University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know which tests I need to schedule? All freshmen are required to complete placement testing in math and English. You will automatically be signed up for both of these tests when you register. Optional testing is available in chemistry and foreign language.

Some majors require that you complete the chemistry placement exam if you wish to test into a higher level of chemistry. Please check the list of majors for those that require the chemistry exam to test out of the first level of chemistry. If you are a non-science major, you will not need to complete the chemistry placement test. If you plan to major in the sciences, health sciences, nursing, or engineering and your major appears on the list of majors referenced above, you are only required to complete the chemistry test if you want to try to test out of the first level of chemistry (Chemistry 100). If you plan to start in the first level of chemistry, you are not required to complete the chemistry test. If you would like to start your chemistry studies above Chemistry 100 in Chemistry 101, 102, or 105, you must place sufficiently in the chemistry test or pass Chemistry 100. Student preparation for this test is assumed to include at least one full year of high school chemistry and one full year of high school algebra.

UW-Milwaukee has a General Education Requirement for foreign language. If you have met this requirement then foreign language placement testing is optional. If you plan to continue your studies in French, German or Spanish you should take the foreign language placement test. Students planning to pursue a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree through the College of Letters and Science may be required to complete foreign language coursework beyond the University's General Education Requirement. Please check the list of majors that fall under the B.A. requirements to determine if you need to take the foreign language placement test. Click here for more information on the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements. It is recommended that students pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Letters and Science consider taking a foreign language placement exam in the language they studied in high school.

How do I register for placement testing? Placement testing is scheduled online. You will need to activate your ePantherID and password at before you can register for your placement testing at UW Milwaukee. Remember your password as you'll need this when you sign up for testing and anytime you log into your PAWS account (Panther Access to Web Services).
To register for New Freshman Placement Testing at UWM, go to
To register for Regional testing or computer based testing, go to

What is the difference between testing at UW-Milwaukee's New Freshman Placement testing or at another campus' Regional Testing? If you test at UW-Milwaukee during New Freshman Placement Testing, you will have your photo taken for your UWM campus ID, hear from representatives from Testing and Orientation, have your questions answers by a financial aid representative, and move forward in the enrollment process more quickly. English, math, foreign language, chemistry, and ESL-PIC (English as a Second Language) tests are offered at UW Milwaukee.

Testing at a Regional location will allow you to take the UW-System placement tests at a site more convenient for you. If you are admitted for the fall semester and do not live in the Milwaukee area, placement testing is available at other UW campuses on several weekends during the spring and summer. Registration for regional testing begins February 1st. English, math and foreign language are available through Regional testing. The chemistry and ESL-PIC (English as a Second Language) tests are not offered during Regional testing, which includes UW-Milwaukee’s Regional dates. The chemistry test and ESL-PIC are only offered at UW-Milwaukee on non-regional test dates.

Please Note: UW-Milwaukee will host regional testing for students attending other UW schools and will not offer the chemistry and ESL PIC placement tests on these particular dates. UW-Milwaukee students are welcome to test on these days but will only be able to complete the tests offered on those days which include math, English, and foreign language.

Why is the chemistry test only offered at UW-Milwaukee on non-regional test dates? The chemistry placement test is unique to UW-Milwaukee and is not required at any other university. Because of this, it is only offered at UW-Milwaukee on the New Freshman Placement dates that are only open to UW-Milwaukee students.

What if English is not my first language? If you grew up speaking a language other than English, you can take the English as a Second Language Place in Composition (ESL-PIC) test. As an ESL (English as a Second Language) student, you can complete your English writing requirement by taking ESL writing courses instead of the writing courses designed for native English speakers. The ESL writing courses can also help you do better in all of your college courses. The placement test consists of a 50-minute essay and a 25-minute reading comprehension test, for a total of 75 minutes. You may use a print dictionary for this test, but electronic dictionaries are not allowed. This test can be taken in place of the English placement test and is offered at each of our UWM new freshmen testing sessions. If you register for a UWM new freshman testing session, you will not need a separate registration for this test. This test is not offered at regional testing sessions (including regional testing dates at UWM) or via computer based testing. If you have questions about our ESL program, please contact

