FAQs for Placement Testing

What is placement testing?

Placement testing is the process used to determine a student's readiness for specific college courses. Placement tests measure writing and mathematics skills and are used to place students in courses appropriate to their skill level. Placement tests are not timed and provide immediate results.

Southwest bases initial placement in English and Math on ACT sub-scores.

  • An English sub-score of 18 or above places a student in ENG 151 Academic Writing. An English sub-score below 18 places a student in ENG 099 Introduction to Academic Writing, a developmental course designed to develop skills and readiness for ENG 151.
  • A Math sub-score of 22 or above places a student into college-level Math courses at the 110-level and above. A student with a sub-score of less than 22 may take MATH 060 Intermediate Math or MATH 101 Great Ideas of Math.

New pre-requisites are in place for enrollment in MATH 110 College Algebra.

Students wishing to enroll in MATH 110 College Algebra must meet one of the pre-requisite requirements, as listed below:

  • a grade of C or above in MATH 060
  • a score of 22 or better on the Mathematics section of the ACT 
  • a score of 480 or better on the SAT Math
  • a score of 60 or better on the Accuplacer Intermediate Algebra Placement Test - CAT

 If a student does not meet the requirements, he/she may take the Accuplacer Math placement test, offered on the SMSU campus on designated testing dates.

Is there a fee for taking the placement tests?

No, the first time a student takes any section of the placement tests (reading, writing or math) there is no charge. A student may retest one time, in any section, in a 12-month period. There is a fee for retesting in each section.

When do I take the placement tests?

Placement testing is offered periodically throughout the academic year. For testing dates, consult the Testing Dates page, or email Linda Nelson at Linda.Nelson@SMSU.edu

Last Modified: 1/17/17 10:50 AM