Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Do I need to take the placement test?
- How do I find out about the placement test?
- When should I take the placement test?
- What if I live out-of-town?
- What is the test like?
- What if I have taken the SAT or ACT?
- What if I have a disability?
- What if I took the placement test at another school?
- Should I study for the test?
- How should I prepare for the placement test?
- What if I experience test anxiety?
- What if I fail the test?
Most students need to take the placement test but there are some exceptions. If you have successfully completed (grade "C" or better) developmental work at another NC community college under the semester system OR you are transferring college level work, you may be exempt from the placement test. Our Admissions Counselors can help you answer questions about transferable courses.
When you submit your admissions application you will receive a testing schedule and information you need to know about placement testing. You will also receive a test review which has sample test questions and additional information about placement testing.
When you arrive to take the placement test, you will need to give the test administrator your picture I.D. A picture I.D. is required to take the placement test.
You can also take the placement test at a school that is closer to you or locate a proctor to give you the test. Please see the section What if I live out-of-town?
The placement test is given year round at Pitt Community College with the exception of a few weeks. You can take it after you complete your admissions application. It is okay to test several weeks or even months before you start classes because your scores are good for three years. If you are a high school student applying to PCC, you may want to test near the time you are studying for end-of-grade tests so that your skills are fresh.
The placement test is usually given on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays during specific lab hours. Additional hours are available during peak times. However, you should call or e-mail the Testing Coordinator to confirm the schedule before you plan to attend to make sure the lab will be open.
If it is not convenient for you to take the placement test in Greenville, NC, you may contact a community college in your area to see if you can take the placement test with their testing center. For more information about taking the placement test at another school please visit the Distance Learning portion of the PCC Placement Testing Website.
At PCC, we administer the Accuplacer placement test. Accuplacer is a computerized test that is adapted to each student's skill level. It is untimed and you DO NOT have to be familiar with computers to use it. The test is given on a walk-in basis during certain lab hours. The test takes approximately 2 hours to complete and you will receive your scores as soon as you finish.
If you cannot take the test on the computer, please contact the Placement Testing Office to learn about the ASSET Test.
We offer waivers for the placement test based on your SAT or ACT scores. You must provide proof of the score(s) to either an Admissions Counselor or the Testing Coordinator. A waiver will exempt you from one or both parts of the placement test and you will be able to start in the college level course(s) required for your curriculum. Cut scores for waivers are as follows:
|Verbal section: a score of 500 or more will exempt you from our English placement test||English and reading section : an averaged score of 20 or more will exempt you from the English placement test.|
|Math section: a score of 500 or more will exempt you from our math placement test.||Math section: a score of 23 or more will exempt you from our math placement test.|
|Minimum scores are subject to change without notice.|
If you have a condition that may warrant special testing accommodations (for example: extended time, large print, a reader, or interpreter) that includes but is not limited to visual, hearing, physical impairments, and learning disabilities, you should contact the Disability Services Office at (252) 493-7557. They will work with you to determine the best accommodations for you.
Hundreds of placement tests are given across the United States. There is no way to know how all of these tests relate, so we must limit the types that we can accept. PCC accepts the COMPASS, ASSET, and Accuplacer. If you took any of these tests at another school, we will gladly accept them. Just have them sent to the PCC Testing Coordinator and then check back with the coordinator to make sure they were received. If you took a test other than these three, you may have to test again. Visit the chart on the Distance Learning portion of the PCC Placement Testing website for more informtion about the sections of each placement test PCC accepts.
This is up to you. Some people prefer not to study because they do not want to inflate their scores by studying and then be placed into a course too difficult for them. Others prefer to refresh their memories on skill areas that they know but just need to brush-up on. For example, you may have a good grasp on fractions, but because you haven't used them in a long time, you may need a review to get you back up to speed. When you contact an Admissions Counselor, he or she can give you a review that includes general information about the placement test and some sample items.
At this time, there is no study guide created by The College Board, the makers of Accuplacer. Placement Testing has created a website to help you prepare for the test. For instructions to access this website click here.
When you sit down to take the placement test, you should be feeling your best. If you are sick or you have a crisis at home, you should probably not test because you may not be at your peak. You should also get plenty of sleep the night before. The placement test takes concentration and it is hard to concentrate when you are fatigued. If you plan to review, make sure you have reviewed before you arrive for the test. Sitting outside the testing lab reviewing is usually not very helpful. It can also cause some anxiety if you are trying to cram some last minute information. Being calm, cool, and collected is the best way to be prepared!
For most people, test taking can be pretty stressful. However, some stress is good because it makes your body more alert, thus possibly enhancing your performance. But, too much stress can be debilitating and can cause a prepared person to freeze during the test, resulting in decreased concentration and difficulty understanding the test questions. There are ways to minimize stress during the test. Keep the following things in mind:
- This test is not a measure of your intelligence; it is merely a tool used to place you in the courses where you will be the most successful.
- Get plenty of rest the night before. Trying to concentrate when you are tired is very difficult and can add to anxiety.
- Eat a good breakfast or lunch. If you are hungry when you are testing, you can become distracted with thoughts of food. Eating junk food before the test is not a good idea.
- Arrive a little before you plan to test and collect your thoughts. Practice deep, slow breathing to slow your heart rate.
- Do not drink too much coffee or caffeinated drinks. The caffeine can add to your jitters.
- Replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Do not get caught up in the thought that you're not going to do well. Think of testing successes you have had in the past.
- Relax and keep things in perspective. This test will not determine your entire future!
The placement test is not a pass or fail test. The test is used to place you into classes that will challenge you as a student while allowing you to be successful. This test will not deny your admission to PCC.