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Reading and Writing Placement Testing

All incoming first-year students will compose a brief essay off campus, on their own time, and then come to campus to take the ACCUPLACER Reading Comprehension test. 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. Our English Department offers sample student essays along with feedback to help incoming first-year students prepare for the writing placement essay. 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:

Incoming first-year students will complete the essay portion of their placement testing off campus, on their own time, and submit it at least one week before coming on campus for their ACCUPLACER math and reading placement testing appointment. The Admissions Office will begin sending New First-Year Student Checklists in early April to students who have submitted their deposit. This checklist will provide directions on how to access essay submission guidelines and instructions.

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, who will then place students into the composition course most appropriate for their skill level. 

A satisfactory essay should develop a central idea in response to the essay prompt. 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.

To view sample essays with faculty commentary, click here to download our essay prep packet.

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.

We do not offer rewrites of English placement essays or English placement tests. Unlike mathematics, all introductory writing courses award college credit.

In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), students who wish to transfer their placement test results to another institution, or obtain a copy of their placement test score report(s), must fill out and submit an official placement test score transcript request form.

Click here to download the placement test score transcript request form. +