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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. How do I know which placement test(s) I need to take?

Placement Tests in Writing, Reading, and Math are REQUIRED for students who do not have college-ready ACT/SAT scores or official transcripts with qualifying college credit. In addition, if you plan to pursue a major with Science requirements, you will need to take the Science Placement Test as well.

2. How much does placement testing cost?

There is no charge to take any of the placement tests the first time you test. Fees to retest vary by the test.

Reading and Writing Placement Test: $20
Math Placement Test: No Fee
Science Placement Test: Retesting is not available

3. How long does it take to complete each placement test?

The tests are not timed, so you can take as long as you need to finish the test. As a guideline, students generally take:

Reading and Writing placement tests (usually taken together): 1-1 ½ hour
Math Placement Test: 1 – 1 ½ hour
Science Placement Test: 1-1 ½ hour
ESL Placement Test: 3 – 3 ½ hours

Important: Be sure to arrive at the Columbus State Testing Center 2 hours or more prior to closing. Tests will not be administered within 2 hours of closing

4. I have a documented disability. Are accommodations available on the placement tests administered at CSCC?

Yes! If you are a student with a disability and need accommodations for testing beyond extended time, contact Disability Services at (614) 287-2570 or go to:

5. Where do I go to take each placement test?

Take your Placement Tests at a Columbus State Testing Center location convenient to you. No appointment is necessary, just walk-in during their scheduled hours. Be sure to arrive at least two hours prior to closing to take your tests. Remember that you are not able to register for classes until you have completed your placement tests.

Visit for locations and hours.

Important: Be sure to arrive 2 hours or more prior to closing. Tests will not be administered within 2 hours of closing.

6. How do I know if I need to take the ESL version of the placement test?

The ESL version of the placement test gives students whose primary language is not English a chance to assess their language skills against college communication expectations. Research has shown that students enjoy greater short-term and long-term academic success when they are appropriately placed. If English is not your primary language, see an advisor in the International Student Services office to discuss which test is the best choice for you. Visit for hours and location.

7. Do I really need to study for a placement test? Isn't it just a test of what I already know?

Preparing to take your placement tests is VERY IMPORTANT. Proper placement is important your success in college.

8. What do I need to do to study/prepare for the placement tests?

Before you test, be sure to review. Proper placement is important to your success in college. Information and resources are available for each placement test:


9. Where do I find my Your ALEKS Prep and Learning Module?

Upon completion of your first Math Placement Testing, ALEKS module is created. You will return to CougarWeb and click on "Mathematics Placement Testing and Preparation" to access your module and complete your 5 hours of preparation before you may retest. Your Module will remain active for 6 months.

A new cohort/class is created at the beginning of each academic year. If you took your first placement test prior to September 15, you will need to click on the SHOW MY OTHER ALEKS COURSES button and then select your original cohort. Your placement work is not available in the new cohort.

10. Can I get help in preparing for the test?

In-person assistance is available for the Reading Placement Test, Writing Placement test and Mathematics Placement Test at:

College Readiness Center
Columbus Campus
Aquinas 213 and 214

11. Am I allowed to retake the test(s) if I don't get the score I need?

Retesting is available for the Reading Placement Test, Writing Placement Test, Math Placement Test, and ESL Placement Test. Fees, required referral forms, and number of retest attempts vary by the test.

Reading and Writing Placement Test: $20, referral form from an Advisor is required, 1 retest attempt in 2 years
Math Placement Test: No Fee, no referral form required, 4 retest attempts in 2 years
Science Placement Test: Retesting is not available
ESL Placement Test: $20, referral form from an Advisor is required, 1 retest attempt in 2 years

12. What happens if I decide not to take the tests?

If you do not have an ACT or SAT score, or submit official transcript(s) with college credit that can be used for placement, you must take the placement test(s). If you decide not to take a required test, you will not be permitted to register for classes at Columbus State.

13. Are all of the placement tests required before I can register for my first semester of classes?

The Reading Placement Test, Writing Placement Test, and Math Placement Test must be completed prior to attending a New Student Program and/or meeting with an Academic Advisor.
The Science Placement Test must be completed prior to registering for college-level chemistry and physics, as well as some college-level biology classes. If these courses are not required for your program of study, you do not need to take the Science Placement Test.

14. How do I know if my previous college credit will count?

In order to have your college credit considered for placement, Columbus State needs to receive an official transcript. You must order the transcript from the college/university where you earned the credit and have them send an unopened copy to:

Columbus State Community College
ATTN: Office of the Registrar
P.O. Box 1609
550 E. Spring Street
Columbus, OH 43215


Log into CougarWeb for Students and click the "Unofficial Transcript" link to see if your credits have been accepted. If you have questions, contact the Center for Advising, Support and Exploration (CASE).

15. Why are 5 hours of Prep and Learning work required before retaking the Mathematics Placement Test?

Because math is a difficult subject for many students, the ALEKS Prep and Learning modules are customized to help you get the your highest placement score. While 5 hours of prep are required before you retake the Math Placement Test, we recommend that you spend as many hours as you need to feel competent in the skills you will be tested on.

16. If I run out of time, can I leave the Testing Center and come back to finish my placement test later?

No. Each individual placement test must be completed in one sitting. You can take individual tests on different days (e.g., Reading Placement Test one day and Writing Placement Test a different day), but once you begin a test, it must be completed in the same sitting.

17. I'm in a program of study that doesn't require many math classes. Do I really need to do the Mathematics Placement Test?

There are non-math classes that may have math prerequisites, so it is necessary that you complete the Math Placement Test.

18. I'm a College Credit Plus student. Does my high school schedule my placement test or do I schedule it?

It depends on which high school you attend. Some high schools have coordinated group testing sessions while others expect students to schedule this test on their own time. Check with your high school guidance counselor to see how your school handles the placement tests.

19. Who do I talk to about the results of my placement tests?

When you have completed placement testing, you are ready to attend a New Student Program. You will meet with an Academic Advisor during this program who will talk to you about your placement testing results. Watch your Columbus State e-mail for information. You can log onto your Columbus State e-mail through CougarWeb at (use the white links at the bottom on the page to retrieve your username and password if needed).

20. Why do I have to take a science placement test if I took high school science?

Each school's science program varies, so it is difficult to know exactly what preparation an individual student may have experienced. The goal of having students take the science placement test is to guarantee that students are placed into the class they are most likely to succeed in and that students have the prerequisite knowledge to work effectively at the college level.