Placement tests are typically used at the secondary and post-secondary educational level to assess a student’s skill level in a specific subject. A placement test can help determine at what level you begin your studies in subjects such as mathematics, foreign language, and writing. In many cases students who score higher on a placement test are admitted to a higher level of academic study and are able to avoid repeating coursework they have already mastered.
Review the test and course requirements. The course description and test requirements will help you gauge your level of study in a subject. You should be familiar with all of the concepts listed. If you have already earned a high grade on assignments or coursework related to the test it’s likely you will score very well on the placement test. If you are unfamiliar with specific content you may have to review material or postpone your test date until you feel appropriately prepared.
Practice with sample questions and test outlines. Schools that require placement tests at enrollment typically provide an outline of the material and sample questions. You should complete a practice test and calculate your score so you know what level you have mastered. You may also wish to review the textbook and teaching materials that are used for the specific course you are testing into.
Test at the appropriate level. For example, if you have completed an intermediate level of Spanish or French start with the test for that level. Taking a test at a more advanced level may result in a poor score. Similarly, for subjects like math or writing it’s important to test at a level you are confident you have mastered, as testing above your skill level may prove too difficult. The aim is to score well at the level you have mastered and to enter course work at the appropriate level. Testing into a level that is too hard may impede your long term learning.
Arrive to your test well-rested and prepared. Most placement tests will be challenging and require time and focus. It’s important to arrive to the test well-rested and focused so you can do your best. Your best effort will result in an accurate score and will ensure that you are not placed below your current academic level.