back to top

Assessment Frequently Asked Questions

What Assessment do I need to take?

English is my first language - what assessments do I need to take?

Reading
This assessment measures your ability to understand what you read. You’ll be given a series of paragraphs to read with questions to answer. The results of this assessment will determine your reading and writing readiness.

Math
There are several different mathematics assessments. Arithmetic will measure your ability to perform basic arithmetic problems, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals, and percent's. You’ll also solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts, including rate, measurement, and simple geometry. Elementary Algebra includes questions on operations with integers and rational numbers, operations with algebraic expressions, and solution of equations, inequalities, and word problems. College Level Mathematics is only given to those scoring high on the Elementary Algebra assessment and assesses skills in intermediate algebra through pre-calculus.

Other Assessments
You may take additional assessments if your chosen program requires them. A test of spatial skills is given for many of the Trade programs, and a keyboarding assessment is given for many of the Business programs. Ask at Enrollment Services to find out what additional assessments may be needed.

English is not my first language - what assessments do I need to take?

If English is not your first language, you will take the online ACCUPLACER English as a Second Language (ESL) assessment. The results of the ESL assessment will help determine if English as a Second Language courses are recommended. These computerized assessments assess your skills in reading, writing and listening.

English as a Second Language assessments include reading skills, language usage, sentence meaning and listening and will determine your placement into English as a Second Language courses. For more information ask for the ESL Assessment and Admission flyer.

What will it be like taking the ACCUPLACER online?

You’ll be taking the ACCUPLACER online assessment on a computer. You will use either the keyboard or the mouse to enter your answers and input your answers into the computer. You will first be asked to answer basic questions about yourself (including name, address, and program choice) before starting the assessment.

When you start the assessment, you will be given clear instructions on the computer, practice questions to work through, and when you start the actual assessment, you will be presented with one question at a time. The assessments are multiple choice and each assessment has no more than 20 questions. These assessments are un-timed so you can give each question as much thought as you wish.

There will be a Computer Lab Assistant to help you get started on the assessments and answer questions that you may have about using the computer.

What if I want to practice or brush up before I take these assessments?

There are a number of good Web sites that you can access to practice or brush up for these assessments before you take them.

On the Internet, go to Google.com. Once you are in Google, type “ACCUPLACER practice” in the search box. This will give you a list of sites that may help you in brushing up for these assessments. Several very good sites from this search include:

To review for the spatial assessment, the Saint Paul College Library has a resource book titled, Mechanical Aptitude and Spatial Relations by Levy and Levy (153.9). A helpful chapter to review is “Matching Patterns and Figures.”

What are some hints for taking the assessment?

Relax! Do the best job you can. These assessment results will help you in your college success!

  • Pay close attention to the test directions. Be sure that you understand the instructions before you start!
  • All materials needed for these assessments will be provided to you at the time of testing. Calculator, dictionaries or other materials are not allowed. You will be given scratch paper to use during your testing, and this will be collected when you are finished.
  • If you don’t know the answer to a question, try to eliminate one or more of the choices and then answer the question.
  • Once you have selected an answer and go on to the next question, you will not be able to go back to any previous questions.
  • However, remember, these assessments are not timed, so you can give each question as much thought as you wish before going on to the next question.

Can I retest?

If you are not satisfied with the results of your assessment, you may retest one time annually but before you start any related coursework at the college. If you wish to do any additional retesting, approval is required. Additional sittings for the assessment will incur a $5.00 charge that will need to be paid at the Tuition Office prior to taking the assessment.