Placement Testing

Placement tests are high stake exams that determine what courses you can take at college in certain academic areas.  The most commonly tested areas are mathematics, reading and writing.

Colleges use the results of these tests to determine in which courses you will be allowed to enroll.  If your placement test results do not meet a pre-defined level of proficiency then you might be required to take a course or courses that are considered remedial or developmental.

Remedial or developmental courses often to not count toward college graduation requirements and can impact Pennsylvania financial aid grant levels.

To avoid being placed into a remedial or developmental class a student should prepare for the placement testing process.

Learn which placement tests that you will be required to take.  They should be listed on the college’s website.  These are usually scheduled during the spring of your senior year or during an orientation visit to campus.

Review materials for the tests

If you are taking mathematics placement tests, find review materials for all the mathematics courses that you have taken in high school.  There is no need to try to learn new materials however it is important that you review your decimals, fractions, geometry and algebra.  If you have had calculus or pre-calculus, review these topics also.

For English, practice writing a short, well developed essay.  Check the college’s website for any guidance on the criteria that will be used to score the essay.  Often the essay will be evaluated on such skills as:

  • Organization
  • Idea development
  • Sentence structure
  • Grammar
  • Word choice
  • Punctuation and spelling

Arrive early on testing day and get a good night’s sleep before the testing.  Results from this test will impact the number of courses that will be required for you to graduate, the amount of time that you will need to spend in college and the overall cost of your college education.  If you need special accommodations, self-identify to the college prior to the placement testing day

Take the time to prepare for this important, high stakes test.