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First Steps with the University - Placement Testing

Part of the advisement and registration process includes placing you in classes that match your preparation.  This is especially true in reading and math, two subjects that college students find challenging.  For math, your success will depend in part on which math classes you took in high school and how well you did in them.  For reading, the primary issue is reading at a college level.  You will do a lot more reading in college than you did in high school, and college texts do not always have the study guides found in high school texts.

We use at least two different kinds of placement criteria so that your placement does not depend on just one number.  Your SAT score and high school GPA are two of the placement criteria we use.  For a complete list of the placement criteria we use and what they mean, please visit the following sites:

You will notice that one of the criteria is the "Profile" score.  That refers to the Accuplacer placement test, which was developed by CollegeBoard, the same people who developed the SAT.  Like the SAT, the Accuplacer is a multiple-choice test.  However, the Accuplacer is different.

The Accuplacer website has information about the test and sample questions. We use the Elementary Algebra placement test. (Students hoping to take calculus will take the College Level Math test as well). Please take some time before First Steps to review this material.  The more familiar you are with the test, the better you are likely to do, and the more likely your college classes will be right for you.

You will also have the opportunity to take the Foreign Language placement exam in French or Spanish.  Foreign languages can satisfy core requirements.  They are required by some majors and recommended for many others:

Majors Requiring a Foreign Language*

Chemistry
Communication
English Language and Literature
Forensic Science 

Nursing
Spanish
Theater

*Not necessarily in the first year


Taking the foreign language placement exam will ensure that you are placed into the language course that best fits your level of preparation.

No one likes tests!  However, placement tests are designed to help you get the most out of the courses you take. So take the time to do your best.

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