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.

One option is to take the SAT Math Level Two Subject Test (not the math portion of the SAT) prior to attending orientation and have your scores reported electronically to NC State (code #5496). More information about test registration and deadlines is available at http://www.collegeboard.com.

Alternatively, you may take the NC State Placement Test on line. 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 2016 or Fall 2016:
    • Complete the Math Placement Test before May 21, 2016.
  • For students whose first semester will be Spring 2017:
    • Complete the Math Placement Test as soon as possible after enrolling to be able to register for a math 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.

Your raw score will be determined by the number of correct answers minus one-fourth times the number of incorrect answers. Your scaled score will then be determined based on your raw score. “Wild guessing” is not advised because it might actually lower your score and does take time that could be spent on other questions. 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.

If you do not take the SAT Math Level Two Subject Test or the NC State Math Placement Test you will not be allowed to register for a math course, which could result in a math placement not representative of your ability or impede the formation of your fall schedule.

The only exceptions to the test requirements listed above will be for:

  • Students who have College Board Advanced Placement Calculus exam scores of 2 or higher
  • Students who have completed transferable math credits through dual enrollment at a college or university which serve as necessary prerequisites Students enrolled in a 2-year Agricultural Institute program (separate math placement testing will be conducted)
  • For more information about placement in Mathematics contact Dr. Molly Fenn, Department of Mathematics, at 919.513.2288 or at mafenn2@ncsu.edu.

Chemistry Placement Exam (Must complete before registering for CH 101)

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 CH101, Chemistry: A Molecular Science.  Those students for whom remedial work is indicated have the following options to satisfy the prerequisites for enrolling in CH 101: (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 2016 or Fall 2016:
    • The CPE will be available from February 22, 2016 to August 21, 2016. Students who need to take the exam should do so by May 21, 2016.
  • For students whose first semester will be Spring 2017:
    • The CPE will be available from September 28, 2016 to January 11, 2017. Students who need to take CH 101 should do so two business days before attempting to register for the class.

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; one cannot enroll in CH 101 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 (Deadline: before Orientation if needed)

As part of the University’s General Education Plan, most NC State students will take either ENG 101: Academic Writing and Research or ENG 100: Introduction to Academic Writing and ENG 101: Academic Writing and Research during their first year at the university, unless they are exempt from the university-wide ENG 101 requirement based on standardized test scores submitted as part of their application process. Students who are exempt from ENG 101 are not required to participate in the self-directed placement assessment.

Students who are not exempt from ENG 101 but who have exceptionally high scores on certain standardized tests may choose to participate in the portfolio review process for possible exemption from the first-year writing requirement. Students eligible to participate in the portfolio review process should do so during their first semester at NC State. Students whose portfolios do not pass the review process are expected to enroll in ENG 101 in their second semester at NC State. Those who meet eligibility requirements for portfolio submission can find more information, including deadlines for verifying eligibility and submissions at the First-Year Writing Program’s webpage on Writing Portfolios.

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 SAT, ACT, AP, or IB scores submitted to NC State as part of their application process, OR
  • if they are eligible to apply for exemption from the first-year writing requirement by submitting a portfolio of their writing for faculty review, OR
  • if they should complete online, directed self-placement assessments for possible enrollment in ENG 100, ENG 101, or ENG 105 (The placement chart will guide students to applicable self-placement assessments.)

Although most students’ questions can be addressed by their assigned academic advisors during their summer 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 (Taken during Orientation if needed)

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. 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 during Orientation. 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 during Orientation.

Computerized placement tests in Chinese, French, German, Spanish, and Latin are offered during Orientation. For all other languages, students should go to http://fll.chass.ncsu.edu/index.php and contact the appropriate faculty member. If students are beginning a language they have never studied before, they 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.

For further details regarding the foreign language requirement and placement testing, visit the website: http://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 Services Office.  Once registered, students should email the placement exam contact person and copy the DSO 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 http://admissions.ncsu.edu/apply/credit-opportunities/international-baccalaureate-ib/ (Link opens in another window).