Skip Navigation
Admissions & Enrollment
Home > Admissions and Enrollment > Get Advised > Test Center > Content > Frequently Asked Questions about ACCUPLACER

Frequently Asked Questions about ACCUPLACER

Test Center

Test Center Placement Office

Summer Hours

Monday9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday1:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Wednesday9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Who takes placement tests?
  • All degree seeking students, unless exempt by one of the criteria below.
  • All students planning to take English or math classes.
  • Any student planning to enroll in classes with English and math pre- or co-requisites.
  • All students seeking admission to clinical nursing or allied health programs must take the English placement exam regardless of previous college-level English coursework. The only exception made is for those students who have earned a Baccalaureate degree from a United States accredited institution.
  • All credit students must take placement exams by the time they have accumulated 12 credits, regardless of academic goals.

When are students exempt from taking placement tests?

Students are exempt from taking placement tests under the following circumstances:

English (Reading and Sentence Skills) Placement Test Exemptions:

  • Students with scores over 550 on the critical reading portion of the SAT.
  • Students with a score of 21 or higher on the reading portion of the ACT are exempt from the reading comprehension exam.
  • Students with a score of 21 or higher on the English portion of the ACT are exempt from the sentence skills exam.
  • Students who completed the placement examination at a Maryland community college within two years.
  • Students who completed the highest developmental level of reading or writing at another Maryland community college.
  • Students with a “college ready” score when taking the diagnostic ACCUPLACER during their 11th grade year of high school (see your HCC advisor to confirm).

Math Placement Test Exemptions:

  • Students transferring in college-level math courses from accredited postsecondary institutions.
  • Students with an SAT math score over 550, unless seeking placement higher than MATH141 (College Algebra) or its equivalents.
  • Students with an ACT math score of 21 or higher, unless seeking placement higher than MATH141 (College Algebra) or its equivalents.
  • Students who completed the placement examination at a Maryland community college within two years.
  • Students who completed the highest developmental level of mathematics at another Maryland community college.
  • Placement above College Algebra requires a college level math test regardless of SAT or ACT score.

When do students take placement tests?

Placement tests are administered after the student has applied for admission to the college. Placement testing is conducted on a walk-in basis. Call the Test Center at 443-518-1280 with any questions regarding the test.

All Freshman Focus Placement Testing done in the Test Center must be scheduled in advance through Admissions and Advising. Please contact Admissions and Advising at 443-518-4599 or if you have any questions regarding Freshman Focus testing. For more information on Freshman Focus click here.

Walk in Placement Testing

Summer Hours of Operation

Monday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Tuesday: 1:00 pm -  6:00 pm
Wednesday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thursday: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
Friday: 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

What Do I Need to Bring With Me?

A valid (unexpired) government or institutional issued photo identification, such as your student ID, driver's license, passport, or military ID.  All personal items will be placed in lockers, including books, notes, pens, pencils, calculators, cellular telephones, electronic devices, purses, lip balm, watches, wallets and keys. All pockets must be empty.

The Test Center will provide a calculator, pencils and scrap paper for use during Placement Exams.

What tests are given?

The college administers ACCUPLACER English and math placement tests to assess students' skills in these areas. English placement testing includes a reading comprehension test which evaluates comprehension skills, and a sentence skills test which evaluates writing skills.  The math test is designed to evaluate skills in relation to those required for college math courses. The ACCUPLACER exams are computer based tests (CBT) developed by College Board. 

Students may be asked to write a paper-and-pencil-based essay if their first attempt at the ACCUPLACER sentence skills section is below a certain level. The essay exam is the only timed portion - students are allotted 45 minutes to write their essays.

All of these tests are placement tests - students do not "pass or fail" them and they do not affect admission to the college. They are used to place students in the appropriate college-level or college preparatory courses, based upon their skills.

How are the tests administered?

The ACCUPLACER tests are administered on personal computers. Prior computer or typing experience is not necessary for taking the tests. Easy to understand instructions appear on the computer screen. Almost all questions are multiple choice and answers are easily marked using the computer keyboard or mouse. A few questions will involve entering a simple response - for example, students enter their name and student identification number.

Reading comprehension, sentence skills and math are untimed. While each test generally takes 15 - 30 minutes to complete, some students will take considerably longer.

The advantage of ACCUPLACER is that it is "adaptive". This means that the computer determines which questions are presented to each student based on their responses to previous questions. This results in a more accurate assessment of each student's skills by ensuring that the majority of questions they are asked are not too easy or too difficult. Therefore, students must select a response for EVERY question so that the computer can properly determine their range of skills.

Is it possible to prepare for placement tests?

Please see the ACCUPLACER preparation page.

How long does placement testing take?

All the exams, with the exception of the essay, are untimed. Students taking the full battery of ACCUPLACER tests should plan to spend at least 2 hours at the Test Center.

How are test results obtained?

Students will receive a score report immediately following ACCUPLACER administration. Resulting course placement is available via a placement report in 1-2 days, or from an Advisor using the score report given to the student. Advisors and placement reports are available in RCF-245.

Students With Special Needs:

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), students who require testing accommodations are asked to contact the Disability Support Services Office in RCF-302 or via telephone at 443-518-4629. The TDD# is 443-518-4023.

What is the retesting policy?

The reading comprehension, sentence skills, or math test may be retaken one time within a two year period, prior to enrollment in an English or math class.

Contact Us!
Test Center
Howard Community College — RCF-359
Phone: 443-518-1280
Fax: 443-518-4257

TTY/STS use MD Relay

  • Test Center Announcments

    Due to construction, make sure to leave yourself enough time to find parking!  We want to make sure you have the full time to complete your test, so please plan on up to an hour to find parking and arrive at the Test Center.  Click here to learn about parking options and our Dragon Wagon Shuttle!

  • Summer hours begin on May 26, 2015.  Academic hours are as follows: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 9:30AM-7:00PM; Tuesdays 12:00PM-7:00PM and Fridays 9:30AM-3:00PM.  Placement hours are as follows: Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays 9:00AM-6:00PM; Tuesdays 1:00PM-6:00PM and Fridays 9:00AM-3:00PM. All Math Retests must be started by 5:00PM

  • The Test Center will be open early (9:00am) on the following Tuesdays for Placement Testing:  May 19, May 26, June 9 & July 7.

  • Contact Us
  • Location: Rouse Company Foundation Student Services Building - Third Floor - Room 359 and Room 366
    Phone: 443-518-1280