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, foreign language, and English Placement Testing for Non-Native Speakers of English (EPT-NNSE).

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 below, 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 and math tests. Please check the list of majors for those that require the chemistry exam to test out of the first level of chemistry. 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. Please note that chemistry placement testing is unique to UW-Milwaukee and is not offered via Regional testing or computer-based testing.

UW-Milwaukee has a General Education Requirement for foreign language. Under UWM’s general education requirements, all undergraduate students must take the equivalent of 1 year of college-level foreign language instruction in the same language in order to earn an undergraduate degree. This requirement can be met in a number of ways, such as having studied two years of the same language in high school, taking two semesters of the same language at UWM, or placing in a higher level foreign language class at UWM and earning retro credits for preceding courses. Some degrees, however, have greater foreign language requirements. For example, all of the Bachelor of Arts programs in the College of Letters and Science require, at a minimum, the equivalent of four semesters of the same language or three semesters of one language and two semesters of another. Please 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.

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. Please note that students placing out of the first semester of a language course may be eligible for retro-credits upon completion of that UWM course. For example, if you place into the third semester of a foreign language and complete that course with a grade of B or better, you may be eligible to also get credit for semesters one and two of that language.

English Placement Testing for Non-Native Speakers of English is available at our UWM New Freshman placement testing sessions. Please see the information further down the page regarding ESL testing for more information.

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 Regional Testing?

If you test at UW-Milwaukee during New Freshman Placement Testing, you will 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 English Placement Testing for Non-Native Speakers of English (EPT-NNSE) tests are offered at UW Milwaukee. These designated test dates are open only to students admitted to UW-Milwaukee.

Testing at a Regional location, including dates that UWM hosts Regional testing, will allow you to take the UW-System placement tests at a site and/or date that is more convenient for you. Regional testing is open to students admitted to any UW school. Placement testing is available at several UW campuses and in the Twin Cities (Washburn HS) and Chicago (College of DuPage) 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 English Placement Testing for Non-Native Speakers of English (EPT-NNSE) tests are not offered during Regional testing, which includes UW-Milwaukee’s Regional dates. The chemistry test and English Placement Testing for Non-Native Speakers of English (EPT-NNSE) are only offered at UW-Milwaukee on non-regional test dates.

Please Note: UW-Milwaukee will host regional testing but will not offer the chemistry tests or English Placement Testing for Non-Native Speakers of English (EPT-NNSE) on those 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.

It is important to note that it takes UW-Milwaukee 2-3 weeks to receive test results from regional testing sessions, including regional testing held at UW-Milwaukee. Because you are required to have test results on file prior to registering for your New Student Orientation date, you will be able to register for orientation sooner if you test at UWM on our New Freshman placement testing dates.

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?

We offer an English Placement Test for Non-Native Speakers of English (EPT-NNSE). If you grew up speaking a language other than English, you should take this test. As a non-native writer of English, you can complete your English writing requirement by taking English for Academic Purposes (EAP) writing courses instead of the writing courses designed for native speakers of English. The support provided in the EAP writing courses can also help you do better in all of your university 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 for native speakers 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. You can complete the English Placement Test for Non-Native Speakers of English (EPT-NNSE) at any UWM New Freshman placement testing date. 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 program for non-native speakers of English, please contact Brooke Haley at

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. 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.
  2. You can register to take the placement tests via computer at a testing center near your home. Testing sites are located across the country and around the globe. The fee for computer based testing is $80-100. For more information on computer-based testing or to register please visit
  3. 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. Computer based tests are only administered at designated computer testing centers (not at home or remotely) and require registration and payment.

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. It takes 2-3 weeks for UW-Milwaukee to receive test results completed via computer-based testing. You will receive your results at your New Student Orientation.

Will a confirmation be sent to me once I sign up?

All confirmations are sent via email; we do not send any confirmation letters by mail. 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 is the closest public parking option to all testing locations at UW-Milwaukee. It is located at 2200 E Kenwood Blvd. Cost is $2.00/hour for the initial 2 hours; $1/hour thereafter, and payment is made when exiting the structure. Mellencamp Hall is located next door (east) of the Union, and Bolton Hall is behind the Union. Please note that Bolton Hall does not face the street. Drop off/pick up for Bolton Hall is available in front of the Union.

Other public parking lots and garages are available around campus. Some require pre-payment for parking upon entry. Please visit for additional parking options.

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you check your test registration and/or email confirmation to verify your testing location. Testing locations vary by date. Please ensure that you allow enough time to find your test location if you are getting dropped off, or allow extra time if you need to park your car and walk to your testing room. Late arrivals will not be admitted to testing rooms.

***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.***

Parking payment can be made via cash or card. There is no limit for the length of time you may park in the parking structures however street parking time is limited. Please note that once testing starts, you will not be allowed to leave the room to move your car or plug a parking meter so do not park on the street.

Please heed posted parking restrictions. Some parking spaces and lots are reserved for faculty, staff, students or other university personnel. Parking enforcement on campus is very strict, and parking tickets are issued regularly.

What is the agenda for the day?

Please refer to your test confirmation for your check in time and testing location.

Agenda for UWM New Freshman Placement Testing (not Regional or computer based testing):

  • Check-in and room assignments (check in times vary by date, please check your confirmation email)
  • Math test (90 min)
  • Announcements and Break (10 min)
  • English test (90 min) – options for both native and non-native speakers
  • Information from Financial Aid, New Student Orientation, and Housing
  • Break (30 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

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 multiple food options. 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 your $150 confirmation deposit, 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 receive your card at your New Student Orientation session.

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.   Confirmation Deposit – You must pay your $150 confirmation deposit to confirm your intent to enroll at UWM.


  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 $150 confirmation deposit and University Housing paperwork (either your housing contract and $100 housing deposit if living on campus or approved exemption paperwork if living at home) 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?

We recommend that you complete placement testing even if you have taken AP/IB courses. You are permitted to use whichever scores, your AP/IB or placement, place you higher when choosing your courses so it is to your benefit to complete placement testing.

Scores from AP/IB tests completed in May arrive at UW-Milwaukee in August. Because you might attend Orientation and register for courses prior to UWM receiving your AP/IB results, course availability 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 if you have not completed a placement test. You can use your placement scores to register for classes while at Orientation and we will still honor the credit and/or placement you earn via AP/IB when those scores arrive on campus. Please notify your advisor at Orientation that you have taken AP/IB courses.

You can search UW-Milwaukee’s AP and IB score acceptance on the UW Help website.

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.

Am I allowed to retest?

UW-Milwaukee allows retests within the guidelines of our retest policy.  Please read our policy to see if you qualify to retest.

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