Schedule Placement Test
We strongly encourage you to test well before the start of the semester in which you plan to enroll. If you receive your placement results early, you can take full advantage of our advising services and have a better choice of classes.
We make it convenient for you to test by offering a variety of times each week. Exact days and times for tests are determined four to six weeks in advance.
If you have a documented disability and would like to request testing accommodations, call the disabilities coordinator at (203) 857-7192. Please contact the coordinator before you schedule a test.
In most cases retesting is not allowed, so we encourage you to be serious and committed to doing your best. Schedule your test for a time when you will not be distracted or rushed. Most students complete the test in approximately 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Please plan to be here for at least that amount of time.
Please choose one of the following
Many of our courses, regardless of the subject area, require certain English skills. You should take the Basic Skills English test (1) if English is your first language or (2) if English is your second language but you graduated from a U.S. high school with all four years of mainstream English (not ESL) classes.
If you are pursuing a degree at NCC or planning to enroll in courses with a math requirement, you will also have to take the math section of the Basic Skills test. ESL students should wait to get their ESL results before signing up for a math test.
If you have passed college-level English or math courses or achieved certain scores on the SAT test, you may be exempt from all or part of the Basic Skills test. For more information about exemptions, click here.
For more information about the different sections of the Basic Skills test and how to prepare for it, click here.
English as a Second Language
If English is not your first language, in most cases you should take the ESL Test, which is specially designed to measure the skills of students like you & those who are not native speakers of English. The test will determine your ESL level or place you into a mainstream English course if that is more appropriate for you.
The test has two parts: (1) 40 multiple-choice questions on grammar, vocabulary, sentence structure, and reading comprehension, and (2) an essay you will write by hand.
The test is in English, and all instructions are given in English. You cannot use a dictionary or an electronic translator, and you cannot bring friends or family members into the testing room to interpret for you. We want to measure your English skills in order to match you with the class that can best help you.
What the Basic Skills Test Covers
The test contains two sections, with 20 questions in each.
Reading Comprehension: This test measures your ability to understand what you read. Some items will ask you to read a short passage and then answer a question about it. Other items will consist of two sentences followed by a question about the relationship between them.
Sentence Skills: This test measures your understanding of sentence structure — how sentences are put together and what makes a sentence complete and clear.
Note: Sometimes the scores on these two sections might not give us a complete indication of your English skills, and we will require you to do an additional assessment, either an essay or a reading retest, which will be evaluated by an English professor. Like the computer sections, an essay or a reading retest is not timed, but most students take about 45 minutes to an hour to finish it.
There are three sections — Arithmetic, Elementary Algebra, and College-Level Math — each of which contains between 12 and 20 questions. You will start the math test with the Elementary Algebra section. Depending on your score, you may end the math test at that point or you may be required to take either Arithmetic or College-Level Math.
Elementary Algebra: This test measures your ability to perform basic algebraic operations, such as those with integers and rational numbers, and to solve equations and word problems that involve elementary algebraic concepts.
Arithmetic: This test measures your ability to perform basic arithmetic operations — addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division — and to solve problems with whole numbers, fractions, percents, and decimals.
College-Level Math: This test measures your ability to solve problems involving college-level mathematics concepts such as intermediate algebra, functions, and trigonometry.
How to Prepare for the Basic Skills Test
Remind yourself of test-taking strategies that have worked well for you in the past.
Practice solving some math problems with paper and pencil. We do not allow you to bring a calculator with you, and an on-screen calculator is available only for certain questions.
If you have not taken math courses recently, you may want to look over math notes, textbooks, or other material to refresh your memory. A short amount of review before the test may enable you to place out of a course that covers math topics you have already studied.