New Students

What is Placement

Placement helps students and their advisors choose the right courses to successfully achieve their academic goals.

The results of these tests are important. Math and English tests determine appropriate course placements - whether you can start taking college-level courses, or if it is necessary to take developmental courses. A student does not pass or fail a placement test. You will get a placement level score. English test results are valid for three years and math test results are valid for two years.

Which Tests Do You Need To Take?

Students can meet placement requirements in a variety of ways. Make sure all your documents (transcripts, score reports) are submitted to the Enrollment Center at enrollmentcenter@oakton.edu. If you are not sure if you need to take a placement test, you can log into the new student portal to view your admission checklist.

The Testing Placement webpage has Information on the different ways you can meet placement at Oakton.

Available Tests

Reading, Writing and Math placement tests are available to be taken remotely (taken away from campus). On this form, you will confirm that you review, understand, and agree to the following items about remote testing before this form is submitted:

  1. Guidelines for taking tests remotely
  2. Technology requirements for taking tests remotely
  3. Oakton College Code of Academic Conduct

Students requiring a disability-related testing accommodation must first contact the Access and Disability Resource Center and follow intake procedures before filling out the placement request form. For more information, contact: accessdisability@oakton.edu

Remote Testing

Review the Remote Placement Testing Information, which includes details about testing guidelines, technology requirements and a link to sign-up to take the tests remotely.

On-campus Testing

Appointments are encouraged but not required at both campuses. Same-day testing will be available as capacity allows on a walk-in basis.

Make an appointment at the Des Plaines CampusMake an appointment at the Skokie Campus

 

Preparing for the Tests

It is highly recommended that you become familiar with each test before signing up.

The Learning Center can also provide assistance to Oakton Community College students interested in preparing for these exams. Please contact the Learning Center at learningcenter@oakton.edu or 847.635.1658 for more details.

Reading Placement Tests are designed to assist in determining if students are prepared to read most college-level texts. Students that self-identify as native speakers of English will take the ACCUPLACER® Next Generation Reading Comprehension test. Students that self-identify as English as a second language speakers will take the ACCUPLACER® ESL Sentence Meaning and ESL Reading Comprehension tests.

Neither version is more difficult that the other. The goal is to match the individual with the class that best meets their needs.

These tests are untimed, so take your time to read questions, answer choices and the passage carefully. Most testers complete the test in 45 minutes to an hour.

The English Department recommends that students take some time to prepare for tests. It is not necessary to study for days, but a review should be helpful. Some general advice …

  • Think about how ideas connect.
  • Transition words can be helpful. Are you getting an example? Is it explaining the effect or cause? Does the reading idea change and talk about a new or different idea?
  • Remember to focus on the information in the reading when selecting your answer.
  • If English is the first language you spoke or read as a young child, you will take the ACCUPLACER® Next Generation test. This is a multiple-choice exam.  Below are resources to assist you in preparing for the test.
  • If English is your second language, the exam has two parts. Both parts are multiple-choice and there is no time limit. You will need to choose the best answer.
    • The ESL reading comprehension test will ask you to find main ideas, supporting details, and make conclusions/inferences.
    • The ESL sentence meaning test will read ask questions about the meaning of sentences. You may be asked about words, phrases or the meaning of an idea based on grammar or sentence structures.
    • Before you take the test, it is helpful to review. There are three resources below.

There are also practice tests and resources on the Oakton website in the Library section.

  • Access the Library link
  • Then choose Careers
  • Then the LearningExpress Library

Overview
  • The Writing Skills Assessment Test (WSAT) is a 75-minute timed test of your writing ability.
  • Each essay prompt follows a similar format: you will write a response to only one topic of the two choices provided.
  • Each topic presents a controversial issue with two or more views. You are asked to take a position and make an argument for that position. Your response must be an essay.
  • You can type your response in Microsoft Word, and print it when you finish. You have access to spell-check and grammar check, as well as the cut-and-paste feature.
  • You have the option to write by hand.
Strategies

Writing a timed essay is different than writing at home. The following strategies work well for most students taking a timed test like the WSAT:

  • Familiarize yourself with the Microsoft Word software before the test. Make sure you know how to start new paragraphs, copy-and-paste, use spell-check and  grammar check.
  • Of the two topics, pick the one that’s more interesting to you, or the issue that you have more to say about.
  • Read the topic questions two to three times carefully. Make sure your essay addresses the question being asked. For instance, if you are asked whether the legal drinking age should be lowered from age 21 to age 18, don’t write about drinking being unhealthy.
  • Allow yourself about 10 minutes at the beginning of the process for pre-writing (free writing, listing, clustering, outlining, or whatever works best for you). Make these notes in your test booklet. Think about what position you will take and list your reasons. Or list pros and cons of one side. Use this time to create as many ideas as possible. It is likely that not all your ideas will make it into the final version.
  • After you pre-write, the simplest formula is to take one clear position on the issue, and give two to four reasons that support your position.
  • Put a thesis statement near the start of the essay that sums up your position and introduces your reasons. For instance: “I believe we should keep the legal drinking age at 21 because it will prevent car accidents, reduce unintended pregnancies, and lower the violent crime rate.”
  • Each reason should be discussed in more detail as a paragraph. Begin the paragraph with a topic sentence that sums up the reason. In each paragraph, explain your reason. You might explain your own experiences or observations, or give examples from current events.
  • Leave yourself about 10 or 20 minutes at the end of the 75 minutes to revise and proofread. When you revise, you might re-organize, delete unnecessary ideas, or add ideas to support your opinions. When you proofread, correct grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
  • Use the grammar-check and spell-check features in Microsoft Word, but don’t depend on it to do all the work; it can overlook errors or make bad suggestions.
  • Many students spend too much time writing long introductions and conclusions, or trying to write the longest possible essay. The quality of the writing is more important than the number of words.
  • During the exam, watch the clock and adjust your pace as needed. Use the full 75 minutes.
  • Stay relaxed on the day of the test. Get a good sleep, eat a good meal, get some exercise, etc. Take brief breaks during the test to breathe and relax. Do what you need to reduce stress.
What are the WSAT readers looking for?