I live out of state; what are my best testing options? We understand that living far from Milwaukee can make attending testing and New Student Orientation more difficult so we have outlined some options below.
  1. We have set up two events this summer on June 26-28, 2014 and July 23-25, 2014 where you can complete your placement tests on the first day and attend a New Student Orientation on the second and third days. Because both testing and a two day New Student Orientation are mandatory for all incoming freshmen, this will allow you to attend both testing and orientation in one trip to campus. For more information and to register for one of these events, please visit
  2.  If you live near a UW school, Chicago, or Minneapolis, you can register for one of the free paper-based regional testing sessions at these locations. Testing locations outside of Wisconsin and near the state borders fill up quickly so please visit as soon as possible to register for a testing date. 
  3. You can register to take the placement tests via computer at a testing center near your home. Testing sites are located across the country. The fee for computer based testing is $40 plus a proctoring fee to the testing site. For more information on computer-based testing or to register please visit
  4. You are always welcome to join us at UWM for one of our New Freshman Placement dates. You can take some time to visit campus, check out the city and meet with faculty or advisors in your area of study!
What is the difference between paper based testing (PBT) and computer based testing (CBT)? The paper and computer based tests are the same tests that are administered in a different format. The choice of how you complete your exams is yours based on your preference of exam format, location, cost, and convenience. The questions are the same, they are presented in the same order, and the timing is the same. The format of the questions may be slightly different as required for display on a computer screen, but we have done our best to make them appear as similar as possible. You will be allowed to bring your own non-graphing calculator regardless of whether you take the test on paper or on a computer, but the computer based version will also offer an on-screen scientific calculator for use during the math exam. Scores will be reported to campuses in the same way for paper and computer based tests.

Will I see my results immediately if I take the test on the computer? No. After your exams are completed, they will be transmitted to the UW System Center for Placement Testing and then to UW Milwaukee. You will receive your results at your New Student Orientation.

Will a confirmation be sent to me once I sign up? We do not send any confirmation letters by mail so print or write down the time and location for your specific test date. If you are registering for UWM New Freshman Placement testing and included an email address on your UWM application, you will be sent a confirmation email to the email address you listed on your application. If you are registering for Regional or computer based testing and include an email address in your registration, you will be sent a confirmation email to the email address you used to register.

What do I need to bring with me on the day of testing?
  • Photo Identification
  • #2 pencils
  • Non-graphing calculator
  • Your Campus ID Number (located in your testing letter)
Where should I park? The Union parking structure, located on the south side of campus off of Kenwood Blvd., offers parking at $1.25 per hour. When parking in the Union structure you will receive a ticket when you enter the structure and will pay for parking as you exit the structure. Payment can be made with cash or credit card; Visa and Discover are accepted. If your testing appointment is located in either Mellencamp Hall at the Testing Center or in Bolton Hall, this parking structure is the closest.

The Pavillion parking structure, located on the northeast side of campus, provides parking for $0.85 per hour. When parking in the Pavillion structure, you will have to pre-pay through a pay station machine immediately after parking your car. Machines are located throughout the parking structure. Pay stations accept cash and credit card (Visa and Discover). The Pavillion structure contains five levels and public parking is available on levels 1-3. You will enter on the top level and proceed down through the levels to find a space. When searching for a parking space, be sure to proceed all the way down through the structure before determining that the structure is full.

Please be aware that parking structures on campus may fill so allow extra time for parking in case your first choice for parking is not available. There is no limit for the length of time you may park in the parking structures however, you will find that most of the limited street parking available around campus has one to two hour time limits. Please note that once testing starts, you will not be allowed to leave the room to move your car or plug a parking meter. Please heed posted parking restrictions. Some parking spaces and outdoor parking lots are reserved for faculty, staff, students or other university personnel. Be aware that parking enforcement is very strict on campus, and parking tickets are issued regularly.

What is the agenda for the day? Please refer to your test confirmation for your check in time.

