Placement Testing

Placement exams measure competency in math, reading, and sentence skills and enable an academic advisor to determine a student’s appropriate entry level of instruction.  Students registering for English and/or Math courses for the first time must take the ACCUPLACER test for placement in appropriate courses unless they meet one of the exceptions listed below (See Do I need to take a placement exam?).  Placement may also be required prior to enrollment in certain other courses and programs.

>Placement Scores Chart<<    Look up the placement score ranges for Math and English courses. Placement scores are designed to indicate which course will provide the most benefit for each student.

For placement testing hours please visit LRC TESTING HOURS.

Prospective students taking placement tests for a schools or colleges other than Mat-Su College or UAA, should contact their schools to arrange for a remote placement test at MSC.



 Make an Appointment 


Please note that children may not be in the tutoring or testing rooms and may not be left unattended anywhere on campus.


ACCUPLACER is an online placement test consisting of three assessments: Reading Comprehension, Sentence Skills, and Math. All three tests may be taken at the same time for one fee. If taken at different times, there is a charge for each test session.

The math test starts with Elementary Algebra and automatically adjusts to the examinee’s knowledge level by moving into College Math or Arithmetic. Questions are multiple choice.

The English tests consists of two sections: Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills, each with multiple choice questions.

How long are my scores valid for placement?

ACCUPLACER scores which place students into English courses do not expire.  Scores which place students into mathematics courses are valid for one year.

Do I need to take a placement exam?

Placement exams measure competency in math, reading, and sentence skills and enable an academic advisor to determine a student’s appropriate entry level of instruction.  Students registering for English and/or Math courses for the first time must take the ACCUPLACER test for placement in appropriate courses unless they meet one of the exceptions listed below.  Placement may also be required prior to enrollment in certain other courses and programs.


  • An ACT English Score or an SAT Critical  or Evidence-Based Reading Score can be used in lieu of the reading and sentence skills portions of the ACCUPLACER.  See Placement Scores Chart above for details.
  • Students with college-level transfer credits (100 level or above) in English or Math may be eligible to use those credits for placement and avoid taking the ACCUPLACER.  Credits may have been earned through prior college attendance or through advanced placement tests such as AP, IB, CLEP, or DSST.  However, if earned credits are more than one year old, students should consider testing to receive a more accurate placement.  Transcripts from prior institutions and test score reports must be submitted to Student Services and evaluated prior to course placement.

Do I need to make an appointment?

Yes. Appointments are required to take a placement test. Appointments may be made and managed through the online scheduler (click the calendar below).  The Learning Resource Center is available during office hours to answer questions about scheduling (907-745-9713).

Make an appointment


What is the cost?

A fee of $21 is charged for each testing session. Prior to taking the test, payment must be made either through the online scheduler or at the Campus Cache located in JKB 109. If payment is made through Campus Cache, the receipt must be shown to the proctor in the LRC before the test will be administered. In the event of a Campus Cache closure, payment may be made ahead of time in person or by credit card over the phone (907-745-9739). Campus Cache accepts cash, checks, major credit cards, and debit cards.

Where do I take the test?

Placement tests are proctored in the Learning Resource Center located in OLB 121, across from the Library. Those new to the campus should enter the building with the covered walkway (near the flags) and turn right in the hallway. The LRC is the first office on the right. (Campus Map)

Do I need to bring anything with me?

Each examinee must have the following:

  • photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or Univ of AK ID card
  • receipt from Campus Cache (If payment is made online, LRC already has receipt)

Personal belongings are not allowed in the testing room; however, lockers are available for storing belongings. ACCUPLACER has a built-in calculator link for use with appropriate math problems, so no personal calculators are allowed. Scratch paper and pencils are provided by the proctor.

Can I take the test if I will be attending a college other than MSC?

