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Diagnostic exams

Newly admitted students are required to take diagnostic exams prior to beginning coursework in the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre. Click below to learn about the requirements and how to complete the exams.

Undergraduate students

Undergraduate students

Music Theory Diagnostic Exam

All entering students are required to take the Music Theory Diagnostic Exam by June 1 to determine whether the student has sufficient knowledge to begin the required music theory coursework. The electronic exam is administered online and takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Students who do not take the exam by June 1 will receive a Music Academic Affairs Hold on My ASU. Students who do not attempt and complete the diagnostic exam will be required to register for MUS 100 Fundamentals of Music Notation in the first semester and will not be able to take MTC 125 Basic Music Theory until the subsequent fall semester.

A score of 70 or higher is required to pass the exam. Students who do not pass are required to take and pass a tuition–free online summer theory course (with a grade of C or better) before being permitted to begin the MTC 125 Basic Music Theory course in the fall.

Online Music Theory Diagnostic Exam Link

Piano Diagnostic Exam

All undergraduate degrees in music require students to demonstrate piano skills.

  • If you have very little or no piano experience, you do not need to take the Piano Diagnostic Exam, but should register for MUP 131. 
  • If you are transferring to ASU as a music major with prior class or private piano on your transcript, you must take a Piano Diagnostic Exam at the beginning of your first semester at ASU to determine which level of class piano is most appropriate to complete your degree requirements.
  • If you are an entering freshman who has piano experience, you should take the Piano Diagnostic Exam at the beginning of your first semester.
  • Keyboard majors are not required to take Class Piano and should not take the Piano Diagnostic Exam.

After the exam, you may be placed into any of the levels of the class piano curricula, or you may be sufficiently advanced to have all of the Class Piano requirements waived.

The exam is administered during the first week of classes each semester via an in-person appointment with Prof. Hannah Creviston or via video link. To set up an appointment or for more information on the requirements or submitting a video link, please contact

Download Class Piano Placement Requirements (updated 06/20)

Math Placement Exam

If you need to take any math classes at ASU, you must take the Math Placement Test in order to register for a math course and to determine the appropriate math course that matches your skill level. The test can be taken online at the Math Placement website.  You may take the exam a maximum of two (2) times, and your score determines your placement in a math class your first semester.

If you have passed a college–level math course with a grade of C or higher, you are not required to take the math placement exam, but you must bring a copy of your unofficial transcript to your orientation session and submit a final, official copy of your college transcript to:

Arizona State University
Undergraduate Admissions
PO Box 870112
Tempe, AZ 85287–0112

English Placement Exam

If you did not take the ACT or SAT test or if you are not transferring an English composition course from another institution, you may have to take the English placement test – Accuplacer.

For more information on testing, visit University Testing Services.

Graduate students

Graduate students

All students admitted to graduate degree programs in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre are required to take online graduate diagnostic exams in music theory and history. While results of the exams are advisory only, you may not enroll for classes until you have taken all the exams. The results of these diagnostic exams are made available to your faculty advisor, with whom you should consult to determine appropriate history and theory studies. The Graduate Diagnostic Exam Hold on your account will be removed after you have completed all diagnostic exams. Allow up to three business days for this hold to disappear, after which you may enroll for classes.

Access the online Graduate Diagnostic Exam Portal at:

Click on the link above to take the Graduate Diagnostic Exams in the exam portal, which includes complete instructions for taking the exams on a computer with internet access. Review notes to assist you in preparing for the exams are posted below.

Students are advised to complete diagnostic exams by May 15, as some graduate music courses fill early and faculty generally have greater availability for advising before the summer.

Music Theory Exam Areas Tested | Review Notes

  • Aural skills
  • Form
  • Analytical skills: 19th-century music
  • Analytical skills: 20th-century music

Music History Exam Areas Tested | Review Notes

  • Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque music
  • Classic, Romantic and 20th-century music