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Frequently Asked Questions

Select a topic below to see frequently asked questions about them.

Why do I need a placement test? 
The purpose of placement is to ensure that you begin your college experience at the appropriate course level and to help facilitate future success in your college career. Your test results will assist you and your counselor to select appropriate classes.

Who needs placement?

  • New and returning students having a goal of transferring to a four-year college or university. 
  • Students earning a vocational certificate
  • Students earning an Associate degree
  • Students who would like to take a course with an English or Math prerequisite

What do I need to do prior to taking the placement test(s)? 
You must file an online application for admission and complete the new student orientation, or demonstrate an orientation exemption, prior to placement testing.

How long do I need to wait to take a test after submitting my application? 
Please allow 24-48 hours processing time for the online application prior to testing to obtain a student ID number (G-Number) in order to access your orientation and to schedule your testing appointment.

Can I make an appointment to take the placement test?
You can sign-up for a test date on WebSMART or schedule an appointment at the computer located at the Assessment Center at Bldg. 2, computer lab 2116.

What do I need to bring on the day of the test? 
Your valid photo identification (ie: state-issued photo ID card, passport, school issued photo ID card, employee ID card, military ID, etc.) AND your Orientation Certificate of Achievement (or a demonstration that you are exempt from orientation).

Do I need to pay for the test(s)? 
No. All tests are free of charge for students with the intention of attending Skyline College.

How can I review sample questions prior to testing? 
Please review preparation and tutorials from the Practice Questions link.

How early should I come to take the placement tests? 
Please arrive 10 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment for check-in and allow ample time to complete the appropriate tests.

  • English placement test: approximately 1.5 hour
  • Math placement test:     approximately 1 hour
  • ESOL placement tests:  approximately 2 hours

I do not know how to use a computer. Can I still take the placement tests? 
No. Please schedule a counseling appointment to see a counselor at Bldg. 2 to assist you with your class selection and educational planning.

I took an placement test at another California community college. Can I use the test results and be exempt from the placement testing at Skyline College? 
Depends on when and where you completed the placement tests. Please make an appointment with a counselor by calling 650-738-4318 and the counselor will assist you.

I'm currently taking classes at a different college, but I want to take the placement tests and possibly take a higher level of English, Math, or ESOL course at Skyline College. Can I do that?
Yes. You may first want to bring your unofficial transcript and placement results from the other college and see a Skyline College counselor to check on it's present equivalency. You may be not need to take the placement test.

I forgot my photo ID, can I still take the placement test? 
No. You MUST present a valid photo identification with your full name printed in order for proctors to verify your identity.

I do not have a photo ID. What should I do? 
You may bring other official documentation with a recent photo, such as a passport, a recent DMV receipt, or a recent high school yearbook.

Can I use a calculator or dictionary when taking the placement tests? 
No dictionary. No personal calculators. A built-in calculator on the computerized test is available for use.

Are there special accommodations for students with disabilities? 
Yes, students who have a physical, visual, communication or learning disability may be eligible to take your placement test at the DRC computer lab. We recommend you contact the DRC (Disability Resource Center) located in Building 5, room 5132 or call the DRC office at (650) 738-4280.

How many questions are there in the placement tests?

Computerized English Test (No Time Limit)
Part I: Reading Comprehension - 23+ questions 
Part II: Sentence/ Writing Skills - 25+ questions

Computerized ESOL Test (No Time Limit)
Part I: Reading Skills - 20+ questions 
Part II: Language Use - 20+ questions
Part III: Listening Skills - 20 questions

Computerized Mathematics Test (No Time Limit)
adaptive to student skill levels (starting at Algebra)

When will I get my test results? 
Your placement results will be available on WebSMART approximately one (1) hour after completing the placement.

Can you tell me my test results over the phone or via e-mail? 
No. Test results are confidential and are disclosed via WebSMART or in a meeting with a counselor to discuss your placement results and course options.

What should I do after I finish my placement test? 
After the completion of both your English/ESOL and Math placements, please proceed with scheduling an appointment with counseling. A counselor will assist you with your class selection and educational planning. If you are exempt from placements and/or orientation, please check your WebSMART account to view your registration appointment.

I took an English, Math, or ESOL class/ placement test, but I dropped or withdrew from it, can I retake the placement test? 
Yes, if you did NOT receive a final grade for the class, you are not currently enrolled in the subject you are retesting for, or you have not taken the same test twice within the past two years, you may take the placement test(s) one additional time within a 2-year period.

What happens if I fail my placement test? 
The placement test are NOT assessed as Pass or Fail. The placement tests are NOT admission tests. The tests examine your present competency level in English/ ESOL or Math.

Can I retake the placement test? If so, when? 
If a student does not accept the recommended placement, he/she may retake the same placement test one (1) additional time within a two-year period. In order to retake the same test, the student must not have completed a course in the sequence and must wait a minimum of 14 days from the initial test date. Math placement test results are valid for two years.