Placement tests are skills tests. The results of your placement tests will be used to determine if you’re prepared to tackle the major you’ve selected and to place you into the first semester courses that match your skill levels. There are three test areas: math, reading, and English.


Every major requires one or more math courses. The math placement test series is designed to place you into the highest math placement your skill level will allow.

Math test details

There are three parts of the math test.

  1. Pre-algebra/elementary algebra - measures ability to perform basic operations and to solve problems that involve pre-algebra and elementary algebraic skills and concepts.
    • 45 minutes
    • 58 questions
  2. Intermediate algebra - measures ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems that involve intermediate algebraic skills and geometry concepts.
    • 30 minutes
    • 26 questions
  3. Functions and graphs - measures ability to perform operations and to solve problems that involve functions and graphs. Readiness for calculus is determined through use of algebraic, trigonometric, exponential, and logarithmic functions.
    • 45 minutes
    • 37 questions


Your ability to read and comprehend complex information will be important to all courses in your major.

Reading test details

The purpose of the reading placement test is to determine if your reading comprehension skills are sufficient to support the type and amount of reading you will find in college-level programs.

We use the Nelson-Denney reading test, which is a standardized test that measures your reading ability through the evaluation of your vocabulary and comprehension skills.

  • 35 minutes


All majors require writing assignments.  The English essay is used to determine if you are ready for college-level writing.

English test details

For the English placement test you will be given a choice between two topics and asked to write an essay exploring a central or controlling idea; it is important that you use details, examples, and specifics to provide strong support for your ideas.

Your essay will be evaluated with the following skills in mind:

  • organization
  • idea development
  • sentence structure
  • grammar
  • word choice
  • spelling and punctuation
  • 30 minutes

Test Scheduling

Fall 2020 applicants:
Go to your Applicant Dashboard to schedule placement testing.

Spring 2020 applicants:
After you have satisfied your tuition deposit, you will be eligible for placement testing. You will be automatically informed of placement testing by mail and receive a placement test notification letter containing information on both off campus and on campus testing options.

* International students must meet placement requirements before an offer of acceptance will be made.

If you are unable to attend on your scheduled placement test date, you may request a different test date.
  1. Log in to the Student Information System (SIS).
  2. Under "Admissions Information" on the left, choose "View Application Status."
  3. On the Application Status page, choose "Request New Date."
  4. You will be asked to choose two dates, a first and second choice, from a list of available dates.
  5. Once your request has been processed, you will receive an e-mail confirmation listing your new placement test date and time.
Alternate testing dates are available if you have a disability and require testing accommodations.

Examples of testing accommodations may include extended time, non-distracting test site, and test reader. A more complete list of accommodations as well as the list of dates for testing with accommodations is available on the Disability Services website.

To receive testing accommodations during one of the alternate dates, contact the Disability Services Office immediately after receiving your testing notification letter to discuss your testing needs and to reschedule your test date.

If documentation of your disability (required for accommodations as an enrolled student) has not yet been submitted, placement testing accommodations can be arranged based on a verbal history of the testing accommodations you received during high school.

Off Campus Testing

Accommodated testing is available to students testing off-site. Please contact Disability Services prior to requesting off-site testing to discuss your needs.

Preparing for Test Day

1. Complete the Math Information Form.

Along with your placement test results, the information that you provide on the Math Information Form will be used to determine your level of math proficiency.

Complete this form prior to your test day:

  1. Log on to the Student Information System (SIS).
  2. Select “Admissions Information” on the left.
  3. Select “Placement Testing,” which will take you directly to the form.
  4. Answer all questions carefully before submitting. Once you have submitted the form, you will not be able to return to it.
2. Take sample tests and review sample questions.

The sample information will give you a good idea of what to expect on the tests and allow you to gauge how your current knowledge matches with concepts represented in the test questions.

  • Math – The math sample test is available on our online course system, P.L.A.T.O. You will receive your results automatically upon completion of the test. Go to the math sample test registration page; there, you will submit your first and last name, and then a username and password will be provided.
  • Reading – We use the Nelson-Denney reading test.
  • English – A sample essay with reviewer response is provided to help you understand how your essay will be evaluated.

What to Bring for On Campus Testing

All test materials, including pencils, will be provided.

Please bring: 

  • Photo identification (such as a driver's license or passport) to present at check-in
  • Calculator (optional)
    • For all parts of the math test, calculators are optional. If you are not comfortable using a calculator, it is best not to use one. The math tests can be completed using pencil and paper. Struggling with a calculator while testing will cost you time. If you choose to use a calculator, bring a four-function scientific or graphing calculator, such as the TI-84 Plus.

Contact information

Pennsylvania College of Technology
DIF 119

One College Avenue
Williamsport, PA 17701