine if one fraction is greater than (or less than) another fraction.
 Determine if one fraction is equal to another fraction.
 Working with ratios and proportions.
 Introductory Mathematics: Concepts with Applications, by Charles P. McKeague
 Below 7  ABE Referral
 817  ABE 20
 1827  MATH 92
 2840  MATH 94

Beginning Algebra (MATH 9798)
INFORMATION FOR BEGINNING ALGEBRA ASSESSMENT
1. Students will be given the Math Placement Survey. On the basis of the answers to the survey, the student will be given the opportunity to take the Math 97 and 98 Beginning Algebra Placement Test.
2. A student may retake the Placement Test only once. Please check with Educational Services Advisors regarding when the test may be retaken.
3. Students MAY NOT:
a). Take the placement test after having completed a math class at Whatcom.
b). Take the placement test as an attempt to place in the next course after having failed to achieve a grade of C or better in Math 97 or 98.
c). Use the Placement Test as a Course Challenge.
4. Students will have 60 minutes to complete 50 questions. The test will be available either in a group setting or in the testing center. Please contact Educational Services Advisors regarding either option. Students should contact the testing center regarding dates and times the testing center is open.
5. NO CALCULATOR will be allowed on this exam.
6. Upon completion of the exam, all scratch paper and score sheets will be collected from the student.To be successful on the Beginning Algebra Placement Test, the student should be competent in:
 Applying basic arithmetic operations (adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing) to an application problem.
 Working with signed numbers.
 Working with the order of operations: adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, raising to a power.
 Working with the distributive law both simplifying variable expressions and solving equations.
 Working with such grouping symbols as parentheses ( ) or brackets [ ] or both [ ( ) ].
 Recognizing fractional parts of a diagram.
 Multiplying mixed numbers.
 Estimating the answer to an arithmetic problem involving large numbers.
 Estimating the answer to an arithmetic problem involving fractions.
 Ordering three or four numbers on the number line.
 Determining which of several numbers is larger (or smaller) than the others.
 Working with and/or determining percentages.
 Applying percentages to an application problem.
 Working with ratios and proportions.
 Working with fractions.
 Rewriting a fraction as a decimal.
 Working with decimal numbers.
 Determining the "best buy" or the "least expensive" item among several items for sale.
 Interpreting information from a table, graph, or chart.
 Determining an average.
 Calculating the perimeter and/or area of either a rectangle, square, triangle, parallelogram or combination of shapes.
 Given the perimeter and/or area of either a rectangle, square, triangle, or parallelogram, find a missing measure of the figure.
 Calculating the area of one figure inside another and then removing the smaller area from a larger one. Students should be familar with the area of a rectangle, square, triangle, circle.
 Combining like terms using two or more linear variables.
 Combining like terms using a single variable raised to various powers (exponents) in different terms of the expression.
 Solving a linear equation with the variable either on one side or on both sides of the equals sign.
 Solving an equation involving rational algebraic expressions with the variable either in the numerator, denominator, or both.
 Solving a linear inequality and graphing the solution.
 Recognizing the coordinates of point plotted on a rectangular coordinate system.
 Rewriting a formula for another variable.
 Simplifying variable expressions using several exponent properties.
 Working with negative exponents.
 Rewriting expressions with nonnegative exponents.
 Reducing a rational algebraic expression using exponent properties.
 Replacing one variable in a two variable formula with a value and determining the value of the other variable.
 Replacing both variables in a two variable formula with values and determining the value of the formula.
 Expanding and simplifying a binomial that is squared.
 Factoring (completely) a quadratic polynomial.
Using factoring polynomials to reduce a rational algebraic expression.  Recognizing a equation from the information given in an application problem.
Recommended text to study for the MATH 97 and 98 Beginning Algebra Placement Test: Algebra: A Combined Course, by Charles P. McKeague
 Below 12  Take Basic Math Placement Test
 1318  MATH 94
 1939  MATH 97
 40 or above  MATH 98

