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Placement Testing

Why do I need to take a placement test?

Placement tests are required of all new, incoming students who have not yet completed college-level English, mathematics or foreign language coursework. Testing in English and mathematics is required of all students, regardless of age (**foreign language testing is optional – see below**). Transfer students may not be required to take the tests if they have completed college-level, transferable coursework that provides an indication of the level of mathematics, writing or foreign language already successfully accomplished.

Placement tests are designed to help determine which of the English, math and foreign language courses are the best place for you to start within a given sequence of instruction. All University of Wisconsin students, regardless of major, are required to acquire specific proficiencies in mathematics and writing to earn an associate or a bachelor's degree. Many majors also require evidence of experience with a foreign language either at the high school or college level (please see your advisor for specific requirements).

The placement tests are specific to the UW System; tests from other colleges and universities outside the UW System do not replace these placement tests.

What do I need to know?

Students are allowed 90 minutes for each of the English and mathematics tests and 45 minutes for a written essay. The options foreign language tests are 60 minutes. Although a calculator is not required, test-takers may use a non-graphing calculator during the mathematics test. The use of calculators on other electronic devices (e.g. cell phones, etc.) is prohibited. Calculators will not be provided.

The standard fee for the group of placement tests per test day is $35, regardless of the number of tests taken. This $35 fee will be added to each degree-seeking student’s tuition and fees account – no advance payment for testing is required. This fee does not negate fee responsibility at any four-year UW institution.

When should I take the placement exams?

Available dates are available via the UW Placement Test Site. Plan to take your placement tests at least two weeks prior to your advising date or before meeting with your advisor (transfer students).  This permits the return of the results and scoring that will be used to help select the appropriate classes when you register. Placement test results will be mailed to each student. 

Please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes before the noted test start time to locate the test site. The tests begin promptly at the time listed. Late arrivals will not be admitted and must take the tests at a later date.

Directional signage will be posted on campus on each test day.

Do I need to bring anything to the exam?

The University of Wisconsin requires students to show a government-issued photo identification document such as driver’s license, state-issued ID or passport when they arrive to take placement tests. A high school photo ID with full name listed is also acceptable. Students will not be allowed to test without providing an appropriate photo ID.

How do I register for placement testing?

Campus Placement Testing
Registration is available.

After you are admitted, specific instructions for testing dates and requirements will be sent to your campus email. You can register for regional testing dates through that email. A placement test fee is part of the new student fees.

Regional Placement Testing

Registration is now closed. 
•Go to the UW Placement Test Site - Registration Opens February 1.
•Scroll down and click on the “Follow this link to register for any testing options.”
•Select option 1 by clicking on the “Show Paper and Pencil dates” link.
•Click on the campus and date you are interested in taking the exam.
•Enter requested information: ◦email address
◦last name
◦first name
◦Date of birth
◦Are you taking the foreign exam?
◦Campus you are planning on attending

•Hit continue.
•Verify information.

A $35 test fee will be assessed to your fall tuition bill.

What do I do after the test?

After scheduling your UW Placement Test date, register for your classes!

Need more information?

If you have any questions, contact us the Solution Center.

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