Placement Testing


As part of the Admissions process, Western Technical College uses ACCUPLACER, a computer-based, online assessment that measures your skills in reading, writing, and mathematics.  This information will be used by our Enrollment Advisors and Counselors to place you in courses that best fit you and your academic goals.

To ensure that you receive the most accurate placement, it’s important that you do your best on your placement test. Even a short time spent reviewing before taking the test can improve your scores.  Knowing that our students have different preferences, Western offers several options to make it easy for you to review.


ACCUPLACER offers a free study app. You can download the app below. Click the link and follow the on-screen directions. The app allows you to take free, sample placement tests and review your answers.

Download App

Sample Questions for Student Review

The link below contains sample questions that will help you improve your skills. If you have difficulty with the questions, you may need to review prior to scheduling your placement testing appointment.

Sample Questions

Placement Test Preparation (Boot Camp)

Test Prep workshops are offered at the La Crosse campus:

  • Wednesdays (reading/writing) and Thursdays (math) from 5:30-7:30 p.m. in the Academic Resource Center, Room 107
  • Fridays (math and language arts) from noon-4:00 p.m. in the Academic Resource Center, Room 106

Or, contact the regional location nearest you to find out about test prep opportunities in your area.

*The times listed above are September through April. Call 608-785-9535 for current hours or more information.

Review Sessions

If it’s been a while since you’ve been in school and you think you might benefit from a more thorough focused approach to sharpen your skills, the Learner Support and Transition area offers review session in the areas of reading comprehension, sentence skills, and math. Instructors work with you to identify and strengthen problem areas. Services are offered at the La Crosse campus and all GOAL Programs at the regional locations. Call 608-785-9535 for more information.

Common Questions

Who needs to take ACCUPLACER?

All incoming students will need to take ACCUPLACER in each of the three subject areas (reading, writing, and mathematics) unless they can provide evidence that meets one of the following exemptions:

  • A degree (Associates, Bachelors or higher) from a regionally accredited higher educational institution. (Note: Placement testing for mathematics may still be required.)
  • Transfer credits in college level English, social sciences, anatomy and physiology, and/or college level mathematics. (Note: Must be a grade of “C” or better.)
  • Assessment scores from another educational institution indicating that you are a college-ready student in reading, writing and/or mathematics. These may include scores from COMPASS, ASSET, or ACCUPLACER and must have been completed within the last three years.
  • High school GPA of 3.0 or greater, including Algebra II (or its equivalent) at a grade of “B” or better, within the past three years. (Note: Enrollment in College Technical Math 1A (10804113) requires placement testing.)
  • International students may have placement testing waived at the discretion of the International Specialist.

Not sure if you qualify for an exemption? Stop in the Welcome Center, the nearest Regional Location front office, or call 608-785-9553 to schedule an appointment with an Enrollment Services Advisor and get your questions answered!

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.

On Test Day

Things to Remember

  • Bring a current photo ID and payment for your test.
  • Child care is not provided.
  • Only those authorized to test are allowed in the testing room.

The following items are not allowed in the testing room:

  • Food
  • Beverages
  • Electronic devices including cell phones, pages, tables, iPods, laptop computers, or calculators
  • Watches, Fitbits, or other wrist jewelry
  • Jackets, coats, hats, scarves, sunglasses, or hoodie sweatshirts
  • Purses, brief cases, backpacks, or wallets

Test-Taking Tips

  • Get plenty of rest and eat properly prior to the test to help you concentrate and stay focused.
  • The session can take up to 2-3 hours.
  • Plan to arrive a few minutes before your scheduled placement testing session to allow for time to park on campus, use the restroom, pay for your test, and check in for testing. 
  • Be sure you understand the directions for each test before that test session begins. Ask questions if needed.
  • Read each question carefully until you understand what the question is asking.
  • If answering an item requires several steps, be sure you consider them all.
  • If you have a problem or question during the test, raise your hand, and the test administrator or proctor will help you. Although they cannot answer test questions for you, they can help you with other types of problems.

Special Needs

If you are in need of specific testing accommodations, you will need to meet qualifying criteria. Please contact our Disability Services Office at 608-785-9875.

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