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MSJC Assessment FAQs



What is assessment?  

Assessment is a placement tool that measures a student’s basic skill level in reading, writing and mathematics.  By determining a student’s skill level, the assessment helps to place the student at a level where s/he has the best opportunity for success.  Mt. San Jacinto Community College District uses the Accuplacer adaptive computerized placement program.

Should I study for the assessment test?

YES!  YES!  YES!  We strongly encourage everyone to study for the assessment test.  This is a one-time only test, which will determine your course placement at MSJC.  The better you do on the assessment test, then the less time and money you spend in extra classes pursuing your goals.  Also, registration dates are connected to placement results.  The better your assessment placement, the better your registration date.

Where can I get help studying for the test?

We have compiled a list of study guides and practice tests to help you do your very best on the assessment test.  Please visit our Study Guides section for helpful links that will get you started.

What do I need to bring to the assessment test?

A photo ID (driver's license, high school or college ID, state or federal approved ID, passport etc.). Note: You will not be admitted without a photo ID. Dictionaries, calculators, textbooks, notes, and other such study aids are not permitted.

What if I lost or do not have my photo ID?

If you lost or do not have a valid photo ID, then you can use College Board's Student ID Form. Just print out the form and follow the attached directions to have it notarized.

Is an appointment necessary?

No. All assessments are done on a walk-in, first-come, first-served basis during regular office hours. 

The Assessment Center provides this convenient system to meet the needs of our students' busy schedules. (Please Note: The test requires a minimum of 2 hours to complete, so it is best to arrive 2 hours before lunch or 2 hours before the assessment center closes for the day).

How are assessment results used?

The assessment results are used to determine your placement into MSJC's English and Math courses. These placements provide the student with the best opportunity for success according to their assessed skill levels. Assessment results are used for initial placement into MSJC courses only. Once you have taken a college English and/or Math course, the assessment cannot be re-taken. The coursework and curriculum will guide your skills for further advancement into higher courses. 

What does the assessment measure?

ACCUPLACER is an adaptive test. This means that the questions are chosen for you on the basis of your answers to previous questions. This technique selects just the right questions for your ability level. In other words, the computerized assessment "zeroes-in" to determine both the level of difficulty and the number of questions offered based on your previous responses. The assessment measures your basic academic proficiencies in the following areas:

    • Reading: measures your ability to locate specific information in text and to make logical inferences within the context of the information given.
    • Writing: measures your understanding of appropriate usage in grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, organization, and writing style.
    • Math: measures your knowledge and skills in arithmetic, algebraic concepts, and trigonometric functions and identities. The assessment begins with basic math operations, progressing into higher levels of math concepts as questions are answered correctly.

How quickly will I receive my assessment test scores?

Results will be available within a few minutes of completing the assessment. Meet with a counselor for more information about how your placements fit into your academic, program and career goals.

Once I have completed assessment, what is the next step?

Once you have your assessment scores, you will want to make sure that you have completed MSJC’s Online Orientation available through your Eagle Advisor account.  You will also want to see a counselor (available by appointment or select walk-in hours) to complete an educational plan.  It is important to complete all of these steps to ensure that you are ready for registration, and you get the best registration date possible.

Do my assessment scores expire?

If you took the assessment test at MSJC, in most cases your assessment scores are still valid regardless of when you took them.  However, you will want to make an appointment with an MSJC counselor (available by appointment and select walk-in hours) to create an educational plan with your current course placements and ensure you are fully prepared for registration.  If you are transferring to another college from MSJC, then your assessment scores can expire.  You will want to check with their Assessment Center to see if they will accept a transfer of your MSJC assessment scores. 

How long does the assessment take?

The assessment is not timed, allowing you to proceed at your own pace. For planning purposes, you should allow yourself about two hours to complete the full assessment (English and Math).

Can I bring a calculator?

Calculators are not permitted. Scratch paper will be provided.

How often can I take the assessment test?

