Accuplacer overview & FAQs

Carl Sandburg College wants you to be successful in your course work. The ACCUPLACER placement tests of reading and mathematics are required for new students. ACCUPLACER scores determine a student’s mandatory placement into college-level courses (classes with course number 100 and above) and developmental education courses (classes with course number <100).

Our goal is to ensure proper placement into appropriate courses for your skill level.  There is no charge* to take the ACCUPLACER placement test (up to two attempts). Test results are valid for five years.

It's important that you do your best work on the placement test so you're placed appropriately in courses where they can succeed and make progress. Time spent in developmental courses will delay enrollment into college-level courses. You should prepare for the placement test in advance.

Note: In lieu of ACCUPLACER testing, official ACT or SAT scores will be accepted for placement if the test was taken within five years of the admission date to Carl Sandburg College. Minimum score requirements are as follows:

          ACT: English: 19, Reading: 20, Mathematics: 22

          SAT: English/Writing: 480, Mathematics: 530 

Students wishing to use their ACT or SAT test for placement will need to have their official test scores sent to Carl Sandburg College. Official high school transcripts with the ACT/SAT score will also be accepted.


Frequently asked questions

When will I need to take the ACCUPLACER placement test?

  • You may schedule your test after completion of a Sandburg application.
  • Testing is required before new full-time students meet with their advisor to register for classes.

Where can I take the ACCUPLACER test?

  • The test is administered at all Carl Sandburg College campus locations.
  • If out of district, arrangements may be made to test at your local community college, via remote testing. Advanced planning is required for this option.

How do I register for the ACCUPLACER test?

  • Galesburg campus: Call 309.345.3500, or complete the registration form on this page.
  • Carthage campus: Call 217.357.3129.

If I have a documented disability, can I receive accommodations for the ACCUPLACER test?

What can I expect on the day of testing?

  • A brief orientation that will include information about campus resources and purpose of the ACCUPLACER.
  • The test consists of two sections; reading and mathematics.  There is no pass or fail associated with these tests.  Sections are untimed.  Do not be concerned with the completion time of other test takers!  Most students take anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour per test.  If you are taking all two tests, plan on spending 2 hours to complete your placement testing.
  • Post-ACCUPLACER advising provided upon completion of tests.  Staff provides you a copy of your score report, reviews tests results, goals and answers questions.

What should I bring on the day of testing?

  • You must bring a photo ID (driver’s license, state ID, passport or school ID are acceptable forms of ID).
  • You cannot use a calculator unless one appears on the testing screen.
  • Bring a positive attitude! Remember, you cannot fail these tests.

I was not satisfied with my ACCUPLACER test results. Can I take the test over?

  • You may feel you weren't prepared or that your health was not optimal, thus preventing successful demonstration of your skills. Sometimes you may feel testing conditions were unsatisfactory. For these and many other reasons, retesting is allowed.
  • Students are allowed one free* retest.
  • Assessment retests: You can take the college’s assessment examination twice within a 12-month period without any fees assessed. A third attempt within the 12-month period will be subject to fees.
  • An applicant will be charged a fee of $10 per assessment for the third attempt within the 12-month period after the two free chances.
  • Testing Center staff will complete the assessment retest form, and the applicant must then pay the fee at the Business Office at the Galesburg location or in the main office at Carthage. The applicant will be required to submit the completed form that indicates proof of payment before they are allowed to sit for retesting.
  • There is a 24-hour waiting period between examinations; as additional time to study may be required.

Can I prepare for the ACCUPLACER placement tests?

  • To study for the ACCUPLACER test, review Next Generation Advanced Algebra, Quantitative Reasoning and Statistics and Next Generation Reading Samples within the website provided.