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Placement Examination Information


Who should take placement tests?

Students entering the University arrive with varying levels of competence in reading, writing, and math. It is important that all students entering the University begin taking courses at a level that is conducive to their continued success. ACT scores and coursework completed through regionally accredited colleges and universities are considered for placement at SIUE. If you have not achieved the minimum ACT sub-scores or completed appropriate coursework required to be exempt from testing, you need to take SIUE's placement examination before registering.

How are testing needs determined?

Placement into certain English courses is determined by your ACT Sub-scores in Reading and Writing. Please follow the chart below to determine your course. If you wish to place into a higher course, you will be required to take a placement test. The higher score will be used to determine final placement.


Course Eligibility

ACT Sub-score

COMPASS Test Score


AD 090 - Basic Writing I

< 18

< 80

AD 092 - Basic Writing II

19 - 20

> 81 - 90

English 101

> 21

> 91


AD 080

0 - 13

0 - 60

AD 082

14 - 17

61 - 80

AD 116

18 - 20

81 - 87


> 21

> 88

In addition, enrollment in math courses is restricted to students with appropriate preparation. While math is not required for all degree programs, students interested in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics, medical technology, physics, pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-veterinary medicine, or pre-pharmacy are advised to plan accordingly for math enrollment. If you believe your ACT sub-score is not an accurate reflection of your competence in math, you may elect to complete, before you enroll, SIUE's placement exam for more appropriate placement.

The chemistry readiness examination is required if you plan to major in one of the above programs (except mathematics) unless you have taken a college general chemistry course equivalent to CHEM 121A at SIUE or scored a 23 or above on the math portion of the ACT test.

I know my math sub-score; what math course am I eligible for?

Placement into math courses is based on your ACT math sub-score. Please refer to the chart below to determine the math course into which you will be placed. Placement testing will allow us to place you into the highest level math course you are eligible for based on your placement exam score.


Math Course Eligibility

ACT Sub-score

COMPASS Test Score


AD 070 - Beginning Algebra

0 - 20

0 - 45

AD 095 - Intermediate Algebra

21 - 22

46 - 65

Math 120 - College Algebra

23 - 25

66 - 100 Algebra Test

0 - 45 College Algebra Test

Math 125 - Pre-Calculus

26 - 27

46 - 100 College Algebra Test

0 - 45 Trigonometry Test

Math 150 - Calculus I

28 - 36

46 - 100 Trigonometry Test

I have transfer credit; what math course am I eligible for?

If you have received credit for math courses that have been accepted as equivalent to SIUE's AD 095 or higher, for placement purposes these courses will be acknowledged as if you have completed them at SIUE. (Note: a grade of C or higher will be required). You may review your accepted transfer courses on your transcript in CougarNet.

If you did not complete AD 095 or higher and you plan to enroll in math courses at SIUE, you should plan to take SIUE's placement exam before registering to ensure appropriate placement.

I have taken the ACT more than once; which scores will be used for placement?

SIUE will acknowledge for placement purposes the highest sub-score on file.

What if I do not take my placement tests?

Students who do not take placement tests are placed in the course for which they qualify based on ACT sub-scores or coursework. Since academic development courses do not count as credit toward graduation, this can hinder a student's progress toward graduation.

What types of placement tests are offered?

The placement tests are designed to measure whether you have developed proficiency in:

Intermediate Algebra: The math placement test is a multiple choice test with topics ranging from arithmetic through calculus and analytic geometry. Strong math skills are needed for enrollment in any natural science or math class. Calculators are not allowed on the math placement test.

College Level Reading: The reading placement test is a multiple-choice test designed to assess how well participants can read college-level passages and answer questions about those passages. Strong reading skills are needed for all General Education courses.

Writing: The writing test is a timed essay. Participants will write a 350-word essay, three to five paragraphs in length, choosing one of three provided topics. The essay will be evaluated on topic development, logic, organization, mechanics, and grammar. Strong writing skills are needed for enrollment in any introductory General Education course.

Chemistry Readiness: The chemistry readiness test assesses skills in the areas of math, general basic chemistry, and specific chemistry knowledge. Students planning to major in Engineering, Computer Science, Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Medical Technology, Pre-Medicine, Pre-Dentistry, Pre-Veterinary Medicine, or Pre-Pharmacy are required to take the Chemistry Readiness Test unless they scored 23 or above on the ACT math test. (or 570 or above on the SAT) Only non-programmable scientific calculators are allowed on this test. Programmable calculators such as the TI-89 and TI-92 are not allowed on this test.

What else do I need to know?

You need to bring a photo ID and #2, soft lead pencils.

Students will be required to provide their CougarNet Student ID Number during the registration process for placement exams. The CougarNet Student ID Number was assigned by the Office of Admissions, is nine digits long, and begins with the number 8. Students must bring their CougarNet Student ID Number to the Placement Test.

If you are taking the Chemistry Readiness Test, you may bring a calculator. Scientific calculators are acceptable. You MAY NOT bring programmable calculators such as the TI-89 or TI-92.

You may wish to bring a sweater or light jacket due to variations in room temperatures.

When you park on campus, you should park in Visitor Parking Lot B. Parking Lot B is a "pay" lot. Currently, there is a charge of $1.00 per hour to park in lot. Make sure you have enough money to cover the time you will be on campus. A map to campus can be found here: Visitor Parking Lot B

What happens after I take my placement tests?

A minimum of three days is needed to process placement tests. If placement test results indicate that you need to strengthen your skills in writing, reading, or mathematics, you will be required to take a developmental course to refine your skills and prepare you for college level classes. If the Chemistry Readiness test shows that you are not ready for General Chemistry, you will be required to take CHEM 113 Intro to Chemistry prior to enrolling in General Chemistry.

For additional information, you may contact Testing Services in the Student Success Center - Office 1246, phone 618-650-1246.

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