What is the Placement Exam?
The placement exam is a series of short placement tests used to assess your knowledge of reading, writing and mathematics skills. A writing sample and computerized placement test, the ACCUPLACER™, are administered. The Writing Sample is a locally developed and locally scored measure to assess your writing skills. The ACCUPLACER™is a computerized exam used by hundreds of colleges across the country.

How Do You Take a Test Using a Computer?
You will use either the keyboard or the mouse to enter your answers and supply other information. A Test Administrator will always be present should you have any questions or problems.

Because you take the ACCUPLACER™ tests on a computer, you do not have to answer as many questions as on traditional paper-and-pencil tests. The number of questions on the tests range from 12-20. The questions appear one at a time on the computer screen. When you have completed the question and confirmed your answer, a new screen will appear with your next question.

Each test is adaptive. This means that the computer automatically determines which questions are presented to you based on your responses to prior questions. This technique selects just the right questions to ask without being too easy or too difficult.
Each test is untimed so that you can give each question as much thought as you wish. However, you must complete the entire test session within the 3 and ½ hours allotted by Westchester Community College.


What Do the Subtests Measure?
For specific information about what the subtests measure, please visit our Sample Exam Questions page.


Are Study Guides Available?

Study Guides for the Accuplacer.

Online Tutorial for the Math Subtests of the Accuplacer



Essays are graded by two readers.  Each reader assigns a score ranging from 1-6.  Thus, total scores range from 2 – 12 with a score of 8 placing a student into Writing and Research (previous title: Composition and Literature 1).

The standards that must be met for a placement essay to receive a single score of 4 (a total score of 8) are presented below:



5 or 6







 Does Not



1 or 2

FOCUS & SUPPORT The essay focuses directly on the issue defined in the prompt.The topic is supported with some specific elaboration including details and examples.
ORGANIZATION/UNITY The essay is generally unified and coherent.Ideas are organized satisfactorily and connected with basic transitions.
SENTENCES & LANGUAGE The writing shows both variety and adequate command of sentence structure.Appropriate diction is used.
GRAMMAR & MECHANICS Rules of grammar as well as standard conventions of written English are followed.



Readers assign a score using the following guidelines.


  • Does the essay focus directly on one of the assigned topics?
  • Does the essay begin with a clear statement of the writer’s point of view?
  • Is the topic supported with specific details and examples?


  • Does all the material in the essay support the main idea?
  • Are ideas organized logically?
  • Are the parts of the essay connected with transitions?

Sentences & Language

  • Does the writing show command of sentence structure?

In other words, are there any rough spots where a sentence does not flow smoothly and clearly or where any part is incomplete or not well joined to other parts of the sentence?

  • Are any words used that are not appropriate to the essay’s purpose and audience?


  • Does the writing follow rules of grammar as well as the standard conventions of written English?
  • In addition to sentence standards, the student needs to:
    • use the correct form for present tense verbs as in we write or Erica writes;
    • use the correct form for past tense verbs—in most cases that means adding – ed;
    • spell words correctly, including there/their, it’s/its, then/than, etc.; 
    • use punctuation and apostrophes correctly.

The essay

Description Single
Course Placement
Exceeds standards  5 or 6 10-12 Writing and Research-Honors
Meets standards 4  8 Writing and Research
Approaches standards 3 6 Writing for College 2
Approaches standards 3 w/ 4 7 Intro. Academic Writing 2 (ESL students)
Does not approach standards 3 or 2  5 – 6 Intro. Academic Writing 1 (ESL students)
Does not approach standards 2 or 1 2 – 4 Writing for College I, or
Does not approach standards 2 or 1 2 – 4 English Language Institute (ESL students)

How Are Placement Scores Used? 
Westchester Community College has a mandatory assessment and placement policy. The purpose of the placement exam is to make sure that you take the appropriate courses. Based on your results you will be taking regular, honors, or basic skills courses. You will meet with a counselor who will use the scores for course placement in English, mathematics and possibly reading classes. Students who have not graduated from high school or earned a GED will be required to take the Placement Test before being admitted to the college.