Once. However under certain circumstances (e.g. students with placement tests three years or older; recent high school graduates who have not completed college coursework in Math or English), a student may be eligible to retake the placement test prior to course registration. Students that have taken the placement test and have extenuating circumstances should consult a counselor prior to requesting a retest.

I took the AP test, do I need to take the assessment?

Completion of the Advanced Placement (AP) test in either Literature & Composition or Language & Composition with a “3” or higher waives you from the English portion of the MSJC assessment test.  If you took either the AP Calculus AB or Calculus BC tests and scored a “3” or higher, then you will not need to complete the Math portion of the MSJC assessment test.  Bring your score report to an MSJC counselor (appointment and walk-in hours are available) to complete the Prerequisite Evaluation Form, which you will turn into Enrollment Services. 

I took the EAP test, do I need to take the assessment?

If you took the Early Assessment Program (EAP) test and scored College Ready, or scored College Ready Conditional and earned a “C” or better in the Expository Reading and Writing Course (ERWC), then you do not need to take the English portion of the assessment.  You will need to visit an MSJC counselor (appointments and walk-in hours are available) to complete the Prerequisite Evaluation Form, which you will turn into Enrollment Services. 

What if I completed English and/or Math at another accredited college?

If you passed English and/or Math at an accredited college with a “C” or better, then you will not need to take the assessment test at MSJC.  You will need to see an MSJC counselor (appointments and walk-in hours are available) who will help you complete the Prerequisite Evaluation Form, which you will then turn into Enrollment Services.  If you are planning on pursuing a degree at MSJC, then you can also complete a Transcript Evaluation form to be submitted to Enrollment Services.      

What if I've taken a placement test at another community college?  

Students that have taken placement tests approved by the California Community Colleges System Office* at another college may bring documentation to the Counseling Department for placement into MSJC courses. The documentation must identify the college, date of assessment, placement test name, courses in which you were placed (for example, English 200), and your placement scores.

Do I need to take both the Math and English portions?

If you are in high school or a recent high school graduate, then you will need to take both the Math and English portions of the test.  If it has been over a year since your graduation, then you are only required to take one portion of the assessment test.  However, there are several important consequences to keep in mind.  The Math assessment is needed for enrollment in Math courses or courses with a Math prerequisite, and the English assessment is required for English courses or courses with an English prerequisite.  Also, you will get a better registration date if you have completed both sections of the assessment.

Can I take the Math portion on one day and the English on another?

Sure!  It is highly encouraged that you study for your assessment test, and focusing on one portion at a time can be an effective strategy.  You can definitely split your tests between two different days, but make sure you allow yourself enough time to complete both portions before registration.  Completion of both tests ensures a better registration date.

What if English is not my first language?

MSJC offers English as a Second Language (ESL) courses.  To determine your placement into ESL courses, MSJC administers the Combined English Language Skills Assessment (CELSA) for placing non-native English speakers into English and Reading courses. The CELSA test does NOT require an appointment. Students can take the test during normal Assessment Center Hours and should allow for at least an hour to check-in and take this paper and pencil test.

What if I live out of State or Country, can I take the assessment test closer to my home?


Yes, if you live outside of Riverside County, CA area and plan to attend Mt. San Jacinto Community College (MSJC), then you can arrange to take your placement test at a local college or university near you. Just follow the steps on the Distance Testing Process 

Can my assessment scores be used at another college?

If the college will accept scores from MSJC, then complete the Assessment Score Request Form and return it to an MSJC Assessment Center to have your scores sent to that college. Please allow a minimum of 10 business days for processing.


How do I get testing accommodations for my disability?

If you have a documented disability and need testing accommodations, please fill out the ADA Approval for Assessment Form and contact your institution’s ADA Department for information and details about making any needed arrangements. Please visit Mt. San Jacinto College's (MSJC) Disabled Students Programs & Services (DSPS) for more information about accommodation services at MSJC.



* With the exception of locally managed tests

**Accuplacer is a registered trademark of the College Entrance Examination Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, this website. online courses are provided as a free service to the internet community. MSJC does not endorse or require you to purchase any of the sponsor's products.