Yes, MSC is a remote testing site for ACCUPLACER and can administer a placement test for other colleges and organizations in or outside of Alaska. Examinees should contact the testing center at the other school or organization and arrange for a remote test at the Mat-Su College LRC.  Other schools will likely request the following contact information for the Learning Resource Center:

Janna Bare, Manager
PO Box 2889
Palmer, Alaska 99645

Can I retest?

Yes, testers may retest one time after a minimum wait of 2 days.  This should be done before the add/drop deadline for enrollment that semester. The ACCUPLACER test may be taken twice per semester.

The test fee must be paid each time the ACCUPLACER test is taken. Placement will be determined using the higher of the sets of scores. Before retaking the test, examinees may want to review some of the practice questions on the website or visit the tutorial websites listed below in the section entitled “How can I prepare for the test?”

Students testing under Ability to Benefit are required by federal guidelines to wait a minimum of two weeks before retesting.

What is Ability to Benefit?

Degree seeking individuals, 18 years of age or older, who have not earned a high school diploma, GED, or 60 hours of college credits must demonstrate they have the ability to benefit from a college education.  To demonstrate this ability, the individual must achieve federally determined minimum scores on the ACCUPLACER exam.  The required scores are

  • Arithmetic                             34
  • Reading Comprehension   55
  • Sentence Skills                     60

Individuals taking ACCUPLACER for Ability to Benefit are permitted to retest after a minimum 14 day waiting period.   It is not permitted under the Ability to Benefit provision to retake only a portion of the test.  All three parts of ACCUPLACER must be completed at one sitting.  It is very important to inform the test proctor if you are testing under Ability to Benefit to insure you will be administered the correct tests. The regular ACCUPLACER  test cannot be used to validate Ability to Benefit.

If you meet the above qualifying scores, an Ability to Benefit form must be filled out and signed by the test proctor and an academic advisor. The signed Ability to Benefit form must be submitted to Student Services.

How can I prepare for the test?

Some examinees have found it helpful to brush up on their skills before testing. The following websites may be helpful.


Resources are also available in the MSC Okeson Library.

Tips for taking ACCUPLACER

  1. Relax! This is not a pass or fail test. ACCUPLACER was designed to help students succeed in college. Test scores help students and advisors identify academic strengths and weaknesses and determine which courses will most likely help students succeed.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep, eat a nutritious breakfast, and arrive at the testing room a few minutes early. These strategies can help examinees concentrate and gather their thoughts before testing.
  3. Pay careful attention to directions on each section of the test.
  4. Answer each question. ACCUPLACER is an adaptive test, which means that questions are chosen on the basis of each examinee’s answers to previous questions. You may change the answer on a particular question before moving ahead to another question, but you will not be able to return to a previous question. It is better to guess than to leave a question unanswered.
  5. Eliminate one or more of the choices on difficult questions. This reduces the chance of choosing a wrong answer.

Make an appointment


Day of the test

  1. Plan to arrive at the Learning Resource Center (LRC) in OLB 121 at least 10 minutes early.
  2. If you have not paid in advance, pay the fee in the Campus Cache in JKB 109 and then bring your receipt to the LRC.
  3. You will be asked to show your receipt and a photo ID.
  4. Cell phones and other electronic devices are not allowed in the testing center. All purses, bags, books and notes must be left outside the testing room. Secure lockers are available.
  5. Food and drinks are not allowed in the testing room.
  6. Babies and children are not allowed in the LRC and may not be left unattended elsewhere in the college.
  7. You will be asked to enter contact information (such as mailing address, phone number, and email) and to answer questions regarding your educational goals. This information is entered in the university database and is used by the advisors to help you choose the best courses.
  8. Since there is no time limit for taking any of the ACCUPLACER tests, make sure you allow enough time to complete each test. The average time for all tests is about 2 hours; however, times for individual testers can vary greatly.
  9. When you have finished taking the ACCUPLACER test, you will be asked to  print a score report that contains the names of the tests you took, the scores for each test, and the courses  for which you may register.
  10. It is recommended that you make an appointment in Student Services to meet with an advisor to review your scores and course registration options.