A pencil is laying on top of a UW math course exam paper packet.

Placement test scores help academic advisors learn about your skills and help choose courses at the correct level in each subject.

Placement Testing

Information about placement testing for Spring 2021 and Fall 2021 admits will be posted in the coming months. In the meantime, please review the information below to understand placement testing requirements.

Requirements for SOAR

In order to participate in the SOAR program, students who are required to take a placement test(s) must complete their placement test(s) at least 2 weeks before their SOAR session. The SOAR registration system will require you to confirm that you understand this requirement. However, the SOAR reservation system does not register you for online placement testing.  If you already completed a required test through the UW System, please use our Missing Placement Test Scores report form.

Requirements by Student Type


Math & English: All freshman students are required to complete placement testing in Math and English (or English as a second language: “ESLAT”), regardless of previous coursework, AP, or IB credit.

World Languages: Freshman are strongly encouraged to test in the foreign language they studied in high school, even if they have anticipated AP test credit. Freshman who have previous experience in Spanish, French, or German and who plan to take coursework in this language at UW–Madison, must take a placement test in that language to qualify and enroll in classes beyond the entry level language course. Previous experience may include native speakers and those who have previous coursework in the language. If you are interested in taking a course in another world language, visit the UW-Madison Languages Placement Procedures page for more information. Additionally, many programs have a world language requirement. Be sure to review the UW Undergraduate Guide to determine your degree requirements for world language and consult with your advisor at SOAR.

Transfer Students

Transfer students are informed which placement test(s) they are required to take via email by Credit Evaluation Services in the Office of the Registrar. Information about which test(s) you need to take is also available at the bottom of your Transfer Credit Evaluation, located in your Student Center. If you have any questions regarding your placement testing requirement(s), please contact Credit Evaluation Services at crediteval@registrar.wisc.edu or 608-890-4000.

International Students

Most new international freshman and transfer students are required to take the Madison English as a Second Language Assessment Test (MSN-ESLAT). The ESLAT is used to assess students’ English language skills required for academic work and to place students in appropriate ESL courses. The ESLAT is separate from the TOEFL exam. A TOEFL score does not meet the ESLAT requirement for undergraduate students. If you have any questions regarding the ESLAT, please contact the ESL office at askesl@english.wisc.edu.

Requesting Accommodations Due to Disability

The online placement tests will be untimed and students can adjust the magnification on their browser, so in most cases accommodations will not be necessary. If you have any questions or concerns, please email Tim O’Connor in Testing & Evaluation Services at tnoconno@wisc.edu.