Placement Testing

In an effort to ensure you are registered in the appropriate courses, placement/skills assessments are offered – and some required – by certain departments such as math, English, and foreign languages. Information about these assessments can be found here:

Mathematics Placement Test (Must complete before registering for a math course)

Successful completion of freshman year mathematics is one of the best early indicators of graduation from NC State. For that reason as well as many others, admitted freshmen are required to take a test to determine proper placement in math prior to attending New Student Orientation and registering for classes.

You may take the NC State Placement Test online. Note that incorrect answers will hurt your score on this multiple choice test. For this reason, guessing is not advised. Omissions neither help nor hurt your score. Testing time is one hour; you will not be stopped automatically – you will need to time yourself and stop yourself. Longer testing times will invalidate your test score.

To ensure proper course placement, you should plan to complete this assessment prior to registering for your first semester classes.

  • For students whose first semester will be Summer 2019 or Fall 2019:
    • Complete the Math Placement Test before May 20, 2019. The placement test will be open after this date, but taking it later than this may delay your ability to register for a math course.
  • For students whose first semester will be Spring 2020:
    • Spring Connect students: Complete the Math Placement Test before September 30, 2019. The placement test will be open after this date, but taking it later than this may delay your ability to register for a math course.
    • Students admitted in late November:  Complete the exam as soon as possible after enrolling to be able to register for a chemistry course.

To log in and take the test you will need your Unity ID and password, which is assigned upon acceptance and displayed on your Wolfpaw application status screen. There is no charge for this test; it is available at https://www.webassign.net/ncsu/math.html.

If you do not take the NC State Math Placement Test you may not be able to register for the math course you need, which could result in a math placement not representative of your ability or could impede the formation of your schedule.

After taking the placement exam and initially enrolling in a math course, you may earn placement in a higher level math course through AP calculus exam scores or transfer credit. However, even if you anticipate this situation occurring, you should still plan on taking the math placement test to avoid delays in enrolling in a math course. Once your AP credit or transfer credit post to your account, you will be able to adjust your schedule accordingly.

For more information about placement in Mathematics contact Dr. Molly Fenn, Department of Mathematics, at mafenn2@ncsu.edu.

Chemistry Placement Exam (Must complete before registering for CH101 or CH103)

The chemistry placement exam (CPE) is a tool and process used to help place students into a general chemistry course appropriate for their background. Students with sufficient chemistry background as indicated by a ‘passing’ mark on the CPE satisfy the required prerequisite to enroll in CH 101, Chemistry: A Molecular Science or CH103: General Chemistry I for Students in Chemical Sciences. Those students for whom remedial work is indicated have the following options to satisfy the prerequisites for enrolling in CH 101 or CH 103: (1) taking and passing with a C- or better, CH111, Preparatory Chemistry or (2) electing to complete satisfactorily a series of on-line ‘modules’ and subsequent evaluative examination.

The CPE is composed of 4 survey questions and 36 questions on chemistry and math topics. The CPE is deployed online via MOODLE, a course management system. Students must have their NCSU-issued unity ID and password to log into the Moodle site. Students will have 60 minutes upon accessing the exam to complete the questions. Only a single login is permitted; each question allows for one submission. Students will need a calculator capable of exponential and logarithmic computations.

  • For students whose first semester will be Summer 2019 or Fall 2019:
    • The CPE will be available from February 25, 2019 to August 26, 2019. To reserve a seat in CH 101 or CH 103, incoming freshman should take the exam by May 20, 2019.
  • For students whose first semester will be Spring 2020:
    • The CPE will be available until August 26, 2019 and from September 23, 2019 to January 9, 2020. Students who need to take CH 101 or CH 103 should take the placement exam two business days before attempting to register for the class.
    • Spring Connect students: Complete the exam by August 26, 2019 or as soon as possible after enrolling to ensure timely registration for a chemistry course.
    • Students admitted in late November:  Complete the exam as soon as possible after enrolling to be able to register for a chemistry course.

Click here to determine if you need to take the Chemistry Placement Exam for your academic program. 

Please note the following:

  • The CPE is mandatory for all students planning or required to take CH 101 or CH103; one cannot enroll in CH 101 or CH103 without satisfactory completion of the CPE. (To determine if you need to take the CPE, find the link to your acadmic program below)
  • Prepare for the CPE – you have only one attempt at the examination: chemistry and math topics covered by the CPE and other suggestions may be found at our CPE support website located at: go.ncsu.edu/chemplacement
  • The earlier one sits the CPE, the earlier one can register for the appropriate course.  Delaying the CPE may result in being enrolled in a course section that is not convenient for your schedule or finding sections unavailable.

Specific instructions for accessing the Chemistry Placement Exam along with score interpretation guidelines; options subsequent to taking the CPE; and other information (including contact info) may be found at: go.ncsu.edu/chemplacement

First-year Writing Placement (Review placement information before course registration)

There is no required placement test for first-year writing courses.

