Placement Test Preparation FAQs

Do I need to take placement tests? Math and English placement tests determine your appropriate course placements. You cannot fail these tests. English test results are valid for three years and math test results are valid for two years. There is no charge to take a placement test.

Do I need to make an appointment for the placement test? No, placement tests are administered in the Testing Center during regular business hours without appointments. If you come during the day of group tests, you will be directed to that group test. View the testing schedule.

Why do I have to take placement tests? Your test results help you and your advisor choose courses that give you the best chance for success. All math and English course placements made through testing are mandatory. Be aware that you may place into a course that will not award college credit.

To get started, you must apply to the College. Plan to take the tests at least one week before registration opens.

Can I be exempt or use previous college credits for the math and English placement tests? If you have prior credit in college-level math and/or English you may be able to use those credits for math or English placement.

Bring proof of your college credit to the Enrollment Center at either campus, Room 1860 (Des Plaines) or Room A105 (Skokie), or an unofficial copy can be sent to orientation@oakton.edu to be reviewed for placement in math and English.

You may have fulfilled your requirement for geometry through previous high school coursework. Check your geometry placement score online before taking the geometry placement test. Follow these steps:

    1. Go to www.oakton.edu
    2. Log on to myOakton
    3. Select the “Register/Pay/Grades” tab
    4. Select “Student Services”
    5. Select “Register for Credit Classes”
    6. Select “Registration Status”, then select “Placement Test”
    7. Enter the term, and press submit to view your test results

If you have any questions related to your math placement, please contact the Mathematics Assessment Coordinator at mathplace@oakton.edu.

Can I use my ACT scores for placement? Official or unofficial ACT scores must be submitted to the Enrollment Center at either campus.

  • Writing: A score of 20 or higher will place you into English 101 (College Composition), and will exempt you from the Oakton writing placement test.
  • Reading: A score of 20 or higher will exempt you from the Oakton reading placement test unless the ACCUPLACER reading test is required for a limited enrollment program.
  • Math: Placement for recent graduates (two years or less) from the Glenbrook, Niles, Evanston Township, Northridge Prep, or Maine High Schools requires high school transcripts and ACT scores. 

When will I need to take the tests?

  • All traditional age students (20 and younger) are required to complete placement prior to attending New Student Orientation (www.oakton.edu/orientation) and before registering for classes.
  • Full-time students who have not taken placement tests in their first semester will be restricted from registering at the start of their second semester.
  • Group testing begins mid-semester in November, June, and April to coincide with registration. Schedules are available online, and in the Testing Center and the Enrollment Center at both campuses.

What can I expect? The English placement test has two parts: writing and reading. The writing is a 75-minute essay, and the reading is untimed.

The math placement test has two parts: general math and geometry*. These tests are untimed, however each test takes approximately 60 to 90 minutes.

If you plan to take the reading, writing, and math tests on the same day, allow five to six hours to complete.

English test results are valid for three years; math tests are valid for two years. Test results may limit course selection. Students placed on academic probation who have not taken the English placement tests are required to do so before registering. There is no charge for taking placement tests.

To prepare for the tests, which is highly recommended, the Learning Center has made preparation packets to view, download, and print.

What should I bring when I come to take my tests?

  • You must bring photo identification such as a current official photo ID issued by a school, employer, or city/state/government agency (such as a driver's license or passport) on which your name and current photo appear.
  • You must know and bring your Oakton username, password and Oakton ID number, commonly referred to as your B number.
  • You may bring your own pen, pencil, and translation dictionary for the writing test.

What should I not bring when I come to take my tests? The Testing Center provides all the test materials you will need. A calculator will be provided on-screen during the test for select questions, otherwise you may not use one. Pagers, mobile phones, electronic or printed dictionaries, food, drinks, and children are not permitted in the testing room. Children may not be left unattended on campus.

When will I get my test results? You will receive your math and reading results immediately after the test. Writing test results will be available within three to five business days after the test. You may access your results through myOakton, Student Services, Registration Status/Placement tests. You can also pick up your results in the Advising Services, Room 1860 (Des Plaines) or A105 (Skokie).

What is the ALEKS math assessment? Find out here.