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Assessment: Discover your academic skills

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College assessment tests measure your academic knowledge and skills and take the guesswork out of choosing courses at the right level. You might find out that you are ready for higher-level courses in some areas, or need more preparation in other areas. Your assessment results help you know where to begin in your college career.

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Studying pays off

Placing into higher level courses will save time and money, so review basic skills in English and math prior to your assessment date. This includes reading comprehension, vocabulary, grammar, sentence construction, arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. Ask a counselor where to access sample tests and online resources.

Test format and question types

Even if you know the subject matter well, you should still familiarize yourself with the question types. Find out if the test is timed, if you can skip questions, and if you can go back to previous questions. Ask if calculators are permitted, and if not, practice math skills without one.

Difficulty levels

If you can choose what level of test to take, don’t take one that is too easy. Not all college courses count toward degree or certificate requirements, and being placed in a lower-level course you don’t need will increase the number of courses you will have to take overall, costing you more time and money.

Testing day

Schedule your assessment at a time when you don’t have other obligations so you won’t feel rushed. Get enough sleep the night before, and eat a snack beforehand so you stay energized and focused. Find out beforehand what you will need to bring, such as a photo ID and student ID number.

Assessment results

Assessments are not graded and you cannot “fail.” The results simply show what courses are right for you. If you need more preparation, it’s better to address these gaps during your first year in college, before they affect your overall college success. If you don’t get the results you hope for, ask if you can take the test again later.

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