To fulfill the General Education Program’s requirement for first-year writing, most NC State students will take one course, ENG 101: Academic Writing and Research (4 hours), during their first year at the university.

Only credit for ENG 101 fulfills the first-year writing requirement, but students seeking additional support for their writing may elect to complete a two-course writing sequence: ENG 100: Reading and Writing Rhetorically (4 hours) and then ENG 101: Academic Writing and Research (4 hours).

Regardless, all students should visit the first-year writing placement chart to determine if they are exempt from the first-year writing requirement (ENG 101) based on a standardized test score submitted to NC State as part of their application process.

Students who are not exempt from ENG 101 based on a standardized test score should carefully review the typical placement scenarios located directly under the placement chart. These scenarios will help students determine if they should begin their instruction in ENG 100, enroll directly in ENG 101, or enroll in ENG 105 (for students with at least 3 hours of approved transfer credit in English composition).

Although most students’ questions can be addressed by their assigned academic advisors during their orientations, issues or concerns related to placement in and/or credit for first-year writing courses at NC State may be directed to Roy Stamper, Associate Director of the First-Year Writing Program, at roy_stamper@ncsu.edu.

Foreign Language Placement (Must complete before registering for a foreign language course)

Computerized placement tests in Chinese, French, German, Spanish, and Latin are offered in a computer lab on campus. For all other languages, students should go to https://fll.chass.ncsu.edu/index.php and contact the appropriate faculty member. If students are beginning a language they have never studied before, they do not need to take the placement test and should enroll in FL* 101.

All students at NC State must demonstrate competency at the Elementary II level in a foreign language (FL* 102) as a requirement for graduation. Students who do not meet the proficiency requirement as determined by a review of the student’s high school record by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions – two years of high school study of the same language with a grade of ‘C’ or better in each of the two years – must take a placement test.  Students enrolling in programs in which the Intermediate I level (FL* 201) is required (CHASS and PCOM), or students in other programs who wish to take a foreign language, must also take a placement test.

PLACEMENT EXAM TIMES:

  • For students whose first semester will be Summer 2019 or Fall 2019:
    • You will be able to take the exam during New Student Orientation. An advising representative from your college or program can assist you during Orientation in determining if you need to take the exam.
  • For students whose first semester will be Spring 2020 (Spring Connect, admitted in March 2019):
    • You must bring a valid driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID to take the test.
    • The first recommended time to take the exam is during Spring Connect Advising Day on October 18, 2019
    • If you are not attending Advising Day, but are local or already scheduling a visit to campus before January, you can stop by the foreign language computer lab’s open hours after Advising Day and take the exam.
    • If you are unable to come to campus before January, the exam will be offered during New Student Orientation on Friday, January 3, 2020 from 2:30-4:30pm.
    • Talk to an academic advisor about whether or not you need to take the exam and when they suggest you take it.
  • For students whose first semester will be Spring 2020 (admitted in November 2019):
    • You must bring your Wolfpack One Card student ID or a valid driver’s license or other government-issued photo ID to take the test.
    • The exam will be offered during New Student Orientation on Friday, January 3, 2020 from 2:30-4:30pm.
    • Alternatively, you can stop by the foreign language computer lab’s open hours and take the exam after you have confirmed your enrollment or after classes begin.
    • Talk to an academic advisor about whether or not you need to take the exam and when they suggest you take it.

Students enrolling in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Exploratory Studies, or the Poole College of Management are encouraged to take the SAT II in a Foreign Language (along with their Math SAT II) so that they will know their foreign language placement before attending Orientation or taking the exam. Students should make arrangements with their high school guidance counselor to take the Math and Foreign Language SAT II tests.

Students enrolling in Humanities and Social Sciences, Exploratory Studies, or Management who have not taken the SAT II or the AP test in a Foreign Language will be directed to take a placement test. Students in all other colleges who did not meet the university FL* 102 proficiency requirement (as explained below), or who wish to take a foreign language, also need to take the placement test.

For further details regarding the foreign language requirement and placement testing, visit the website: https://fll.chass.ncsu.edu/undergraduate/placement.php.  If you have questions, contact the Associate Department Head of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Dr. Dudley Marchi at dmm@ncsu.edu.


* Students that have a disability and need testing accommodations for placement tests should first register with the Disability Resource Office.  Once registered, students should email the placement exam contact person and copy the DRO service provider so a verification email can be sent.

* Information on NC State’s Advanced Placement policy for AP exams can be found at https://admissions.ncsu.edu/apply/credit-opportunities/advanced-placement-ap/ (Link opens in another window)

* Information on NC State’s International Baccalaureate policy can be found at https://admissions.ncsu.edu/apply/credit-opportunities/international-baccalaureate-ib/ (Link opens in another window).