Placement Tests

  • Placement Tests and Exemptions

    For the placement test you need to
    Watch the
    Bring a quarter Bring a photo ID Bring a pencil Call if you have questions
    Please watch the Placement Test Prep Video quarter photoid pencil call 301-546-0147

    We accept these forms of photo ID for placement tests and exemptions only

    • PGCC student ID or employee ID card (w/name & photo)
    • State Driver's License
    • Maryland State (MVA) ID card
    • Employer's ID (w/name & photo)
    • Passport
    • US Military ID card
    • Permanent Resident Card (I-151 or I-551)
    • Employment Authorization Card (I-688A)

    Do I need to take the placement test? Are there waivers or exemptions?

    After being admitted to the College, you may be exempt from all or part of the placement test. The Testing Center can administer waivers for SAT and ACT scores. Students with transferable classes from an accredited institution must forward their transcripts to Admissions and Records. Other waivers and exemptions are typically administered by Academic Advising. All waivers and exemptions require a photo ID (see above).

    SAT and ACT scores

    If your SAT or ACT scores meet our requirements below AND your best scores are from tests taken less than 2 years ago. You must present your original score report and a photo ID to the Testing Center to be granted any exemptions for your scores. Scores from exams taken more than 2 years ago will NOT be accepted.  

    Accepted Standardized Tests
    Exam Section Minimum Score
    ACT Reading 21
    ACT English 21
    ACT Mathematics 21
    SAT Evidence-Based
    Reading and Writing
    SAT Mathematics 530


    Maryland public high school GPA waiver

    If you graduated from a Maryland public high school within the last five (5) years with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, you are exempt from most placement testing. If you want to take an upper-level math class, you may take one math placement test. To receive the GPA exemption, you will need to bring a complete high school transcript or your final report card to an advisor in the Academic Advising office with a photo ID.

    What if I have a degree or college credits from another school?

    If you have earned 12 or more transferable credits from an accredited American school, you may be exempt from taking one or more placement tests. Immediately after you are accepted to PGCC, you must show objective evidence of prior college work (such as a transcript or grade report) to the Transfer Center in Admissions and Records and an academic advisor to obtain approval for the exemption. Students should discuss their previous academic history with an adviser in the Academic Advising office, before taking any placement tests or attempting to register for classes.

    How do I take the Placement Test?

    At Prince George’s Community College, we use a computerized placement testing system called ACCUPLACER to test skills in math, reading and writing for students educated in the United States and a number of other countries. Other students take the Michigan Test to determine their English proficiency. Once you’ve submitted your application, follow these steps to complete your placement test:

    • To prepare, watch the Placement Test Prep Video. Be sure you fill out and print or take a picture of the permission slip at the end of the video. You’ll need to bring this with you when you take the test.
    • Review the study materials and sites to help you prepare. These materials and sites are included in the Prep Video, but links to these sites are also included on this website. We especially encourage students to refresh their Math skills before testing.
    • Visit one of the four placement testing locations across the county: Largo, University Town Center, Joint Base Andrews, and Laurel College Center. Show your photo ID and the permission slip you printed or photographed at the end of the Placement Test Prep Video to take the test. No appointments or pre-registration are necessary. Just make sure that you have allowed yourself sufficient time to complete the test. Most students average around 2 hours to complete the test.

    When and where can I take the placement test?

    Most students will take the placement test after completing and submitting an application to the school and paying the admissions fee. Students who have not properly applied to the school may be turned away. The Testing Center is located in Bladen Hall, Room 100 at PGCC's main campus in Largo, MD. Please refer to our hours for the Testing Center at the Largo campus. Contact other locations (see above) to find hours and times. All students are expected to abide by the rules and guidelines at all locations.

    What's my student ID number?

    After applying to the school and paying your application fee, the Admissions office will assign you a student ID number to be used for placement tests, registration, and exams. You may find this number on your bill, on your schedule, or by logging into your Owl Link account.