What is the College’s Prerequisite Policy? 
The following English, ESL, reading and mathematics classes require an appropriate score on the placement exam or a passing grade in a prerequisite course. The courses and their prerequisites are listed as follows:


Course Number

Prerequisite Course

Writing and Research

 ENG 101

 Writing for College 2 or
Intro. to Academic Writing 2
Writing for College 2

ENG 92

 Writing for College 1
Intro. to Academic Writing 2

 ESL 122

 Intro. to Academic Writing 1
Analytical Reading

 READ 105

 Foundations of College Reading
Beginning Algebra or Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning


College Algebra: Functions and Models

 MATH 130

 Beginning Algebra
College Algebra with Trigonometry

MATH 135

 Beginning Algebra
Development of Math Thought

 MATH 116

 Beginning Algebra or
Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning
Contemporary Math

MATH 117

 Beginning Algebra or
Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning
Math for Elementary Teachers

MATH 123

 Beginning Algebra or
Foundations of Mathematical Reasoning

Is There a Penalty for Guessing?

ACCUPLACER™ is an adaptive test. This means that the questions are chosen for you on the basis of your answers to previous questions. Because the test works this way, you must answer every question when it is first given. You can change your answer to a particular question before moving on to the next question, but once you go on to the next question, you cannot return to previous questions.

If you do not know the answer to a question, try to eliminate one or more or the choices. Then pick from the remaining choices.


How Do I Interpret the Test Scores?
The results of your tests will determine the courses in which you are best suited for placement. Scores for the tests are reported on a 120-point scale and represent an estimate of the score students could expect to receive if they had taken a test of 120 questions. You will have an opportunity to discuss your test results during your appointment with your counselor.


Are Testing Modifications Provided?
If you have a documented disability, and as a result require testing modifications, call Disabilities Services at 914-606-6287. There is a separate schedule for students needing accommodations. Placement testing with accommodations must be completed at least one week prior to the start of classes.  For more information concerning services for students with disabilities, please visit our Disability Services webpage.


Who Must Take the Tests?

  • New Matriculated Students
    Upon admission to Westchester Community College, all matriculated students are required to take the Placement Examination prior to registering in any courses.
  • Transfer Students
    Students who do not provide proof of completion of college-level math or writing courses with a grade of “C” or better from a regionally accredited college or university must take the placement exam.
  • Non-Matriculated Students
    Non-matriculated students who plan to enroll in an English, math or reading course must take the Placement Exam.
  • Early Admit Student Program
    The Early Admit Student (EAS) program allows qualified high school students to take classes at Westchester Community College while concurrently completing their high school program.

    • The student must take all subtests of placement exam even if s/he has no plans to take classes in these subject areas.
    • The student must place into college level courses by meeting the minimum score requirements.
    • Graduating high school students who plan on attending any session that begins prior to their high school graduation date (such as Summer Session 1), need to adhere to the EAS program requirements, regardless of high school grades and courses taken.

Additional Early Admit Student Program requirements are described in the College Catalog.


How can I waive the Placement Exam?

English Essay Exam

  • Submit an official transcript from a regionally accredited college or university to confirm that you completed a 3-credit college-level English course equivalent to our ENG 101 (Writing and Research) with a grade of C or better.
  • Submit an official transcript to confirm that you have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the United States.

Reading Comprehension Exam

  • Submit an official transcript to confirm that you have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in the United States.

Mathematics Exam

    • Submit an official transcript from an accredited college/university to confirm that you have completed a 3-credit college-level mathematics course equivalent to our MATH 116 (Development of Math Thought) with a grade of C or better.
    • To register for Calculus 2 or 3 or Differential Equations:   Submit an official transcript from an accredited college
      /university to confirm that you have completed the prerequisite course listed below.
      ACT and SAT scores are not used for placement into these courses.
  WCC               COURSE #





MATH 191

MATH 230

MATH 240

Calculus 2

Calculus 3

Differential Equations

Calculus 1

Calculus 2

Calculus 1 and 2




*Courses must be college level.