Agenda for UWM New Freshman Placement Testing:
  • Check-in and room assignments
  • Photo taken for Campus ID
  • Math test (90 min)
  • Announcements and Break (10 min)
  • English test (90 min)
  • Break (30-45 minutes) for those completing additional tests or dismissal for others
  • Foreign language (60 min)
  • Chemistry (55 min) Only offered at UW-Milwaukee on non-regional test dates
  • ESL-PIC (75 min) Only offered at UW-Milwaukee on non-regional test dates
Approximate test completion times:
  • 12:30pm Students completing math and English only
  • 2:15pm Students completing one optional placement test
  • 3:15pm Students completing two optional placement tests
Agendas for Regional testing and computer based testing can be found at

Are there places to eat on break? The UW Milwaukee Student Union has food options throughout the year but limited options during UWM's Spring break. Vending machines are located in all buildings. You may want to bring your own snacks or lunch if you are staying for any of the optional testing. Open food and drinks are not allowed in the testing room so please make sure you have everything inside a bag or other container.

Is there a benefit to testing early? Are there any deadlines for testing? The earlier you complete your required placement tests, pay $100 toward your $235 New Freshman Fee, and complete your housing information, the sooner you are able to sign up for New Student Orientation and have a better chance of getting the classes you want. Completing these steps by the priority deadline of May1st (December 15th for Spring admits) ensures that you will have the best selection of testing and orientation dates and the best chance of receiving your preferred room type in the residence halls.

When will I find out how I did on the tests? Your advisor will go over your scores and placement with you when you attend your New Student Orientation session.

When will I get my Campus ID card? You will have your photo taken for your Campus ID card when you attend New Freshman Placement Testing at UW-Milwaukee, and you will receive your card at your New Student Orientation session. If you test at another UW campus or other location, you can obtain your Campus ID in Mellencamp Hall Room 274 during regular business hours or when you come to New Student Orientation.

I've taken my tests; can I register for classes now? You still have a few things to do before you are able to register for classes. You will register for classes when you attend your NSO (New Student Orientation) but in addition to testing, you must complete BOTH items below before you will be invited to register for your NSO.

  1. New Freshman Fee – You must pay $100 toward your $235 New Freshman Fee. Paying the $100 confirms your intention to enroll at UWM. The remaining $135 of your New Freshman Fee will be due by the first day of classes.

  2. University Housing Paperwork - You will need to turn in either your University Housing Contract with the $100 Housing Contract Deposit if you are living in a UWM Residence Hall; OR complete a Housing Exemption Form if you are living at home or with a relative. Remember all UWM freshmen are required to live in campus housing unless they have an approved exemption form. Please visit the Housing webpage for more information on housing options and exemptions.
Once your $100 New Freshman Fee payment and University Housing paperwork (and deposit if living on campus) are received you will be sent information to sign up for New Student Orientation. At your Orientation session you will meet with your advisor, go over your test results, and register for your first semester classes among other exciting things!

If I have taken AP or IB courses, do I still need to take the placement tests? Since placement testing begins much earlier than AP/IB results are received, it is highly recommended that you complete your required placement tests. Depending on your results, you may place into a higher course by completing the placement tests. Also, course availability in English and math may be limited by the time your AP/IB credits are evaluated. If your AP/IB results are not received by the time you attend New Student Orientation, you will not be able to register for those courses. In that case, you must notify your advisor at Orientation that you have taken AP or IB courses.

How do I acquire accommodations for testing? If you require non-standard testing conditions, please refer to the guidelines for Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

What if I am not sure which UW System school I will be attending? All UW System schools use the same placement tests for math, English, and foreign language. If you are unsure at the time of testing which school you will attend or change your mind after completing the tests, simply notify the testing center or admissions office of the school you will be enrolling at, and they will be able to locate your scores. The chemistry and ESL-PIC tests are unique to UW-Milwaukee and must be completed at UW-Milwaukee on a non-regional testing date. These tests are not offered via computer based testing or on Regional testing dates at any location including UW-Milwaukee.

Who should I contact for answers to my other question(s)? Sarah Perkins
New Freshman Testing Coordinator