Placement Test Information
To ensure priority registration, all new students are required to take the English and mathematics placement tests prior to enrollment unless they are exempted at the time of application.
COME PREPARED! If you do not test at college level, basic skills courses will be required to advance to college level. Basic skills classes do not count towards your degree.
The English, ESL and math tests are not "pass or fail" tests. They simply measure your proficiency in English and math to help you pick the right courses for enrollment. It is very important that students take this seriously. There are restrictions on re-testing. Test results are only valid for 2 years.
The test sessions are 2.5-3 hours in length. You will be taking the English and math tests in the same session. Test results will be given to you 15-30 minutes after you complete your test.
Please bring the following items to your test session:
- Photo Identification: a Driver’s License or High School ID
- Golden West College Student ID Number
- #2 Pencil
There are 2 English tests to choose from. (SAMPLE TESTS)
- COMPASS computerized test, the Native Speaker of English Test
- COMPASS/ESL computerized test, the Non-Native Speaker of English Test
You should take the Native test if English is your first language OR if you have completed most of your education taking regular English courses. (Some students speak another language at home but have taken at least four years of high school English courses not ESL. Those persons should take the Native Speaker of English test.)
MATH PLACEMENT TESTS
There are 3 Math tests to choose from. (SAMPLE TESTS)
- Elementary Algebra Test
For students who have taken 1 year of high school algebra with a "C" grade or better.
- Intermediate Algebra Test
For students who have taken at least 2 years of high school algebra and 1 year of geometry with a "C" grade or better in all courses.
- Precalculus Test
For students who have taken at least 2 years of high school algebra, a semester of geometry and trigonometry with a "C" grade or better in all courses.
Please refer to the Math Advisement Chart to determine which math level to take. Please click here to view sample questions for the math placement test. Other practice questions can be found at the MDTP Website.
How long are my test results valid?
All test results are valid for 2 years. Be sure to carefully select the tests that you need to take. Students may retest after the validity period has expired. A challenge process is in place for students who want to challenge their placement test before the validity period has expired.
- You must wait one year before retaking a placement test and are permitted to retake the math portion only if they are taking a different math level.
- You must wait for one year before retaking the English placement test.
- E.S.L students must wait six months before retaking the E.S.L test.
- A challenge process is available for English, E.S.L. and mathematics should you want to challenge your placement. You will need to go to Assessment Center to start the challenge process.
Who is exempt from Assessment Testing?
Eligible exemptions from the placement test may include one of the following:
- Students who have taken a placement test at a California Community College (including GWC) within the last two years and submit test scores to the Assessment Center for placement in math and/or English (excludes ESL).
- Students who have received a score of "3" or above on an AP math and/or AP English exam and submit test scores to the Enrollment Center for placement in math and/or English.
- Students who have successfully completed the prerequisite at another college and submit official or unofficial transcripts to the Enrollment Center to prove successful completion (grade of C or better) of the prerequisite course(s).
- High school students who have taken an Early Assessment Program (EAP) from CSU within the last year and have received a "ready" status for CSU English and/or CSU math and have submitted the results to the Assessment Center for appropriate placement.
Are SAT and ACT scores accepted in place of Assessment at GWC?
SAT and ACT scores are not accepted at the community college level as an exemption from placement testing. However, Advanced Placement Test scores are still accepted and must be sent to the Records office. If you have taken an Early Assessment Program (EAP) from CSU, and have a ready status for CSU English and or Math, you must submit the result to the Assessment Center for clearance.