Accuplacer Placement Tests

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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.

Test Information:

  • 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.

Test Descriptions:

  • 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.

Test Preparation:

We encourage students to review before taking the placement test.  Click the links below for sample questions in each area.

Accuplacer also offers resources for test preparation.

Accuplacer Scores & Course Placement

Accuplacer scores and course placement will be given to students at the time of testing. The complete placement policy is included at the end of this webpage.

Retesting

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.

Test Information

For more information on the Accuplacer test visit the website:
http://accuplacer.collegeboard.org/students.

Review information and sample questions are available for free under "Resources."  You can also purchase an iPhone study app through the website.

Contact Information 

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.


Remedial Education Placement Policy

Students who enter Northwestern with ACT subtest scores of 18 or lower in English, science, math, or reading must remove those deficiencies in one of the following ways:

  1. Re-taking the ACT and scoring 19 or higher in the appropriate subtest. (NOTE: Students may take a residual ACT one time only.)
  2. Achieving the appropriate score on an Accuplacer test.
  3. Successfully completing the appropriate remedial course with a passing grade.

Course placement rules for students taking the Accuplacer test:

Math ACT subscore of 18 or lower

Students with a math subscore of 18 or lower will take the Elementary Algebra test.

  1. If the score on the Elementary Algebra test is less than or equal to 44, then placement is in MATH 0013 Pre-Intermediate Algebra.
  2. If the score on the Elementary Algebra test is greater than or equal to 45 and less than or equal to 74, placement is in MATH 0123 Intermediate Algebra.
  3. If the score on the Elementary Algebra test is greater than or equal to 75, then no remedial math is required.

English ACT subscore of 18 or lower

Students with an English subscore of 17-18 will enroll ENGL 1113 Composition I with simultaneous enrollment in ENGL 1113L Composition I lab.  Students with a subscore below 17 will take the WritePlacer test.

  1. If the score on the WritePlacer test is less than or equal to 3, placement is in ENGL 0125: Writing and Literacy.
  2. If the score on the WritePlacer test is greater than or equal to 4, placement is in ENGL 1113 Composition I with simultaneous enrollment in ENGL 1113L Composition I lab.

Reading ACT subscore of 18 or lower

Students with a reading subscore of 17-18 will enroll in ENGL 1113 Composition I with simultaneous enrollment in ENGL 1113 Composition I lab. Students with a subscore below 17 will take the Reading Comprehension test.

  1. If the score on the Reading Comprehension test is less than or equal to 74, placement is in ENGL 0125 Writing and Literacy.
  2. If the score on the Reading Comprehension test is greater than or equal to 75, placement is in ENGL 1113 Composition I with simultaneous enrollment in ENGL 1113L Composition I lab.

Science ACT subscore of 18 or lower

Students with a science subscore of 18 or lower will take the Arithmetic test.

  1. If the score on the Arithmetic test is less than or equal to 54 OR the score on the Reading Comprehension test is less than or equal to 74, the student is placed on science hold and must enroll in the appropriate remedial course.
  2. If the score on the Arithmetic test is greater than or equal to 55 AND the score on the Reading Comprehension test is greater than or equal to 75, then the student has cleared the remedial science requirement.

Retesting

Students who are placed in any remedial course may re-take placement tests one time after a waiting period of at least thirty days.  A $10.00 testing fee will be assessed for each session of placement testing.  Students may not re-take placement tests after the start of the semester in which they have enrolled for the corresponding remedial course.  Northwestern recommends, but does not require, involvement with some type of remediation before re-testing.

Pre- and Post-Testing

  1. The Accuplacer will be used for both pre-test and post-test scores for all levels of remedial math.  The last administration of the Accuplacer for each student prior to entering a remedial course will serve as the pre-test for that course.
  2. At the end of each remedial math course students will have two opportunities for advancement:
    1. Achieving the specified cut score for the next level of math on the Accuplacer, which will be given to all students at the end of each remedial math class.  This administration of the Accuplacer will also serve as the post-test for that class.
    2. Passing the class.
  3. The Accuplacer will be used only for placement purposes in the English Department, and not as a pre- or post-test.  A student placed in ENGL 0125 Writing and Literacy must pass the course in order to advance.  A student placed in ENGL 1113 Composition I with simultaneous enrollment in ENGL 1113L Comp I lab must pass the combination* with a grade of C or better in order to advance.

* Each student's lab grade will be calculated into his or her final Composition I grade as a percentage designated by the department.