Accuplacer Placement Test
Northwestern uses the Accuplacer for placement prior to enrollment. Students who have an ACT subtest score of 18 or lower in English, science, math, or reading must take the Accuplacer in the corresponding area. The test determines placement in the appropriate courses; the complete placement policy is given in the Undergraduate Catalog.
- The Accuplacer is given on the computer.
- There are four separate tests: WritePlacer, Elementary Algebra, Reading Comprehension, and Arithmetic.
- Tests are not timed. They contain from 12 to 20 questions each and can take 20 minutes or more to complete.
- Placement testing is scheduled through the Recruitment Office. Before taking the placement test, students must fill out an application for admission, pay the application fee, and take the ACT.
- The WritePlacerTest consists of a prompt for an essay. The prompt is a short passage and a question that are focused on an important issue. The essay is written online and scored automatically.
- The Elementary Algebra Test includes three different types of questions. The first involves operations with integers and rational numbers, the second type involves operations with algebraic expressions, and the third type involves the solutions of equations, inequalities, and word problems.
- The Reading Comprehension Test includes two types of questions. The first type involves identifying main and supporting ideas and drawing inferences from a reading passage. The second type involves answering questions about the relationship between two sentences, whether they support, repeat, or contradict each other.
- The Arithmetic Test includes three different types of questions. The first involves operations with numbers and fractions, the second type involves operations with decimals and percents, and the third type involves applications and problem solving.
We encourage students to review before taking the placement test. Click the links below for sample questions in each area.
Accuplacer Scores & Course Placement
Accuplacer scores and course placement will be given to students at the time of testing.
Students may retake the Accuplacer test one time, subject to the following conditions:
- There is a waiting period of at least 30 days after initial testing.
- Re-testing must be completed before the start of the semester.
- There is a $10.00 fee for each session of re-testing
We recommend that students review and practice before retesting.
For more information on the Accuplacer test visit the website:
Review information and sample questions are available for free under "Resources." You can also purchase an iPhone study app through the website.
If you have questions or want to schedule a test, call the Recruitment Office at (580) 327-8546 or the Academic Success Center at (580) 327-8149.