Western Technical College uses ACCUPLACER, a computer-based, online assessment that measures your abilities in writing/sentence skills, reading comprehension, and arithmetic. This information will be used to place you in courses that best fit your academic goals. Based on your scores, you may need to take additional general studies course(s) along with the general studies courses required for your program.

Several options for waiving the ACCUPLACER test are available; view the exemptions here.

Common Questions

Who needs to take ACCUPLACER?

All incoming students will need to take ACCUPLACER in each of the three subject areas (writing/sentence skills, reading comprehension, and arithmetic) unless they can provide evidence that meets one of established exemptions. View the exemptions here.

Not sure if you qualify for an exemption? Get your questions answered by call 608-785-9553 to schedule an appointment with an Enrollment Services Advisor, emailing, or contacting the nearest Regional Location front office.

How is the test administered?

Western’s placement test is administered in a testing center/computer lab. You will take the tests using a computer. You will communicate with the computer by using the keyboard and the mouse to enter your answers. No prior computer skills are required. A test proctor will be present if you need assistance.

ACCUPLACER is a computer adaptive test; it adapts to your ability level based on the responses to the questions you’ve already answered. Questions increase or decrease in difficulty depending on your answers as you work through the test.

How long does the test last?

The tests are not timed, which allows you to work at your own pace. The average student requires 2-3 hours to complete the test. Keep in mind that you may take each part of the placement test separately. This means you can take each section on a separate day, if preferred. 

What will I be tested on?

You will test in three main areas Reading (Comprehension), Writing (Sentence Skills) and Math (Arithmetic and Elementary Algebra). 

  • In Reading, you will be asked to read a passage and then answer several questions about the passage. The Reading Comprehension test, comprised of 20 questions, measures your ability to understand what you read, to identify main ideas and to make inferences. You need to distinguish between direct statements and secondary or supporting ideas.
  • In Writing (Sentence Skills), you will be asked to evaluate grammar in a series of sentences. The Sentence Skills test, comprised of 20 questions, measures your understanding of sentence structure — what makes a sentence complete and clear. Some questions deal with the logic of the sentence, and others with the relationships between two sentences.
  • The Mathematics section of the test, measures your understanding of arithmetic through problem solving. Skills in operations of whole numbers, fractions, decimals, and percentages. Ratios, measurement, and geometry will be assessed. The Arithmetic test, comprised of 17 questions, measures your ability to perform basic arithmetic operations and to solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts. The Elementary Algebra test, comprised of 12 questions, measures your ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems involving elementary algebraic concepts.

What is the fee for the placement test?

The fee for placement testing at Western is $25 for the full testing or $15 for one section of the test. Testing fees are paid on the day of testing in the Cashier’s Office located in the Welcome Center on the main campus in La Crosse. If testing at a regional location, you will pay for your test at time of check-in at the main desk. Cash or credit cards are accepted. You will need to show your receipt to the test proctor when you check-in for testing.

What happens after I test?

Your score report is generated immediately after you complete your test. At that time, you’ll be directed to the Welcome Center or regional location front desk to meet with an Enrollment Advisor or Counselor to discuss your results. They will help you understand your course placement and how these classes fit into your program choice.

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