Readers are looking to see whether you're ready to begin a college-level writing class. There’s no specific formula, but successful essays usually have:

  • a clear, thoughtful argument.
  • well-supported opinions.
  • several paragraphs.
  • good organization.
  • been proofread for grammar, punctuation, and spelling.
Here’s what readers are not looking for:
  • Picking the “right” answer.
  • Using big words.
  • Providing statistics.
  • Having detailed knowledge of the topic.
  • Picking the one “correct” structure for the essay (compare/contrast, five-paragraph essay, etc.)

Finally, readers understand that it’s hard to write with a 75-minute time-limit, so they don’t expect your essay to be perfect.

Now you can practice.
Visit the link below, read the instructions, set a timer to 75 minutes and respond to the prompts.

Currently placement tests are being administered remotely. Instructions and more information can be found at:  https://www.oakton.edu/studentservices/testing/new_student/index.php. All other questions should be directed to testingcenter@oakton.edu

Oakton uses the ALEKS Math Assessment tool. This assessment is structured in three phases:

  • An Initial Placement Assessment
  • The Prep and Learning Modules, an individualized online review
  • Retesting (if desired)

After taking the test a score reflecting your placement will be displayed. If you are not satisfied with your placement after this first attempt and are not currently enrolled in a Math class, you are encouraged to take the ALEKS assessment again.

  • ALEKS can be taken a total of 5 times over a one year period.
  • In order to retest, work in ALEKS Prep and Learning Modules is required. (Instructions are below)
  • Assessments can be taken at either Oakton campus or remotely.
  • If you have taken the ALEKS exam in a proctored environment at another university within the last two years and wish to transfer the score, you can send the results to Oakton. Instructions to send these results to Oakton are available.
  • If a year has elapsed from when you first took the test and you wish to take the assessment again, a new subscription can be purchased.

Your ALEKS Score
Refer to the course catalog for more information on any of the courses below.
It’s important that you consult with an academic advisor to determine which course is appropriate for you. Some courses are designed to coordinate with a specific degree or certificate. Contact the Enrollment Center at 847.635.1700, Room 1860, Des Plaines or 847.635.1400, Room A100, Skokie

Effective Fall 2021

Math courses for which a student can register:  

Cut Score

060, 111, 114

0-13

All of the above and 070

14-29

All of the above and 080, 085, 087, 088, 095, 102, 116

30-36

All of the above and 092, 125, 131

37-45

All of the above and 122, 128, 140

46-60

All of the above and 143, 144, 149, 180, 190

61-75

All of the above and 250

76-100

Retesting
Before retesting, it is required that you spend time working in the ALEKS Prep and Learning Modules to improve your skills. Work in the modules can be done at any location (no password is required.)
To access the modules,

  • Log into myOakton, click on the Math ALEKS PPL link on the lower right-hand side of the screen.
  • Follow the prompts - click on the link for the assessment “class” (the year you first took the test).
  • The Prep and Learning modules will open. Choose the desired learning path.
  • Work in the modules does not have to be completed in one session. A timer on the left side of the module screen keeps track of how much time you have spent in the modules. You can spend more time than is required.

ALEKS retest conditions:

  • Before the 2nd attempt—3 hours of work in the Prep and Learning Modules is required
  • Before the 3rd attempt—3 additional hours of work is required.
  • Before the 4th attempt—5 additional hours of work is required.
  • And before the 5th attempt—8 additional hours of work is required.

If you have questions regarding your ALEKS results or would like guidance about retesting, please contact:

ALEKS Retest Support
aleks@oakton.edu
Division of Mathematics and Technologies
847.635.1688

If you have questions related to your placement, please contact:
Mathematics Assessment Coordinator, Division of Mathematics and Technologies
mathplace@oakton.edu
847.376.7110

More Information on your ALEKS subscription

  • There is no fee for first-time account holders. Oakton students have free access to four additional assessment attempts for one year from the date of the initial assessments, and access to the Prep and Learning Modules for one year from the start of working in the modules.
  • If your subscription has expired and you wish to purchase a new subscription for $20, please contact either Testing Center (Des Plaines - 847.635.1939, Skokie - 847.635.1446) for directions.

Geometry
If you have an ALEKS score of 46 or above, you have satisfied the Geometry requirement.
You may have fulfilled your requirement for geometry through previous coursework. To see if you have met the geometry requirement:

  • Log into myOakton and select the “Student Profile” from the menu
  • Choose “Prior Education and Testing”
  • Find “Geometry Requirement” in the Testing portion of the screen (lower right)
    • A value of 1 = requirement met
    • A value of 0 = requirement has not yet been met

If you have not satisfied the Geometry prerequisite, register for MAT 080 if you intend to take MAT 128, 140 or 149.

When and where will you see your placement test results?

Directly after finishing the reading and math placement tests you will see your result on the screen. The results will be uploaded to your account within one business day. Writing tests are graded by multiple individuals and take a bit longer. Writing results will be available 5 business days after taking the exam.

All testing results will be posted on the Oakton website. Please follow the steps below to locate them

Head to myOakton and log in

  • Then select Student Profile
  • After the profile loads, Select Prior Education and Testing from the left-hand menu