Intermediate Algebra (MATH 9899)
INFORMATION FOR INTERMEDIATE ALGEBRA ASSESSMENT
1. Students will be given the Math Placement Survey. On the basis of the answers to the survey, the student will be given the opportunity to take the Math 98 and 99 Intermediate Algebra Placement Test.
2. A student may retake the Placement Test only once. Please check with Educational Services Advisors regarding when the test may be retaken.
3. Students MAY NOT:
a). Take the placement test after having completed a math class at Whatcom.
b). Take the placement test as an attempt to place in the next course after having failed to achieve a grade of C or better in Math 97, 98, or 99.
c). Use the Placement Test as a Course Challenge.
4. Students will have 60 minutes to complete 50 questions. The test will be available either in a group setting or in the testing center. Please contact Educational Services Advisors regarding either option. Students should contact the testing center regarding dates and times the testing center is open.
5. NO CALCULATOR will be allowed on this exam.
6. Upon completion of the exam, all scratch paper and score sheets will be collected from the student.To be successful on the Intermediate Algebra Placement Test, the student should be competent in:
 The order of operations with signed numbers.
 Arithmetic operations using signed numbers: add, subtract, multiply, divide, raise to powers.
 Simplifying numbers raised to powers.
 Working with ratios and proportions.
 Working with the area of a rectangle, a circle, a triangle.
 Reducing a fraction involving integers, variables, or a combination of both.
 Simplifying expressions with variables by combining like terms.
 Using the distributive law to simplify an algebraic expression.
 Solving a linear equation.
 Solving a quadratic equation.
 Solving equations with a variable in either the numerator, denominator, or both.
 Solving a system of linear equations.
 Solving a linear inequality and graphing the solution.
 Simplifying a rational expression using exponent laws.
 Rewriting factors with nonnegative exponents.
 Factoring a quadratic expression.
 Using factoring of polynomials to reduce a rational algebraic expression.
 Using factoring when two algebraic fractions are multiplied or divided.
 Using a formula.
 Expanding a binomial squared.
 Multiplying two binomials and simplifying the result.
 Evaluating expressions with given values for variables.
 Rewriting a formula for a specific variable.
 Writing an equation from the information given in a word problem.
 Identifying the coordinates of a point.
 For a linear equation, determining either the xintercept, the yintercept, or both.
 Matching the graph of a line to its equation.
 Extracting a perfect root from a radical expression.
 Simplifying radical expressions using root and exponent properties.
 Working with numbers that have exponents that are rational and real numbers.
 Rationalizing either the denominator or the numerator of a fraction containing a root.
 Combining two rational algebraic expressions by determining a common denominator.
 Working with function notation.
 Working with complex fractions.
Recommended text to study for the MATH 98 and 99 Intermediate Algebra Placement Test:
 Algebra: A Combined Course, by Charles P. McKeague
 Below 12  Take MATH 97 and 98 Elementary Algebra Placement Test
 1318  MATH 97
 1939  MATH 98
 40 or above  MATH 99

College Level
INFORMATION FOR COLLEGE LEVEL ASSESSMENT
1. Students will be given the Math Placement Survey. On the basis of the answers to the survey, the student will be given the opportunity to take the College Level Math Placement Test.
2. A student may retake the Placement Test only once. It must be retaken after 10 working days of the first time the test was taken.
3. Students MAY NOT:
a). Take the placement test after having completed a math class at Whatcom.
b). Take the placement test as an attempt to place in the next course after having failed to achieve a grade of C or better in MATH& 107, MATH 121,MATH& 141, MATH& 142, MATH 145, MATH& 146, or MATH& 151.
c). Use the Placement Test as a Course Challenge.
4. There are two parts to this test: Part one is Precalculus. Students will have 60 minutes to complete 37 questions. If a student's results make them eligible to take Math 142, they have the option to take an additional 30 minute Calculus test. Students will have 30 minutes to complete 13 questions. See placement levels below.
5. The test will be available in the testing center. Students should be instructed to contact the testing center regarding dates and times the testing center is open.
6. NO CALCULATOR will be allowed on this exam.
7. Upon completion of the exam, all scratch paper and score sheets will be collected from the student
To be successful on the College Level Math Placement Test, the student should be competent in:
 Function notation
 Evaluating Functions
 Working with the inverse of a function
 Use of Completing the Square to rewrite an expression in Standard Form
 Solutions of quadratic equations (real and complex)
 Solutions of quadratic inequalities
 Solutions of third degree equations
 Solutions of power/exponential functions
 Solutions of logarithmic equations
 Evaluating logarithmic expressions
 Use of logarithmic laws/properties
 Ascertaining transformations of functions
 Determining the domain and/or range of a function
 Working with Exponential Functions and their Application
 Working with Complex Numbers
 Function Composition
 Identification of centers and/or foci of conics
 Use of Division and Remainder Algorithm
 Working with Asymptotes of Rational Functions
 Working with Matrices
 Factoring over real and complex numbers
 Algebraic Solutions of Systems of Equations
 Determining the Slope between two points on a curve using function notation.
 Simplifying Radical Expressions

You must have a score of 2737 to be eligible to take the Calculus Test. This test is optional and is an additional 30 minutes.
To be successful on the MATH& 151 placement test, the student should be competent in: Definition of Trigonometric Functions
 Solutions of trigonometric functions
 Evaluating Trigonometric Functions without a Calculator
 Knowledge of Pythagorean and of double angle identities
 Evaluation of a function using a table
 Inverse Trigonometric Relationships
 The Period and Amplitude of a trigonometric function
 Application of trigonometry

Recommended texts to study for the College Level Math Placement Test:
 Precalculus: Mathematics for Calculus, 7th edition by Stewart, Redlin, and Watson
 Calculus: Early Transcendentals, 7th edition by James Stewart
 Below 16  Take MATH 98 and 99 Placement Test
 1626  MATH& 107, MATH 121, MATH& 141, MATH 145, or MATH& 146
 2737  MATH& 142
 08  MATH& 142
 913  MATH& 151