Taking placement tests can help you enroll in the right courses at Elgin Community College.
ECC offers placement tests designed to measure your academic skill levels before you register for class, helping ensure that you sign up for classes at the right academic level.
If you’re taking placement tests, we strongly encourage you to prepare by taking practice tests or sign up for our workshops to help you prepare.
Save yourself time and money by preparing for your placement tests. The scores you receive on each placement test will determine which courses you may take at ECC. Placing even one course higher can save a student almost $400. Research shows students who brush-up on their skills prior to taking placement test do far better than those who do not prepare. This is especially important for math skills, which quickly deteriorate when not frequently used.
Types of Placement Tests
The testing center offers the following placement tests:
- English Composition Writing Essay
- Math Placement Test
- Reading Placement Test
- Modern Language Placement Test
- English as a Second Language (ESL) Placement Test
- High School Equivalency/Pre-Equivalency Placement Test
- Placement Testing Workshops
You’ll have to take placement tests if:
- You’re pursuing an ECC degree or certificate program that requires you to satisfy writing, reading, and/or math minimum competency requirements. Review minimum competencies procedure for more information.
- You plan to enroll in courses requiring placement testing prerequisites, unless you can meet the prerequisites through ACT, SAT, PARRC, HiSET, or GED scores or prior college coursework
- Your ACT scores are below 20 in English, 18 in reading, or 23 in math
- Your SAT scores prior to March 2016 are below 540 on math, 450 on reading, or 490 on verbal
- Your SAT scores effective March 2016 are below 570 in math, and 530 on the combined Reading/Writing Test
- Your High School Equivalency GED math or reasoning through language arts scores are below 165
- Your High School Equivalency HiSET math score is below 15 and reading score is below 15 with English essay below 4.
ACT Math, SAT Math, and ALEKS® Math placement scores are valid for two years. ACT Reading or Writing, SAT Reading & Writing, and ECC’s Reading and Writing placement scores are valid for five years from the date the test is taken. All students must meet course prerequisites.
Placement tests are offered on a walk-in basis at the Testing Center anytime the center is open.
Most placement tests are not timed and in general take one to two hours to complete, so plan accordingly. To provide adequate time for you to complete your placement test you must begin a placement test no later than 7:30 p.m. on weekdays or 1:30 p.m. Fridays or Saturdays.
Here’s what to bring on test day:
- A positive attitude
- A photo ID
- Your ECC ID number
- No calculator allowed
Reading and math scores will be given to you after you take the placement test and are available online within 24 hours after you complete your test. English Essay placement test results may take up to 5 business days. All scores will be posted on the accessECC portal.
- Need help logging into accessECC portal? Get instructions
To interpret your scores, see our testing score summary chart. You will be sent information about your orientation date to the personal email address you provided when you applied.
If you’re not happy with your first attempt, you may retake the placement tests, provided you have not started a math, English, or reading course. You are encouraged to take our math assessment at least twice and spend time in the learning modules to help you brush-up on your skills. Practicing basic arithmetic without a calculator is a must! If you’re still not satisfied, you may appeal your placement. Review placement test appeal procedure for more information.
- Students do not need to complete all three placement tests on the same day. Each placement test may take longer than 2 hours. It is best to be rested before attempting another placement test to achieve the best score.
- All math placement including SAT, ACT, PARC, GED tests expire in two years. All English and reading placement tests including ACT, SAT, PARC, GED expire in 5 years.
- Students may take the reading and English placement test a second time provided they have not enrolled in a the sequence of reading or English courses. Once enrolled in the reading or English courses, a student may not take the English or reading placement test a second time unless they file an appeal.
- The ALEKS math placement test is designed to be taken 5 times within a year with 6 months of the learning module. Once a student enrolls in a math course, the student may not take the math placement test again unless they file an appeal.