FCC Placement Testing
When you go to college, it’s important that you have the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to succeed during your first 20 credits. FCC, like every other community college in Maryland, uses a series of short tests to make sure that all new students can demonstrate college-level proficiency in Reading, Sentence Skills/Writing, and Math. English as a Second Language students are required to complete an alternative reading/writing placement test called the LOEP, which will measure your reading, language use, and sentence meaning.
These are very important tests. Your results help the College determine if you need additional skill-building (developmental) courses prior to enrolling in certain classes. It is very important for us to ensure that you are placed as accurately as possible, and we work closely with our English and Math departments to ensure that every student starts off on an academic path that supports their academic goals. Please note that Accuplacer Test scores expire after two years.
Preparing for the Test
The College Board’s website has a complete breakdown of the each of the three tests (Reading, Sentence Skills, and Elementary Algebra/College Level Math). Below are a few links to help you prepare for your Placement Tests.
Click here for sample placement test questions.
You may be exempt from taking one or more placement tests depending on your academic history and your scores on other tests. You may submit exemptions to the Welcome Center. FCC accepts the following exemptions:
- SAT scores: A 500 or higher on the critical reading test fulfills the reading and writing requirement. A 500 or higher on the mathematics test fulfills the math requirement. SAT scores cannot be more than five years old.
- ACT scores: A 21 on the English, Reading, and or Mathematics portion of the test fulfills the corresponding requirement. ACT scores cannot be more than five years old.
- Frederick County Schools Students: Junior or Senior Math Exemption. FCPS students who can provide evidence that they have completed an Algebra II or higher math course in their Junior or Senior year, and earned an A or B, are exempt from taking the FCC math test.
- AP Scores of 3 or higher in English Language and Composition, English Literature and Composition, and/or Calculus or Statistics earn students college credit and fulfill the corresponding placement requirement.
- Transfer credits from another institution can fulfill necessary requirements.
- CLEP, DSST and other credit by examination program scores in college level math, reading, and writing fulfill the corresponding placement requirement
Questions about Placement Testing
What type of Test does FCC use for Placement?
The college utilizes adaptive, computerized, untimed ACCUPLACER tests. Each question (depending on if you get it right or wrong) determines the next test question. This provides an accurate measure of your skills, particularly you study for a retest. You will take the Reading, Sentence Skills, and the Elementary Algebra/College Level Math test. FCC utilizes a writing sample for students who score below the state cut-score on the Sentence Skills exam.
What are the best ways to study for the test? How can I reduce testing anxiety?
There are a number of ways to study and prepare for the test:
1. You can access and work through sample test questions here:
2. Depending on the time of year, there may be face-to-face review courses offered in our continuing education department. You can search current continuing education offerings here
Often, preparing yourself for the actual experience of taking a test is just as important as the material on the test itself, since testing often causes stress. Our goal is to reduce stress for you as much as we can. Preparing beforehand, having your resources organized, and practicing with sample questions are all great ways to reduce stress. You can find more information on preparing for tests and reducing placement test anxiety at the link below.
Click here for more information.
Can I transfer placement scores from other colleges?
FCC accepts Accuplacer and Compass Scores taken at approved testing locations. Scores must be no more than two years old. Scores must be faxed to the testing center directly from the college or university where the test was given. Accuplacer or Compass Test scores from high schools will not be accepted.
How is this test different from pencil and paper tests?
If this is your first experience with an adaptive computerized test, it may cause you some anxiety and uncertainty as you take it. Remember, the purpose of the test is to determine the best course for you to start your mathematics study. Keep the following in mind as you take the test.
• You only see one question at a time. You cannot look forward to see what questions are coming and you cannot go back to previous questions. You cannot skip a problem and come back to it later.
• Once you answer a question, you are asked to confirm your answer. THIS IS THE ONLY CHANCE YOU WILL HAVE TO CHANGE YOUR ANSWER. Once you submit your answer, it cannot be changed. Work each problem slowly and carefully. Remember you have as much time as you want.
• You will not have to answer as many questions as you would on a paper and pencil test.
• The problems may seem to skip around a lot and not follow what you may think is a logical sequence.
• You and your friends will see entirely different problems, from different mathematical topics and of different difficulty levels, even though you may take the test at the same time. You may not even have the same number of problems to answer. This is because the test is determining your individual level of math skills.
• You will see some very easy problems and some very hard problems from topics you may not have studied. Don’t worry. This is all part of determining your correct skill level. For example, you may see trigonometry questions on a section testing your intermediate algebra skills. ACCUPLACER is trying to determine if you are at a level beyond intermediate algebra. If you miss this question, it will not be used to place you into an intermediate algebra class.
• Your answer to each question determines the direction the test takes and the final determination of your mathematical skill level.
You may be asked to do a sample written essay, depending on your sentence skills score. The essay would be a 300-word or more essay on a topic provided by the Testing Center. Each essay is evaluated by an FCC English professor and should represent an example of your best quality writing. Note that you must type your essay; no hand written exams will be accepted.
Click here for more information.