Guidelines and Procedures

Revised January 8, 2018

Testing Taking Basics

Placement testing at Northeastern Illinois University is conducted using Accuplacer, a computerized placement test. The test is given by appointment only and is not timed. It is used to make sure that you register into the highest-level Writing, Reading and/or Mathematics courses that you are qualified to take, based on your current skill level. If you are a new student who has not taken college level coursework in mathematics or English you will be required to complete one or more subject area placement tests.

Students taking the full assessment (Math, Reading and Writing) should allow 2.5 hours for testing. Please arrive with a photo ID at your scheduled appointment time. Students arriving more than 10 minutes after their appointment may be forced to reschedule, please arrive on time.

Please call (773) 442-5293 or email to make an appointment.

An online study guide from Accuplacer is available as well as a free interactive app. We encourage students to practice prior to taking or retaking the placement test.

Placement Tests

  • A mathematics test (Math)
  • A sentence skills test (Writing)
  • A reading skills test (Reading)
  • A 300-600 word essay (Writing)

Testing Room Rules

  • No cell phones
  • No coats
  • No hats (unless for religious or cultural purposes)
  • No outside calculators
  • No additional testing aides
  • No children allowed
  • No talking

What Tests are Administered?

The placement testing policy requires entering and some re-entering students to take the following examinations except where stated exemption conditions have been met. ACT score validity (age of scores and requirements for submission) is defined by University guidelines.

Math Placement Test

All entering freshmen are given two options for placement into a math course: ACT math score or the math placement test. Freshmen who submit ACT scores to Northeastern can be placed directly into a math course solely based on their ACT math score. They also have the option of taking the math placement test, in which case Northeastern will use the higher of the two scores for placement into a math course. Since there is no penalty to taking the test, freshmen are strongly encouraged to do so, particularly if they took a math course in their senior year of high school.

All newly admitted and readmitted students who do not submit their ACT Math scores are required to take the mathematics placement test with the exception of the following:

  • Transfer students who have earned a grade of “C” or better in a course equivalent to Intermediate Algebra;
  • Transfer and readmitted students who have met the Math/Quantitative Reasoning Requirement; or
  • Students with a score of three or higher on the Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus Test.

English Placement Test

The English placement test has two components: writing and reading.

Reading Placement Test

No entering student may register for a reading course before taking the reading placement test. Students who submit their valid ACT reading scores will be exempt from taking the reading placement test and from taking READ 115 or READ 116 if they have a score of 20 or greater.

Writing Placement Test

No entering student may register for an English or English Language Program course before taking the writing placement test. Transfer students who do not transfer a course equivalent to ENGL 101 must take the English placement test. Students who transfer a course equivalent to ENGL 101 with a grade below “C” also must take the English placement test.


Reasonable accommodations will be provided with advance notice for persons with documented disabilities. No variation of the assessment can be made without prior approval. Visit Student Disability Services, (773) 442-4595 or, for more information on testing accommodations.

Course Placement Based on Scores

Information for course placement based on Accuplacer scores and ACT math scores can be found on the Interpreting Your Test Scores page.