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Beginning Algebra: Math 97-98



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 non-negative 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:

Allen R. Angel with A. Calhoun and D. Petrie.
Elementary Algebra For College Students , 7th edition
Pearson Education, Inc. 2007.

Math 97 and 98 Beginning Algebra Placement Scores

Below 12 Take Basic Math Placement Test
13-18 Math 94
19-39 Math 97
40 or above Math 98

Revised November, 2008