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MSJC > Student Services > Assessment and Placement > MSJC Assessment FAQs

MSJC Assessment FAQs


Here are the most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) about MSJC's Assessment Test.

  • What is assessment?

Assessment is a placement tool that measures a student’s basic skill level in reading, writing and mathematics.  By determining a student’s skill level, the assessment helps to place the student at a level where s/he has the best opportunity for success.  Mt. San Jacinto Community College District uses an adaptive computerized placement program, to assess your basic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics.

  • What do I need to bring to the placement test?

A photo ID (Driver's license, school ID, etc.). Note: You will not be admitted without a photo ID. Dictionaries, textbooks, notes and other such study aids are not permitted.

  • Is an appointment necessary?

No. All assessments are done on a walk-in, first-come, first-served basis during regular office hours. The Assessment Center provides this convenient system to meet the needs of our students' busy schedules. (Please Note: The test requires a minimum of 2 hours to complete, so it is best to arrive 2 hours before lunch or 2 hours before the assessment center closes.)

  • How are assessment results used?

The assessment results are used to determine your placement into MSJC's reading, writing and mathematics courses. These placements provide the student with the best opportunity for success according to their assessed skill levels. Assessment results are used for initial or your first placement into MSJC courses only. Once you have taken a college reading, writing or mathematics course, the assessment cannot be re-taken. 

The coursework and curriculum will guide your skills for further advancement into higher courses. 

  • What does the assessment measure?

ACCUPLACER is an adaptive test. This means that the questions are chosen for you on the basis of your answers to previous questions. This technique selects just the right questions for your ability level. In other words, the computerized assessment "zeroes-in" to determine both the level of difficulty and the number of questions offered based on your previous responses. The assessment measures your basic academic proficiencies in the following areas:

    • Reading: measures your ability to locate specific information in text and to make logical inferences within the context of the information given.
    • Writing: measures your understanding of appropriate usage in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, organization, and writing style.
    • Math: measures your knowledge and skills in arithmetic, algebraic concepts, and trigonometric functions and identities. The assessment begins with basic math operations, progressing into higher levels of math concepts as questions are answered correctly.

  • How quickly will I receive my assessment test scores?
    Results will be available within a few minutes of completing the assessment. Meet with a counselor for more information about how your placements fit into your academic, program and career goals.
  • How long does the assessment take?

The assessment is not timed, allowing you to proceed at your own pace. For planning purposes, you should allow yourself about two hours to complete the full assessment (Reading, Writing, and Math).

  • Can I bring a calculator?

    Calculators are not permitted. Scratch paper will be provided.
  • How often can I take the placement test?

Once; however under certain circumstances (i.e. students with placement tests three years or older; recent high school graduates who have not completed college coursework in mathematics, English or reading) may be eligible to retake the placement test prior to course registration. Students that have taken the placement test and have extenuating circumstances should consult a counselor prior to requesting a retest.

  • What if I've taken a placement test at another community college?

Students that have taken placement tests approved by the California Community Colleges System Office* at another college may bring documentation to the Counseling Department for placement into MSJC courses. The documentation must identify the college, placement test, courses (for example, English 200) where you were placed and your placement scores.

  • Are there resources or a website to prepare for the test or take a practice test?

Yes, the College Board offers information about the test as well as a sample test.

Another web resource is Test Prep Review**. Click on the Accuplacer practice, then scroll down and you will see a list of Self-Assessment Modules. Click on the practice session you would like to use

  • What if English is not my first language?

MSJC offers English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.  To determine your placement into ESL courses, MSJC administers the Combined English Language Skills Assessment (CELSA) for placing non-native English speakers into English and Reading courses.

  • Can my Assessment Scores be used at another college? (minimum of 10 business days)
  • If the college will accept scores from MSJC, complete the Assessment Score Request Form and return to Assessment Center to have your scores sent to that college.

*  except locally managed tests

**Accuplacer is a registered trademark of the College Entrance Examination Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this website. online courses are provided as a free service to the internet community.
MSJC does not endorse or require you to purchase any of the sponsor's products.