Undergraduate Placement Testing

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to test?

Placement testing for new students at St. Cloud State University consists of the ACCUPLACER for reading comprehension and math placement or calculus readiness. Other tests, such as biology, are available as determined by a student’s intended major.

ACCUPLACER is required for some students due to a low ACT sub test scores in reading and/or English and Math. Students are also able to place in higher level math courses than their ACT sub test score would indicate by taking the Math ACCUPLACER exam.

Expiration dates for Accuplacer and ACT scores are as follows:

Accuplacer Exam Scores

Expiration Date

Reading Comprehension Valid for 3 years
ESL Reading/Listening/Writing Valid for 3 years
Math (Elementary Algebra/Intermediate Algebra/College Level Math) Valid for 2 years
Biology (Anatomy and Physiology Test) No expiration date

ACT Scores

Expiration Date

ACT Reading Valid for 5 years
ACT English Valid for 5 years
ACT Math Valid for 5 years

If you have taken or are currently taking a math course you must follow the sequential order recommended by the math department. Note: ONCE YOU START YOUR MATH SEQUENCE, YOU ARE NO LONGER ELIGIBLE TO TEST TO ENROLL IN A HIGHER LEVEL MATH COURSE.

St. Cloud State also offers students the opportunity to test directly into major level courses in math and/or biology (Biology 202 – Human Anatomy and Physiology I).

For more information or advising please contact the offices:

Mathematics: Mathematics and Statistics
Location: 139 Engineering and Computing Center
Telephone: (320) 308-3001
E-Mail: mathstat@stcloudstate.edu
Web site: www.stcloudstate.edu/mathstat/placement/

Biology Exam: Department of Biological Sciences
Location: WSB 262
Telephone: (320) 308-2039
E-Mail: biology@stcloudstate.edu
Web site: www.stcloudstate.edu/biology

Should I study and prepare for the ACCUPLACER?

Yes. Reviewing for the ACCUPLACER could potentially save you time and money at St. Cloud State University. Below is a list of links that provide study guides and materials to help students prepare for the tests.

See also these helpful tips for before and during the test.

Is it possible to fail the ACCUPLACER?

No. Tests indicate current skill level - not potential. The purpose is to enable you to make informed decisions about which courses to take at the beginning of your college career.

Can I retake an ACCUPLACER?

Reading & Math

If you are not satisfied with your initial ACCUPLACER Math or Reading Comprehension (English) assessment scores, you may retest one time within a 12 month period, a two week wait period in-between testing is recommended to allow time for additional review. There is a $5.00 fee for each retake of any test, and it must be paid before a student will be allowed to retest. 

International students who are non-native speakers of English are required to take ESL courses during their first semester at SCSU; therefore, retesting is not allowed.


You are not able to retake the Biology exam. If you have any questions regarding this policy please contact the Biology department directly.

What do I need to bring for the test?

A current picture ID is required to verify your identification. Your Tech ID number or social security number is required to take the test. Unfortunately, if you do not have a student ID or social security number we can not administer the test for you.

Acceptable forms of photo identification include:

  • A current driver's license
  • A state approved ID
  • A high school ID
  • A college ID
  • A current state or federal ID card
  • A current passport
  • A tribal ID card
  • A naturalization card or certificate of citizenship

No outside materials are allowed for testing.

Personal calculators are not allowed on the math test, however, one will be provided on the computer screen if the test determines the test question warrants the use of a calculator. Scratch paper and a pencil are also provided for math calculations.

If you are an international student coming for the ESL tests, it will be helpful if you can bring computer headphones. If you do not have any, we will provide them.

If I have a disability, can I make special arrangements?

The Math and Reading Accuplacer tests are untimed. If you have documentation you believe qualifies you for other testing accommodations, please contact Student Accessibility Services, 320-308-4080.

What if I'm not a St. Cloud State University student?

If you are using ACCUPLACER for your admission process or fit the following criteria:

  • Have not yet received your St. Cloud State student ID number
  • Are enrolled in the Community College Connection Program through St. Cloud Technical & Community College
  • Planning on attending a College/Institution other than SCSU ($5.00 fee per test)

Please contact us by email at placementtesting@stcloudstate.edu. We will respond to your email (within 48 hours) with a confirmation date and time when registration is complete.

The following information is required in your email to be scheduled for a test:

  • First and last name
  • Telephone number (for questions or for notification of cancellation)
  • Two choices of dates and times that will work for your schedule (be specific)
  • Which exam you are requesting to take (ex. Elementary Algebra, Reading Comprehension etc.)
  • The school that you will be testing for

What is adaptive testing?

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. Because the test works this way, you must answer every question when it is first given.

Where is testing available?

St. Cloud State’s testing takes place in different computer labs on the campus depending on availability. When scheduling a test, pay close attention to the location of the lab provided.

As another option, ACCUPLACER tests may be taken at any Minnesota State campus. When making arrangements to test at another campus:

  1. Make an appointment at the campus you choose.
  2. Contact St. Cloud State Advising and Student Transitions to determine which test you need to take.
  3. Contact St. Cloud State Placement Testing to obtain a voucher for the appropriate test.

If you live out of state and need to test, please contact us at placementtesting@stcloudstate.edu and we will try our best to accommodate your individual needs.

How much does it cost?

St. Cloud State University provides initial assessment testing at no charge for St. Cloud State University students. There is a $5.00 charge for non-SCSU test takers. Cash, MasterCard and VISA are acceptable forms of payment. We do not accept checks.

Where can I park?

Pay Parking is available in the parking ramp at St. Cloud State University located on Fourth Street South on campus.

What time should I arrive?

Showing up on time, at least 10-15 minutes early, usually allows you time to complete your exam within the testing time frame. To provide a quiet testing environment, late arrivals may not be admitted to the computer lab. Continuous no-shows will not be guaranteed a seat. If you are delayed, please reschedule your test for a later date.

How long will the test take?

ACCUPLACER is not a timed test, however Biology placement test is limited to one hour. Depending upon which tests you need to complete, you may be testing from 20 minutes to 2 hours. It is best to anticipate spending two hours in the lab.

If I already took the Math Placement test what should I do?

Visit the Department of Mathematics and Statistics for more information.