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Testing Services

Reading and Writing Placement Testing

All incoming first-year students will take the Reading Comprehension test and will compose a short essay. Incoming transfer students may need to take the Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills tests if they have never completed and successfully transferred a college-level composition course. If you are a transfer student, you will be informed which exams and assessments you need prior to registration.

Other than the essay, each test is multiple choice and computer-based; questions are untimed so that you can give each question as much thought as you wish.

CollegeBoard offers official sample questions and test prep applications for all ACCUPLACER exams. Students are also encouraged to visit the Writing Studio in the Academic Achievement Center for free one-on-one tutoring in writing. Click on the links below to access a particular resource:

On placement testing day, all incoming first-year students will be asked to write an essay, which will inform English composition course placement. This essay measures students' ability to write effectively--a critical component of academic success. Essays will be read by a panel of English faculty members at BSU. Essay topics remain secret and are disclosed to students only during new student orientation.

Students will have 60 minutes to complete the essay. A satisfactory essay should develop a central idea in response to the prompt delivered on test day. Ideas in the essay should be organized into logical paragraphs that include specific details and connect to the author's central idea.

In addition, faculty readers expect students to:

  • Make a central claim about the topic;
  • Provide supporting reasons and evidence for all claims;
  • Recognize the complexities of the topic;
  • Display competence in logical development and organization;
  • Display competence in sentence variety, paragraph development, and usage.

The Sentence Skills test, comprised of 20 questions, measures your understanding of sentence structure--what makes a sentence complete and clear. Some questions deal with the logic of the sentence, and others with the relationships between two sentences.

The Reading Comprehension test, comprised of 20 questions, measures your ability to understand what you read, to identify main ideas and to make inferences. You need to distinguish between direct statements and secondary or supporting ideas.

During your time as a BSU student, you may take the Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills placement tests a total of three times (you cannot rewrite your essay). Your first attempt is free; subsequent attempts cost $10, payable on test day by Visa, Mastercard, or personal check. We recommend that you refer to our "Resources and Test Preparation" section and spend some time reviewing before attempting a retest.

Retests are held in our office during our office hours. To schedule a retest, give us a call at 508-531-1780, or click here to schedule your appointment online. If you're using our online scheduling tool, you should select English Placement Exam - Retest" as your service.