Due to COVID-19 restrictions, placement testing is being offered remotely on a scheduled basis to new applicants and continuing students of NSCC, beginning Monday April 13. In order to access remote placement testing please do one of the following:

  1. If you have not applied to NSCC, please email info@northshore.eduto seek application instructions

  2. If you have applied as a New Student, please sign up for a Virtual Registration Event.  You will be contacted by Student Support and Advising to determine your course placement and if you need placement testing.

  3. If you are a Current Student and would like to schedule a placement test, email Please type PLACEMENT TESTING in the subject line.   Include your Full Name, Student ID and the reason for the test you are requesting.  You will be emailed a link to schedule yourself for a testing session.  Study materials and more information about the tests can be found lower on this page.

  4. If you are a Visiting Student and need to take a Placement Test in order to take a course, please email  Please type Visiting Student in the subject line and list the course you would like to take.  You will be contacted by an advisor to determine which test or means of demonstrating proficiency is right for you.

Please note that in order to take your placement test remotely you will need a photo ID, laptop, pc, or mac computer with a mic and a camera (phones, iPads, Chromebooks and other tablets will not work).  Thank you for your patience during this unprecedented time.  

Stay safe and well.

About the Tests

The College Board has developed ACCUPLACER Computerized Placement Tests (CPTs), with the help of college faculty committees, to provide information about skill levels in reading, writing, and mathematics. NSCC uses these tests to determine the courses best for you. Accuplacer tests are divided into two parts:

  • Reading/Writing Communications or English as a Second Language (ESL) Communications
  • Math


Reading and Writing
  • Reading Comprehension: 20 multiple choice questions
  • Writing: A five paragraph essay
ESL Communications
  • Reading Comprehension: 20 multiple choice questions
  • ESL Listening: 20 multiple choice listening questions
  • Writing: An essay in response to a prompt


The math tests have three levels:

  • Arithmetic: 20 multiple choice questions covering fractions, decimals, and percents. Determines mathematics proficiency.
  • Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra and Statistics (QAS):  20 questions questions. Places students into courses from Elementary Algebra 1 to Precalculus.
  • Advanced Algebraic Functions (AAF): 20 questions. For placement into Precalculus and Calculus.

Accuplacer tests are computerized, with students using either the keyboard or a mouse to enter answers. A test administrator is always present and has the ability to resolve any difficulties that may occur.

Each test is adaptive so that the computer automatically determines which questions are presented based on correct responses to prior questions. This technique selects questions that are of an appropriate level of difficulty for the tester.

Except for the essay, the tests are not timed. Students have one hour to complete the essay.


See the sections of sample questions to prepare for your placement test. 

Free Prep Resources

Accuplacer Study App
Longsdale Publishing practice tests Contact NSCC’s testing center for Longsdale access codes
Khan Academy
NSCC Arithmetic Preparation Course

Study Guides for Testing

Note: All these study guides are in PDF format.

For Communications

Reading Competency Packet
Writing the 5-Paragraph Essay
Sentence Competency Packet

For ESL Communications

ESL Reading Skills
ESL Writing

For Arithmetic

Arithmetic Study Guide
Fractions Competency Packet
Decimals Competency Packet
Percent Competency Packet

For Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra and Statistics

Study Guide

For Advanced Algebraic Functions

Study Guide


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

If you have a documented disability and need testing accommodations, contact Accessibility Services well in advance of your testing.


NSCC’s Center for Alternative Studies and Educational Testing will not provide information to any external sources regarding an individual's test scores unless written permission is received from the student in accordance with NSCC’s student confidentiality policy.

For more information, please contact us in Danvers at 978-739-5429, in Lynn at 781-593-6722 extension 6695, or online at

Contact Us

Danvers Campus

Jane Saunders
Room DB-213
1 Ferncroft Road
Danvers, MA 01923

Lynn Campus

Cynthia Therrien
Room LS-215
300 Broad Street
Lynn, MA 01901
781-593-6722 extension 2168



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