Placement Testing FAQs
Middlesex County College requires that incoming students be evaluated in reading, writing, and mathematics skills. A College Placement Test is given to determine skill levels in these areas and to help place students in the courses appropriate to their background and needs.
Purpose of the College Placement Test
Now that you have been admitted to Middlesex County College you will need to take the College Placement Test. The test is designed to provide information about your skills in the English language and in mathematics. The results will be used, along with other information, to place you in the courses appropriate to your level of preparation. In some cases this may include non-credit, developmental courses.
The Middlesex County College Placement Test consists of a 60-minute essay and a series of multiple choice tests presented on a personal computer. The multiple choice tests measure your skills in reading comprehension and elementary algebra. You will also be tested on your computation or intermediate algebra/college level math skills, depending on your progress on the elementary algebra portion of the test. Except for the essay, the computerized test is untimed although most college students complete it within two to three hours.
Who Must Take the College Placement Test
Middlesex County College requires that the following students take the test before they may register for classes:
- New full-time students.
- New part-time students entering degree programs.
- Part-time, non-matriculated students who have completed eleven credits at the college.
- Full-time and part-time transfer students who have not attained sophomore status at an accredited U.S. college or university nor received transfer credit for one semester of college-level composition and one semester of college-level mathematics.
- The College may require additional categories of students to be tested.
Who is Exempt?
Middlesex County College may exempt the following students from the College Placement Test:
- Students who already hold an associate, bachelor’s or master’s degree from an accredited U.S. college or university.
- Students who score 540 or higher on the SAT critical reading section, or 530 (for Algebra I)/560 (for Algebra II) or higher on the SAT math section within the past five years may be exempt from one or more categories.
- Students who are enrolled in the English as a Second Language Program (ESL) must take the ESL Placement Test instead of the College Placement Test.
- Non-native speakers who did not complete four years of high school English at an accredited U.S. high school must take the ESL Placement Test instead of the College Placement Test.
- Students who have reached sophomore status at an accredited U.S. college or university and have completed one semester of English Composition and one semester of college-level math with a grade of "C" or higher may be exempt from certain categories.
How to prepare for the College Placement Test
To prepare yourself to take the College Placement Test, you should:
- Find out what the test will be like, and what material it will cover.
- Review the appropriate subjects and topics that you learned in high school.
1. Middlesex County College uses some of the the College Board's ACCUPLACER tests for our College Placement Test. The entire placement test consists of:
- ACCUPLACER WritePlacer Essay Test (60 minutes long)
- ACCUPLACER Reading Comprehension Test
- ACCUPLACER Elementary Algebra Test
- Either the ACCUPLACER Arithmetic Test or the ACCUPLACER College Level Math Test, depending on your score on the Elementary Algebra Test
You will be allowed to use scrap paper during the entire test, and an online calculator (provided by the College Board/ACCUPLACER) during the math portions of the College Placement Test. You will not be allowed to have any electronic devices (e.g., cell phone, hand held calculator, IPod, PDA, etc.) with you during the test.
To learn about the ACCUPLACER tests, and what material they cover, visit the College Board's ACCUPLACER website. Also, read the two attachments listed below ["ACCUPLACER Sample Questions for Students (Revised DEC 2007)" and "WritePlacer Guide with Sample Essays (12-10-2008)"]. The website and documents will tell you how the ACCUPLACER computer adaptive tests work, as well as what topics each of them cover.
2. Once you know how the ACCUPLACER tests work, what subjects and topics are covered, and what the questions will be like, you should review the appropriate subjects and topics that you learned in high school to prepare for the test. Here are some suggestions on how you might study for the College Placement Test:
- If you still have your old high school notes and/or text books, start reviewing this material first.
- Use an ACCUPLACER review book or an SAT review book to help you study for the test. However, please remember that the ACCUPLACER and the SAT tests are not exactly alike (e.g., the questions in the Reading Comprehension sections are different).
- If you don't have your old high school notes and/or text books, or it has been several years since you attended high school, an ACCUPLACER or SAT review book might not be very helpful to you (they usually assume that you are currently a high school junior or senior---thus, they review the subject matter rather quickly). If so, use other subject level review books (e.g., "Basic Math" or "Algebra") to help you study for the College Placement Test.
- You can also use the Middlesex County College Mathematics Department review documents listed below (for "Basic Math", "Algebra I", Algebra II", and "PreCalculus") to help you study for the math portion of the College Placement Test.
- Lastly, here are several websites that provide free ACCUPLACER test prep practice questions, guides, and videos to help you prepare for the College Placement Test (Please note: Every school is allowed to choose which tests to give in their placement test. Thus some of the information on these websites do not apply to the College Placement Test at Middlesex County College):
- Aims Community College - Provides study guides for both the verbal and math parts of the College Placement Test.
- Brookdale Community College - Provides sample questions and additional information for both the verbal and math parts of the College Placement Test.
- Community College of Aurora - Provides study guides and online videos for the math part of the College Placement Test and study guides for the verbal part of the College Placement Test.
- Khan Academy - Provides online videos to help you prepare for the math part of the College Placement Test.
- McLennan Community College - Provides online videos to help you prepare for both the math and verbal parts of the College Placement Test.
The college also offers free, two hour workshops to help you prepare for the College Placement Test (Please note: The workshops do not provide a review of high school level reading, writing, and math skills). Please click here to see when the next workshop will take place.
- Your social security number or Middlesex County College ID number.
- Valid photo-identification (e.g., passport, drivers license, high school ID card).
- Several No. 2 lead pencils with erasers.
- Cell phones, calculators, PDA's, IPods, etc. are not permitted in the testing room.
How to interpret your College Placement Test scores
Below is a document listing the current Reading, Writing, and Math placement rules (using ACCUPLACER scores) for the college. It also provides information about placements based on SAT scores, challenge options/rules, and rules concerning SSD 101.