Placement Testing Q & A | MVCC | Mohawk Valley Community College
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Questions and Answers: Placement Testing

What is on the test?

The MVCC placement test is an Accuplacer test that measures skill level in 3 areas: writing, reading and math.  The scores from these three areas are used to place the student in their first semester's math and English courses, while identifying any reading remediation that may be required.  Sample questions and video tutorials can be found in the links menu on the right side of our page.

How long are placement test scores valid?

English and reading scores are valid for up to 3 years while math scores are only good for one year.  If a student is re-matriculating and took only non-credit/developmental classes, they must re-test if their scores are no longer valid.

Will I be able to retake the placement test?

Retesting of any part of the placement test is not permitted under most circumstances. Questions regarding the retesting policy and any possible exceptions to it must be submitted to David Yahnke, Placement Testing Center Coordinator.

Can I take the assessment test closer to home?

Students living a significant distance from the college or selecting an online course may request to take the assessment test at a location closer to their home. This decision is made on an individual basis and is at the discretion of the coordinator of testing. Students interested in this option must call our Testing Center Office at (315) 731-5802. Students should note that there is usually a fee required by the remote testing site. After completing the test, the student will need to contact the Assessment and Testing Center for further instructions.


How long does the test take?

The time required for our test is different for every student as the test addresses different areas depending on the skill level of the student.  For example, if the student is proficient in math they will advance further into higher level math questions and will probably take longer as a result.  For most students the test takes no more than 2 hours, but please be aware that it can take longer.

Proctored Exam

Proctors are individuals that are responsible for supervising you as you take an exam.  Proctors are needed to ensure educational integrity while the student is taking the exam.  Examples of acceptable proctors are:

  • College Testing Center
  • College Librarian

Relatives, friends, or co-workers are NOT eligible to proctor exams.  If you have questions about proctor requirements, please call (315) 792-5458 or (315) 731-5802.  After you have found your proctor, please fill out our MVCC Proctor/Agreement/Request Form at least three (3) days before you plan to take the test.

Proctors must have a professional email address ending in .edu, .gov, etc.  Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail or similar addresses will NOT be accepted.

Service Charge

A service charge will be assessed for students looking to use MVCC's placement testing lab for proctored exams by other colleges.  If you have questions, please contact the Placement Testing Center.

ESL Testing

ESL stands for "English as a Second Language" and refers to students that require English language training before enrolling in college courses.  To enroll as an ESL student at MVCC, you must first take the same writing test as that taken by traditional students.  The results of this test determine whether or not you need to take the ESL placement test, which includes listening, vocabulary, grammar and reading sections.  Once you have taken the ESL test you will schedule your courses with members of our ESL faculty.

Can I transfer my scores to another college?

Unfortunately, we are unable to transfer scores from our test to other colleges as most institutions use customized versions of the Accuplacer test and our scores will not correlate with theirs.  However, if you are transferring to another school that uses the Accuplacer test we can proctor their placement exam for you in our testing lab.  Please contact our office at 315-731-5802 for further details on how to set up a remote test for another school. 

How do I know if I'm exempt from the test?

There are a few different ways that you can be exempted from taking our test.  The first is if you are transferring in a college level English or math from another college.  If you have transfer credit for either of these areas you are exempt from that portion of the test, respectively.  The other circumstance that may exempt you is if you have SAT/ACT scores from within the last 3 years.  SAT scores of over 500 in any of the three subject areas (reading, writing and math) exempts you from that portion of the test, respectively, as does an ACT score of over 21 in any of the same three subject areas.  A more detailed explanation of our exemption policy can be found in the links menu on the right side of our page. 

Additional Guidelines

Students with low reading scores:

Students with low reading scores (below 46) should be limited to the minimum full-time course load including DS051, ED112, EN099, and other courses that do not require significant textbook reading such as: PE, ED100, AA107, or courses in studio art or trades.

What if a student tests into EN101/EN110 AND DS051 or DS090?

Students who test into EN101 or EN110 and DS090 should be placed into EN106.  EN106 is a 4 credit hybrid class that counts the same as EN101/EN110 toward degree requirements.

What is the difference between MA089, MA090 and MA091?

MA089 Arithmetic:

This course is designed for students who, according to placement test results, need preparation for subsequent mathematics courses.  It develops basic skills by focusing on language and concepts.  Topics include whole number, integers, rational numbers and decimals.

MA090 Essential Math Skills:

This course is for students enrolled in non-STEM majors who, according to placement test results, need preparation for subsequent mathematics courses.  It improves problem solving skills with an emphasis placed on applications.  Topics include arithmetic, computations, measurement, geometry, percentages, ratio and proportion, linear equations and introduction to graphing lines.  Pre-requisite: An appropriate placement test score or MA089 Arithmetic.

MA091 Introductory Algebra:

This course is for students enrolled in STEM majors or for student who need to take either MA115 or MA171, who, according to placement test results, need preparation for subsequent mathematics courses.  It improves basic skills and an understanding of elementary algebra.  Topics include arithmetic computations, measurement and geometry, percentages, ratio and proportion, linear equations, polynomials and an introduction to graphing lines.  Pre-requisite: An appropriate placement test score or MA089 Arithmetic.


How should a student decide between MA108, MA110, or MA115?

Students who have plans to transfer or reach higher levels of math should ALWAYS choose to take MA115 (Intermediate Mathematics).  MA115 is a prerequisite to a number of upper level math classes at MVCC and other institutions. MA110 (Elementary Statistics) always transfers; however it will not assist the student who needs to take an upper level math course.  MA108 (Concepts of Mathematics) should only be taken when a student’s degree program does not require a higher level math course.