Placement Testing

Placement assessments confirm readiness to take college-level classes by determining the prior level of achievement in English, Math, and Reading. PSC's policy is that students pursuing transfer and all degree programs achieve the minimum scores required for entry into courses above the 100 level or complete the necessary developmental coursework. ACT or SAT scores may be used instead of the placement test, but prior college coursework may exempt you from taking placement assessments.


Your first step is to speak with an advisor for placement evaluation. You may be placed into college-level English or math-based courses with past transcripts or test scores. If your advisor determines you need to take the English placement assessment, they will contact the Testing Center. We will send you assessment instructions to the email you provide.


The English placement assessment may be completed at home at this time. We strongly suggest you use a laptop or desktop computer to complete the assessment. If you do not have access to the proper computer (we do not recommend using your phone), you may make an appointment to take the assessment on campus. Please email to make an appointment.

The math placement assessment (ALEKS) consists of a first-attempt practice assessment, which you can take at home and will not be used for placement. After taking this first attempt, you should take advantage of the personalized Prep and Learning Modules to prepare for your on-campus proctored assessment, which you will take on campus in the PSC testing center. You may opt to take a second practice assessment. The final three will need a proctor password and must be taken on campus. Spending time in the learning modules will help you fill in any knowledge gaps and refresh your memory so that you can increase your placement and also help you succeed in your first math course. 

Login to the Pioneer Portal and click on  Academic (the graduation cap on the left side) and “ALEKS Math Test” under Registration now to get started! There is a $15 charge (payable online with a debit or credit card) for the math placement assessment program, which includes five assessments and one year’s access to the learning modules.

Placement Assessment FAQs 


Yes. Preparation can save you time and money. While placement does not determine if you are admitted to PSC, it does determine whether or not you can take college-level courses or if you need to complete developmental courses before taking college-level coursework. Preparing yourself can save you lots of time and money. Based on your placement scores, a developmental English or Math review course may be required.

Each developmental course you place into will cost you extra time and money to complete and also uses financial aid eligibility. 

Note that Financial Aid is limited to 90 attempted hours for an associate degree.

PSC uses multiple measures to place you correctly. You will want to discuss your degree and career goals with an advisor. While you can be placed using an ACT/SAT score (see below for more information about ACT/SAT scores), we want to make sure you are placing as high as possible, which can save you time on your degree and save you tuition money. Therefore, you should also take the ALEKS placement test if needed.

If you only need a Gen Ed Math course for your degree, Math 112 (General Education Math) or Math 115 (General Education Statistics), you can be placed directly into that class if you meet any of the following requirements:

  1. Appropriate college entrance/high school assessment exam Math score (ACT/SAT scores are valid for two years)
    a. ACT subsection score of 22 or higher in Mathematics
    b. SAT Math score of 530
    c. PARCC Math score of 4 or 5
  2. High school cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher on an unweighted 4.0 scale with successful completion of a 4th year of math.
  3. Completion of a transitional Math class (“Mathematical Literacy”) at the high school level with a grade of “C” or better
  4. A GED score of 165 or comparable score on other high school equivalency tests.
  5. Successful completion of an appropriate developmental course in mathematics at another regionally accredited college or university.

Additionally, based on your placement level by either ACT/SAT or the ALEKS placement test, you may take Math 112 or Math 115 with an additional one-credit Math 099 course.

The first time you use ALEKS, you will need to follow the steps below to create and pay for your account.

  1. Go to Pioneer Portal and log in with your PSC account information. If you have problems accessing your account, please reach out to ITR Help Desk at
  2. Click on Academics (Graduation cap on the left side of the page)
  3. Click on the Math Placement Test (ALEKS) link
  4. A new window will open with the ALEKS welcome screen.
    (Select: No, I am new to ALEKS, and then click continue.)
  5. Check the box next to I have read and agree to the terms of the ALEKS User agreement and then click continue.
  6. On the registration Complete screen, click continue.
  7. On the Student Registration: Course Access page, you have two options for paying for access
  1. Credit/Debit Card user: Click on purchase access online to continue the process of purchase access.
  2. Non-Credit/Debit Card user: Contact for instructions on paying for and receiving your access code. Return to this screen and click on I have non-e-commerce access to ALEKS to continue.
  1. Once you have completed the registration process, follow the on-screen prompts to begin your practice assessment.


