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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

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

If you have college-ready ACT or SAT scores, or official transcript(s), you may not need to take some (or all) of the placement tests. Visit cscc.edu/need-placement to determine what placement tests you need to take.

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. Visit cscc.edu/placement for retesting fee information.

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): 1-1/2 hours
Math Placement Test: 2 hours
Science Placement Test: 1-1/2 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, CSCC offers accommodations to students who have a documented disability. To determine if you are eligible for testing accommodations, please contact Disability Services at 614-287-2570 or stop by Eibling Hall, Room 101. More information can also be obtained on the Disability Services website: cscc.edu/disability.

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

You MUST go to a Columbus State Testing center to take official placement tests. Testing Center sites are located on the Columbus Campus, Delaware Campus and select Regional Learning Centers. Visit cscc.edu/testingcenter for locations and 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.

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

Practice questions for the Reading, Writing and Science tests are provided at cscc.edu/placement, and you can review those any time at any computer with internet access. The Math Placement Test requires that you take an initial assessment first, which generates your personal ALEKS Prep and Learning Module. You are required to complete 5 hours in your ALEKS module before you can take the official Mathematics Placement Test. However, we recommend that you spend as many additional hours as you need to feel comfortable with the material in your module.

7. How do I access the Mathematics ALEKS initial assessment?

To take the initial, unproctored ALEKS assessment, visit CougarWeb and click on "Mathematics Placement Testing and Preparation.”

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

After you take the initial ALEKS assessment (accessed through CougarWeb), your 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.

9. 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

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

You may retake the Reading Placement Test, the Writing Placement Test and the Mathematics Placement Test. Visit cscc.edu/placement for information on retesting fees.

Retesting is not permitted on the Science Placement Test.

11. 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.

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

The Reading Placement Test and the Writing Placement Test are required prior to registering for your first semester of courses. However, you cannot register for any math or statistics course, or other courses with math prerequisites until you have completed the Mathematics Placement Test. We strongly recommend that you complete the Mathematics Placement Test prior to your first semester of classes to stay on track to graduation because many programs of study require math each semester, or other courses that have math prerequisites.

The Science Placement Test is not required prior to registering for your first semester. The Science Placement Test must be completed prior to registering for college-level biology, chemistry and physics. If these courses are not required for your program of study, you do not need to take the Science Placement Test.

13. If I don’t take the Mathematics Placement Test before my first semester, when do I need to complete it?

As many programs of study require math each semester to stay on track to graduation (or have courses with math prerequisites), we strongly recommend that you complete it before your first semester of classes. It is not required prior to registration for non-math courses, and there is no deadline for students to complete the Mathematics 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
Email: transcriptevaluation@cscc.edu

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

Your placement tests are among the most important tests you will take in college. They determine what classes you will be placed in for your first semester. As with any test, the more you study, the better you will score. Scoring lower than your best can place you in a class that is below your skill level, or may result in being placed in developmental education classes, which do not count toward your program of study. So placing higher can save you both time and money!

16. Why are 5 hours of module work required before 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, we recommend that you spend as many hours as you need to feel competent in the skills you will be tested on.

17. Why do I have to take an assessment for the Mathematics Placement test if the score doesn’t count?

The initial assessment for the Mathematics Placement Test allows the ALEKS system to customize your Prep and Learning module to focus on the skills that are most challenging for you. While your initial assessment results are not official and are not used for placement, they are an important part of assuring that your Prep and Learning Module prepares you to place your highest on the official Mathematics Placement Test.

18. Do I have to take my ALEKS Math Initial Assessment at a Columbus State Testing Center?

No. You cannot take your practice test at a Columbus State Testing Center. These centers offer only the official, proctored Mathematics Placement Test. Take your practice test anywhere you have internet access and a quiet study environment. The College Readiness Center (Aquinas), computer labs and libraries on our Columbus Campus, and the Learning Center on our Delaware Campus provide quiet spaces for student use.

19. 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.

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

You will most likely need the Mathematics Placement Test, because even non-math classes may have math prerequisites. Visit the Center for Advising, Support and Exploration (CASE) for assistance in determining if you should take the Mathematics Placement Test. Visit cscc.edu/case for hours and location.

21. 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.

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

Students can visit the Center for Advising, Support and Exploration (CASE) to better understand the results of their tests. Visit cscc.edu/case for location and hours.

Dual Credit/College Credit plus students can speak to their guidance counselor or the Columbus State advisor assigned to their school to determine the process for placement testing for Columbus State classes. Visit “Columbus State Advising” to find out more.

23. 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.

24. 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 cscc.edu/international for hours and location.