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ESL Placement Test

ESL Placement Testing

If you are a new student at Columbus State and English is not your first language, you are required to take the ESL Placement Test and the Composition Writing Test. These tests assess your abilities so that you are placed in the appropriate classes your first semester at Columbus State.

Practice is The Best Preparation

As with any test, the more you prepare and study for your placement tests, the better you will do.

Your placement tests are among the most important tests you will take in college. Your scores will determine whether you will be required to take developmental courses, or additional English training/tutoring before you can register for classes.

It’s important to understand that, while developmental courses are critical for some students, they do not count toward your degree. Testing out of developmental courses will allow you to begin your first semester in courses that apply toward your major, saving you time and money!

Practice Tests

Click the links below to take practice tests. This is an important step because it will help you get an idea of what the test is like, and what your score might be if you took the test today. It also provides a review of material that will be on the test, to help you achieve your best score.

Accuplacer Sample Questions for Students

Accuplacer Sample Questions (Los Medanos College)

Free Accuplacer Practice Tests

Taking the Test

Test Format

The ESL Placement Test assesses your ability to read English. Specifically, it assesses your understanding of short passages. The Writing Composition Test assesses your ability to write.


There are three sections to the ESL Placement Test

  • Language Use (20 questions)
  • Sentence Meaning (20 questions)
  • Reading Skills (20 questions)

The questions are multiple choice and the test is taken on a computer. There is no time limit on these tests.

The Composition Writing Test is on paper. For this test you have a time limit of 45 minutes. You will be given three writing topics and will choose one of them to write about. You should write as much as you can and as well as you can. You are not allowed to use a dictionary on any part of the test.

Testing Locations

All placement tests must be taken at a Columbus State Testing Center. Testing Centers are located on our Columbus Campus, Delaware Campus, and Westerville, Dublin and Reynoldsburg Regional Learning Centers.

You do not need to schedule an appointment in advance, but be aware of the hours at the Testing Center you choose. You must arrive at least two hours prior to closing to take the Reading Placement Test. The test will not be administered if you arrive less than 2 hours prior to closing.

Visit for Testing Center hours and directions.


  • Most students choose to take the ESL Placement Test and Composition Writing Test at the same time.
  • Allow two hours or more to take the two tests.
  • You must complete the ESL Placement Test and Composition Writing Test in one sitting. You won’t be permitted to start the test, leave the Testing Center before completion, and return at another time to resume the test.
  • Once you start the test you will be permitted to work on the test until the Testing Center closes. You will be required to complete your test by closing time.

General Test Taking Tips

Before the Test

  • Use the practice tests provided here to prepare for the test. Remember, preparing well will help you score higher and assure you are placed in the correct courses.
  • The evening before you test, get a lot of rest and eat well. This will help you concentrate during the test.

Test Day

  • You MUST test at a Columbus State Testing Center
  • Remember to bring photo identification and your CougarID number to the Testing Center. You will not be permitted to test without them.
  • Allow Enough Time. While there is no time limit on the ESL Placement Test, be sure you arrive at the Testing Center early enough to give yourself ample time so you do not have to rush. We suggest you allow at least 2 hours and 45 minutes – 2 hours for the ESL Placement Test and 45 minutes for the timed Composition Writing Test.

During the Test

  • Ask if you don’t understand. Make sure you understand the instructions for each part of the test. Ask if you are not clear on anything.
  • Read Carefully. Read each question, text, and problem carefully. Make sure you understand what the question is asking. If there are several steps in the question, be sure you answer all of them.
  • For Multiple Choice Questions: Read the question carefully. Think of an answer before you look at the answers on the test. This way, the choices on the test won't confuse you.
  • Read all the answer choices. Decide what answers you know are not correct. Then choose the best correct answer.
  • On the ESL Placement Test, it is important to answer every question. If you are not sure, you should make a guess. Choose an answer, but don't keep changing your response. Usually, your first choice is the best one.
  • If you have a problem or question during the test, ask the test proctor for help. Proctors cannot answer specific test questions for you, but they can help you with other types of problems.

After you finish the Columbus State Community College ESL Placement Test, you will receive a copy of your scores within one week. Your score will be a combination of the test which you took on the computer and the writing test that you did on paper. Your score will not be a percentage or a number. It will be the class level that you placed into (for example, ESL 0189). Next, you will need to register for the class which your placement indicates.