    Personal property MUST be secured in lockers

    At the Largo Campus Testing Center, students are only allowed to have the following items at their desks: photo ID, pen or pencil, a testing center locker key (if a locker is used), and a calculator provided by the testing center (if permitted on the test). All other possessions brought into the center must be secured in a locker, which requires a quarter. The quarter is returned when the locker is reopened. Change is not available from college staff, but change machines are located near some vending machines around the campus.

    Which test do I need to take?

    While most students born in the United States will take a computerized placement test known as ACCUPLACER, some students will instead be required to take the Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency - a test designed for non-native English speakers.

    To determine whether the ACCUPLACER or the Michigan Test is the most appropriate placement test for you, please answer the following questions:

    1. Are you a native of the United States of America or one of the following countries?
      • Antigua & Barbuda
      • Australia
      • The Bahamas
      • Barbados
      • Belize
      • Bermuda
      • Canada
      • Cayman Islands
      • Commonwealth of Dominica
      • Grenada
      • Guyana
      • Ireland
      • Jamaica
      • Montserrat
      • New Zealand
      • St. Kitts & Nevis
      • St. Lucia
      • St. Vincent & the Grenadines
      • Trinidad & Tobago
      • United Kingdom
      • Virgin Islands
    2. Did you attend Middle School and High School or attain a GED Certificate in the United States?

    Did you answer NO to both questions 1 and 2?

    You will probably be required to take the Michigan Test of English Language Proficiency. This is a paper exam with 100 multiple-choice questions evaluating Reading, Grammar and Vocabulary skills. You will also submit a short, handwritten essay about an assigned topic which is evaluated by instructors from the ESL department.

    Did you answer YES to either question 1 or 2?

    You will take the ACCUPLACER Reading and Sentence Skills placement tests. Most students will also take both an Arithmetic and Elementary Algebra test. Some students may also take a College-level Mathematics test, if they demonstrate sufficient proficiency in Algebra. Most students may also complete a short background questionnaire and a career assessment survey.

    What happens after I finish the test?

    For the ACCUPLACER tests, you will receive a printed copy of your scores immediately. New students are required bring their scores to one of the college's Student Orientation programs.  There, an adviser will evaluate your scores and help you choose classes. Students who already have college credit can bring their scores directly to an adviser. The Michigan Test and the English Writing Sample must be evaluated by instructors, which takes 2-5 business days. Normally, all scores will be posted to a student's record within 2 business days of receiving final scores from ACCUPLACER or the instructors.

    What happens if I do not do well on the placement tests?

    No student will be denied admissions to the college on the basis of placement testing performance, except international students (F-1 visa), who must score high enough to allow full-time enrollment. However, your performance on the tests will determine which college courses you may or may not take. Noncredit developmental courses may be required for students who earn scores below the standards set for college-level courses. Accordingly, you are advised to take the placement testing requirement seriously and employ a common-sense approach when preparing for the test.

    • Eat well and get plenty of rest prior to the test
    • Allow yourself ample time to review the sample test before your actual test
    • Review basic math operations with decimals and fractions before you test
    • Calculator use is permitted during the College-Level Mathematics test ONLY. The Testing Center staff at Largo campus will loan graphing calculators for the testing session.

    How many times can I take the placement tests?

    Placement tests for PGCC can be taken twice within a two-year period. You are encouraged to take the placement test a second time if the results from your first test indicate a need for developmental courses, or if the first test results do not meet your personal expectations. If you decide to retest, you MAY NOT take the same placement twice in the same day. You must wait until the next business day, at earliest. The highest score from either attempt will be used for placement. However, a third test will not be allowed until two years have passed since the second test.

    Finally, no placement test can be taken after you enroll in a course or sequence considered to be preparatory in nature (for example, Developmental Studies, ESL courses). If you enroll in a developmental course, you cannot use the placement test to substitute for course performance even if you have only taken the placement test once.  

    How do I get another copy of my placement test scores?

    If you have already taken a placement test at a PGCC campus within the last 2 years, you may request a printed copy of your placement test scores from the testing center. You must come to the testing center in person and show a valid photo id to get your scores. The testing center is located in Bladen Hall, Room 100 at PGCC's main campus in Largo, MD.

    You must have and show a valid Photo ID to take a placement test or get scores