An ACT score of 22+ in reading and 17+ in English places students directly into English 101. While students can be placed into a Math class based on ACT score (refer to our current Placement Test Information Sheet for more information), students are strongly encouraged to take the ALEKS placement test to see if they can place higher than where they would place via ACT; this can save students both time and money on their path to earning their degree.

Students who have previously completed a college-level English and/or math course with a "C" or better from an accredited college or university are exempt from the placement test. However, official transcripts and completion of a PSC program evaluation form are required of all transfer students as part of the application process.  Students who took the placement test at another college within the past year may submit an official score report for review. For more information, email the Student Success Center at The essay portion may still be required for transfer students with scores from another college.


Courses fill up quickly. You are more likely to get your first choice of classes if you complete testing well before the beginning of the term. However, it is important you are aware of the material you will be tested on and that you are comfortable with your knowledge based on the expectations of this test and your chosen program of study.

Please note that per Board policy F-2, students must have their math skills assessed for placement by the end of their first semester. You are expected to enroll in a math class by the second semester of enrollment. This is to ensure that you have sufficient time to finish the math requirements for your degree.


  • Complete an online admissions application For English, you will be emailed a packet to complete and return to
  • Prepare. Seek free tutoring or ALEKS assistance in preparing for the placement assessment. To prepare for the math placement test, log into the Pioneer Portal, click on “Math Placement Assessment (ALEKS)”, and follow the steps to take an online practice test, which will create personalized learning modules designed to help you prepare. You will pay a $15 fee for the program. 
  • When you feel you are ready to take the proctored exam, email for available dates and times for ALEKS testing.
  • Choose a date that best fits your schedule and email us with that date so we can schedule your exam
  • Bring a photo ID. Make sure you know your username and password to access the ALEKS test


In five to seven days, your English placement scores will be inputted into our system.  ALEKS results will be given the same day you take the test. You will then be able to meet with a member of the advising team to review your scores and select your classes. An appointment is recommended.

It depends on the program of study. You may take the math placement test up to 5 times with no additional fee. For English, there is a cost of $25.00.

No. Children and guests are not allowed in the Testing Center.

Additional Placement and Testing Resources

Proficiency exams are designed for students who have substantial knowledge (without college credit) in a given area. PSC students interested in pursuing college credit, including AP, IB, and CLEP, in lieu of taking a class at PSC can apply for proficiency testing.  More information on proficiency tests, as well as policies and procedures, is available online at
Students interested in enrolling in select allied health programs at PSC must first take the HESI A2 exam. The test is administered by Testing Services only for students who have applied to the program and have received permission to test. Information on the exam and tips on how to study and prepare are available at
Prairie State College is an approved Cook County GED testing site. GED testing information, instructions, and applications are available at In addition, PSC offers HiSET and TASC.
PSC offers the Illinois Constitution Exam on a scheduled basis.
Instructors and students can email for makeup testing arrangements. Tests may be dropped off in Room 2639. Appointments are highly recommended to ensure the make-up testing room is available.

Students who have or are currently serving in the military may receive credit for military experience based on the student’s program of study. The student's official military transcripts will be reviewed by the appropriate college official, as designated by the college president. Credits could be used towards your associate degree and/or certificate program. Military evaluations require a Joint Service Transcript (JST) or Community College of the Air Force (CCAF) transcript. Students may obtain transcripts from the following: JST: Home page (; CCAF: Community College of the Air Force (

Students pursuing a career program may speak to the individual program coordinator about a potential substitution for a required career course, which would only be granted at the program coordinator's discretion.

PSC is a Pearson VUE Authorized Test Center offering exams for ACSM, Cisco, CompTIA, Microsoft, Evaluation Systems, and more. For more information and registration, visit There is a fee associated with this offering. 

Proctoring Services
Proctoring services are available for students from other colleges or universities who live in the area and wish to have an exam proctored. There is a fee associated with this offering.

Additional information on placement assessments and testing services may be obtained by emailing