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
Using a computer, you will write an essay of approximately 2 pages in length. You will select one of three topics to focus your essay response. You are allowed to use a dictionary, "Rules of Thumb" grammar handbook, spelling and grammar check, and scratch paper.
An effective essay will include each of the following:
- A thesis or main idea;
- Several paragraphs of sufficient, relevant, and specific detail or examples related to the topic selected based on your experience, observations, or readings;
- Good organization, including an introduction, several body paragraphs, and a conclusion;
- Correct grammar, spelling, and sentence structure.
Before you turn in your completed essay, you should proofread (reread and correct) your essay. Allow two hours to adequately write the essay. English placement test results will be available within 5 business days. Please plan accordingly to have the English placement test results completed prior to registration. All placement test results can be viewed on the accessECC portal. Need log in help? Get instructions
Your writing placement results expire in 5 years. If you do not complete your first ECC writing course within 5 years, you will need to redo your essay. Once you have completed an English class at ECC, you may retest only if you receive permission from your instructor or the placement coordinator.
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
We offer a variety of workshops and practice tests to help you prepare for placement exams, and we encourage you to make the most of them. The more you practice, the better you’ll do!
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. 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.