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.

How Do I Take a Test?

No appointment is necessary.  Come to the CAS Testing Center located in DB-213 in Danvers or LS-215 in Lynn during our testing hours. Please arrive at least two hours before we close, as testing usually takes between one and two hours.  A photo ID is required.

CAS Testing Center Hours
Occasionally an office will not be open during regular hours.


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

Admission to the Test

Testing takes place in room LS-215, Lynn Campus or DB-213, Danvers Campus. A photo ID (valid driver's license or school ID with photo) and signature are required for admission to a testing session. Calculators and dictionaries are not permitted. Scrap paper and pencils are provided.

Testers receive a numerical score for each portion of the test when testing is complete. The Student Support Center provides score interpretation at orientation or by individual appointment.

Online Learning

If you live outside the North Shore Community College geographic area and need to take a Computerized Placement Test at another location, please call 978-739-5429 or email for information about how to locate a local testing center.

Online Learning

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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