  • Submit official ACT or SAT math score documentation.  The minimum scores required to register for selected math courses are listed in the table below.  The placement exam needs to be taken if the minimum ACT or SAT scores are not met.
    Minimum Scores































    Development of Math Thought

           College Quantitative Reasoning

    Analytical Trigonometry

    Nature of Mathematics

    College Algebra: Functions & Models

    College Algebra with Trig.



    Calculus 1

    Linear Algebra

    • Students with ACT scores between 14-15 or SAT scores between 410-449 have one of two options:

      • Take the Math portion of the placement exam to attempt to place into a credit-bearing mathematics class.
      • Speak to your counselor to register for one of the following non-credit developmental mathematics courses:
        • Beginning Algebra or
        • Math Literacy for College Students (MCLS).

Is There a Fee for the Placement Exam? 
There will be a testing fee charged at registration. This Placement Testing/Advisement Fee is a one-time non-refundable charge. For students receiving financial aid, the $20 fee will be part of the financial aid package.


  • Driver’s license
  • DMV Non-Driver ID Card
  • Passport
  • US government lawful permanent residence (LPR), or green card
  • U.S. military identification card
  • High School ID card
  • High School yearbook with your picture and printed name

How Much Time Does the Exam Take?
The time allotted is up to 3 ½ hours per session. Please plan accordingly and make sure that you allow sufficient time to stay for the entire session. The time allotted for the essay is 50 minutes, and the ACCUPLACER™ is untimed. However, students need to complete the essay and ACCUPLACER™ subtests within the 3 ½ hours allotted. The average time it takes to complete each ACCUPLACER™ subtest is 30 minutes.

What If I Arrive Late? 

ARRIVAL TIME: You need to arrive at least 15 minutes before the session begins to allow time to sign in.

The session starts promptly. If you arrive late, you will not be seated and you will need to come back another time.

Are Calculators Permitted?

Personal calculators are not permitted.  However, you may use a TI-108 calculator provided by the Testing Center.  Please take the time to review before taking the placement exam to make sure that your placement results reflect your math skills.

I took the Accuplacer at another school.  Do I have to take it again?
The results of the Accuplacer, taken at another school within the past two years, can be used at Westchester Community College.

The subtests used for course placement are Reading Comprehension, Arithmetic and Elementary Algebra.  A student will still have to take the essay exam for English/ESL course placement unless s/he is transferring in approved English 101 credits.

Steps to take:

  • The student will need to contact the college where the Accuplacer was taken and WCC’s Testing and Assessment Center to initiate the request.
    Email:   testingcenter@sunywcc.edu
    Phone:  914-606-6969
  • The school where the exam was taken will email or fax a copy of the Student Score Report to the Testing and Assessment Center.
  • Testing and Assessment Center staff will enter the scores into the system.

 Accuplacer scores needed for selected Math courses* are:

Arithmetic Skills:              45

Elementary Algebra Skills:            55

              *Selected Math Courses

College Algebra: Functions and Models

College Algebra with Trig.

Development of Math Thought

Contemporary Math

Accuplacer Reading Comprehension:  A score of 80 or above is needed to confirm that a reading course is not required.

What time do I need to arrive if I am taking a partial exam?
You need to arrive at the time listed to sign in whether you are taking all subtests or selected subtests.  Please note that you may need to wait 50 minutes or more before your subtest is administered.

If you are taking the Essay only for English course placement, the exam will be administered first.

How Do I Get A Copy of My Test Scores?

Click here for directions on how to get a copy of your test scores.

How Do I Make An Appointment With A Counselor?

    • Schedule an appointment with a Counselor at least one week after placement testing.
      • August Only- Drop-in advising only on a first-come first-serve basis in the Student Center.
        Drop-in hours: Monday-Thursday 9:00 AM – 7 PM; Friday 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
    • If you are not able to keep your counseling appointment, email counseling@sunywcc.edu and place ‘APPOINTMENT RESCHEDULE’ in the subject line.