Mat-Su College offers many different testing services in the Learning Center. This section includes information about the ACCUPLACER placement test. Students may schedule a test appointment online by going to the link above.
For information on other testing services such as distance education, CLEP and DSST, PearsonVUE, and Praxis testing go to TESTING.
For placement testing hours please visit TLC HOURS.
Students registering for English and/or Math courses for the first time must take the ACCUPLACER test for placement purposes unless they have appropriate SAT or ACT scores. Assessment tests may also be required prior to enrollment in certain other courses and programs. These tests measure competency in math, reading, and/or written composition and enable an academic advisor to determine the appropriate entry level of instruction.
Before making an appointment for the ACCUPLACER placement test please read the following:
If you are taking a placement test for a school or college other than Mat-Su College, including UAS, please contact that school to arrange for a remote placement test at MSC.
Before taking a placement test for a college within the University of Alaska system you must have a UA student ID number.
- You may already have a student ID number if you have ever taken a credit or non-credit class at any UA campus or a high school Tech Prep class. Click here to look up your UA student ID number.
- If you do not have a UA student ID number, you can obtain one through UAOnline. This is for prospective students (never enrolled in the University of Alaska System) who plan to set up an advising appointment or take a placement test at one of the University of Alaska Anchorage sites. This process establishes you in our computer system as a prospective student and helps advisors correctly identify you when you set up an appointment. This also establishes a UA ID number for you. Click here to set up a UA Student ID. After a few days, check for your ID number here.
What is ACCUPLACER?
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 charge. If taken at different times, there is a charge for each test session.
The math test starts with Elementary Algebra and automatically continues into College Math if the percentage of correct answers is high enough to move up. Alternatively, if questions are answered incorrectly the program will drop down to Arithmetic. The test will stop when it determines where you should be placed. Generally, the better your math skills, the longer the test will take.
How long are my scores valid for placement?
ACCUPLACER scores which place students into English courses are valid for two years. Scores which place students into mathematics courses are valid for one year. Computer Skills Placement scores are valid for two years.
Do I need to take the ACCUPLACER test if I’ve taken the ACT or SAT?
If ACT or SAT English or Math scores meet the minimum requirement as stated in the current MSC Catalog, ACCUPLACER placement testing is not required. If you have SAT and ACT scores for English, please consult an academic advisor for your placement. ACT and SAT scores in Math are good for one year.
Do I need to make an appointment?
Yes. Appointments are required to take a test. Appointments may be scheduled online or by calling the Learning Center.
What is the cost?
A $15 fee is charged for each testing session. Please pay at the Campus Cache located in JKB 109 prior to taking the test. Plan to arrive at least 10 minutes early in order to pay and check in at the testing center.
Where do I take the test?
Computerized testing is available in the Learning Center located in OLB 121, across from the Library.
Do I need to bring anything with me?
Bring a photo ID and your receipt as proof of payment. You need to know your university student ID number if you are planning to attend any UA campus. If you do not have a student ID number, you may stop by Student Services prior to taking your placement test and ask about obtaining a number. You may not bring a calculator into the testing room; however a pop-up calculator will appear on your test when one is allowed. Scratch paper and pencils are provided. Call 745-9772 for more information.
Can I take the test if I will be attending a college other than MSC?
Yes, MSC is a remote testing site for both ACCUPLACER and Compass and can administer a placement test for other schools and colleges in or outside of Alaska. Contact the testing center at the school you will be attending to arrange for a remote test at MSC. Please allow at least 24 hours for testing information to be received. Call 745-9772 to make an appointment and to make sure we have the necessary test information from your school.
Can I retest?
Yes, the mathematics retest policy states that 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. For English, testers may retest once within 10 working days or until the add/drop deadline, whichever comes first. The $15 test fee must be paid each time the ACCUPLACER test is taken. Placement will be determined using the higher of the two test scores. Before retaking the test you may want to review some of the practice questions on the collegeboard.com website under ACCUPLACER 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, and 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?
If it has been awhile since you have taken a math or writing class you may want to brush up on your skills before testing. The following websites may be helpful to you.
- ACCUPLACER Sample Questions for Students (Revised December 2007) (.pdf/241k) Requires Adobe Reader
Resources are also available in the MSC Okeson Library.
Tips for Taking ACCUPLACER
- Relax! ACCUPLACER was designed to help you succeed in college. Your score helps you and your advisor determine which courses are most appropriate for your current level of knowledge and skills. Once you identify your academic strengths and needs, you can get the help you need to improve underdeveloped skills before they can interfere with your learning.
- You will be able to concentrate better on the test if you eat properly and get plenty of rest prior to the test. You should also arrive a few minutes early so you can find the testing area, bathrooms, etc., and gather your thoughts before the test begins.
- Pay careful attention to directions, and be sure you understand the directions before you begin each test.
- You should understand that this is an adaptive test. 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; you may change the answer on a particular question before you move ahead to another question.
- If you do not know the answer to a question, try to eliminate one or more of the choices. Keep in mind that once you have answered a question and advance to the next one, you cannot go back. It is better to guess than to leave a question unanswered.
Day of the test
- Plan to arrive at the Learning Center in OLB 121 at least 10 minutes early.
- You should be well rested and have had something to eat before you come.
- If you have not paid in advance, pay the $15 fee in the Campus Cache in JKB 109 and then bring your receipt to the Learning Center.
- You will be asked to show your receipt and a photo ID.
- 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. A secured area to store your personal belongings is available.
- Food and drinks are not allowed in the testing room.
- Babies and children are not allowed in the testing room and may not be left unattended in the hallway or the Library.
- Before beginning the test, a proctor will give instructions. You will be asked several demographic questions and questions regarding your educational goals. This information is used by the advisors to help you choose the best classes for you.
- The first test will be Reading Comprehension, followed by Sentence Skills and Math. 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 1.5 to 2 hours (approximately 30 minutes each for Reading, Math and Sentence Skills; however, times for individual testers can vary greatly.
- When you have finished taking the ACCUPLACER test, a report will print with your scores for each section of the assessment as well as a related placement course for English and Math. It is recommended that you meet with an advisor to review your scores.