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College of Arts and Sciences School of Music

Music Theory Placement Exam

(Download a PDF of this information)

All incoming music students must qualify for enrollment in MUS 251 (Materials and Structures of Music I, which is the first semester of the music theory course sequence). This is done by receiving a grade C or better in one of the following:
  • Connect4Education OnMusic Fundamentals placement exam ($10, details below);
  • Connect4Education OnMusic Fundamentals online course ($100, details below);
  • WSU course MUS 151 (offered on campus fall and spring, and online in summer session II).


To take the connect4education online diagnostic exam ($10):
  1. Go to
  2. Click on the link for “OnMusic Fundamentals – Placement Exam.” Follow the prompts to check out.
  3. Once your payment is processed you will receive an email with a serial number and directions to log on to the student portal. The exam will be listed as the Spring 2018 “MUS-251-01 Materials and Structures of Music I.”


To take the connect4education OnMusicFundamentals online course ($100):

This full course costs $99.95, and is not for university credit (i.e., it will not appear on your university transcript).

  1. Go to
  2. Click on the link for “OnMusic Fundamentals Third Edition.”
  3. The course will be listed as the Spring 2018 offering of “WSU Music Theory Preparation FULL COURSE.”
To take MUS 151 Music Fundamentals online for university credit, contact the Registrar’s office.




What is on the connect4education diagnostic exam?

The online exam consists of 175 multiple-choice questions and must be completed within 105 minutes. It includes questions that will test your knowledge on the following subjects:

  • Reading pitches in bass and treble clefs;
  • Reading and understanding rhythmic note & rest values, and both simple & compound meters;
  • Building and/or identifying written triads—major, minor, diminished, augmented;
  • Building and/or recognizing written major scales, the three minor scales, and major and minor key signatures;
  • Aural interval, triad quality, and scale (major and minor) recognition.


How should I prepare for the online exam?

If you feel that you have a basic knowledge of this information but would like some review, you are encouraged to use the following websites to practice both written and aural skills.

  • com: the exercises area of this website contains drills for building and identifying intervals, scales, chords, and key signatures, as well as practice reading a variety of clefs.
  • net: the exercises area of this website has a variety of drills for identifying notes on both the staff and the keyboard, as well as recognition of key signatures, intervals, and chords.

Both sites have lessons and tutorials that present fundamentals information in a simple, easy to read format.


What happens if I do not pass the online exam?

If you do not earn 70% or better on the diagnostic exam, you have three options:

  • You may retake the exam ONE time at no extra cost. Make sure you have reviewed the material before retaking the exam. To retake the exam, contact Dr. Scott Blasco ( to have your first score reset.
  • You may take the Connect4Education OnMusic Fundamentals full online course, or WSU’s online MUS 151 course. Earning a C or better on either will exempt you from the online diagnostic exam requirement, and will qualify you for entrance to MUS 251 in the fall.
  • You may also wait until the WSU school year begins and take MUS 151 in either the fall or spring semester. As with the online version, earning a C or better will exempt you from the online diagnostic exam requirement, and will qualify you for entrance to MUS 251. It is important to understand that this will delay your progress in the core theory courses by a year, which may affect some students’ ability to complete the music major in four years.


For questions about or assistance with the diagnostic/qualification process, registering for the for-credit online summer offering of MUS 151, or related issues with preparing for music theory study at WSU, please contact Dr. Scott Blasco at


Washington State University