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Minnesota State College Southeast
A Technical & Community College
MSC Southeast

Accuplacer Frequently Asked Questions

Please note: At this time, Accuplacer testing will only be offered to current and prospective students of MSC Southeast.    

What is the Accuplacer?

The Accuplacer tests your knowledge in math, reading, and writing. Over 1,500 institutions administer Accuplacer tests as part of the enrollment process.

How does the Accuplacer function?

Each Accuplacer test is adaptive. This means that the computer automatically determines which questions are presented to you based on your responses to prior questions. This technique selects just the right questions for you that are neither too easy nor too difficult. 

Accuplacer provides us with accurate information about your skill levels in reading and mathematics, which will help in determining the right courses for you. This assessment is the first step towards achieving academic success as it helps us ensure that you and your courses are a good fit. 


How does the Accuplacer work?

Accuplacer tests use a multiple-choice format. You cannot leave a question out or come back to a question at a later time. All questions must be answered in the order in which they are given. You can change your answer to the immediate question at any time however, once you click the black "confirm button" your answer is final.

Again, the Accuplacer uses the latest computer-adaptive technology. Questions are presented based on your individual skill level. Your response to each question drives the difficulty level of the next question. It’s important to give each question as much thought as you can before selecting your final answer.


Is it true that I don't have to take the Math test?

The Math Accuplacer is not required for most programs. However, if you choose not to take the math test, you will be placed in a developmental math class.  The only way to advance place in math is to provide a math placement score in ACT, SAT, MCA or Accuplacer.

  • Please note: The Math Accuplacer is required for students entering Band Instrument Repair, Guitar Repair & Building, and Violin Repair.


What do I need to bring to the test?

You are only permitted scratch paper and a writing utensil.

No calculator is permitted for any Accuplacer test. However, the Accuplacer does at times provide an electronic calculator for your use. Look for the calculator icon to appear in the upper right hand corner of your screen.

There’s no time limit on the Reading and Mathematics tests, so you can focus on doing your best to demonstrate your skills. You can give each question as much thought as you wish, and you can move at a comfortable pace through the test. It’s important to give yourself enough time to do your best and complete the test because your results are the key factor in determining the courses you can take. Your results will be available immediately after you take the test. 


Students with disabilities

If you have a disability or temporarily disabling condition that will prevent you from taking the tests under standard conditions, please contact the Office of Accessibility (,  651-385-6309). The staff will make arrangements for your testing.


Confidentiality / Background Information

You will be asked to enter some background information such as your name, address, birth date, etc.

Your test scores and background information will only be provided to the College Board, MSC Southeast and to the State Department for state information requirements. This information may be used for counseling, advisement and placement purposes and may be used to document whether or not you have met state testing requirements. The College Board may also use it for research and training purposes. Your test information will not be disclosed for any other purpose without your permission. If you have any questions about confidentiality, please see the Testing Coordinator.


Score Reporting

When you have completed the testing, the Testing Coordinator will give you a printed report of your scores. There is no passing or failing score. Instead your score report will be used by your advisor during registration to help chose the courses best suited to your skills and needs.


Testing Tips

  1. Relax! The Accuplacer was designed to help you succeed in school. Your score helps you and your advisor determine which courses are most appropriate for your current level of knowledge and skills. Once you identify your academic strengths and needs, you can get the help you need to improve underdeveloped skills before they can interfere with your learning.
  2. You will be able to concentrate better on the test if you get plenty of rest and eat properly prior to the test. You should also arrive a few minutes early so you can find the testing area, bathrooms, etc., and gather your thoughts before the test begins.
  3. Pay careful attention to directions and be sure you understand the directions before you begin each test.
  4. You should understand that this is an adaptive test. Questions are chosen for you on the basis of your answers to previous questions. Because the test works this way, you must answer every question when it is first given. You cannot omit any question or come back to change an answer. You may change your answer on a particular question, but you must do so before continuing on to the next question. If you do not, the answer is accepted and you cannot return to the question.
  5. If you do not know the answer to a question, try to eliminate one or more of the choices. Then pick one of the remaining choices.
  6. Textbooks, notebooks, dictionaries, calculators, or other paper of any kind (except scratch paper provided by the Testing Coordinator for use with the mathematics tests) are not allowed in the testing room. Further, anyone who gives or receives help during the test, or uses notes or books of any kind, will not be allowed to continue the test. Following the test period, no test materials or notes may be removed from the room.
  7. Remember to bring a picture ID (identification). On the day you are scheduled to take the assessment, you will be required to show a picture ID before you can test.


How long are my test scores valid?

Your reading comprehension score is valid for 5 years. Your math score is valid for 2 years.


Can I take a retest of the Accuplacer?

MSC Southeast will allow students only one Accuplacer retest given the following parameters:

  • The retest will take into consideration any scores within the Minnesota State system during the valid 2 year period for math and the valid 5 year period for reading comprehension.
  • Evidence of extenuating circumstances must be presented to the college admissions advisor for consideration of approval.
  • If approval is granted, retest must take place within two weeks of meeting with the college admissions advisor.
  • A fee of $20 will be required for the math retest and a fee of $20 will be required for the reading comprehension retest prior to taking the retest.
  • Should a student meet with the college admissions advisor and produce evidence of substantial remediation, the retesting fee will be waived. 


How do the scores affect my academic planning?

Be sure to take this test seriously. Your Accuplacer scores will place you in the appropriate level math and English courses. If you perform well on the test you are likely to save a great deal of time and money on your education.

One credit at MSC Southeast costs about $180. If you test at the lowest level in reading and math, then you might be required to take up to 11 credits of developmental education. Eleven credits would cost about $1980, and a year and a half of schooling. 

What can $1840 buy? 

  • 2-3 months mortgage or rent payment
  • A used car
  • 700 gallons of gas
  • A nice new wardrobe

How do I schedule a remote/distance Accuplacer?

See the Accuplacer Testing page for information on requesting a Remote Voucher.



Please note: Math and Reading Accuplacer exams are required for most programs. However, if you choose not to take the math test you will be placed in a developmental math class and must successfully complete prior to advancing into the next level math class. You may be only be exempt from taking the Reading (English) Accuplacer by having met one of the test requirements below or having already earned a degree.

You may be exempt from taking all or a part of the Accuplacer placement test if you have:  

  • Transcripts from a higher education institution documenting an A.A.S degree or higher.
  • Transcripts from a higher education institution showing grades of "D" or better in comparable college level courses in mathematics and English. 
  • Reported high school grade point averages:
    -- For college level English classes you need a 2.6 or higher.
    -- For college Algebra you need a 2.8 and completion of Algebra II with a C- or higher.
  • ACT scores of 21 in reading and 18 in English to be exempt from reading test. ACT score of 22 in math to be exempt from the math portion of the test. Student must provide a copy of their ACT scores and the test have been taken within five calendar years. 
  • MCA (Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment) score of 1047 in reading to be exempt from the reading test.  MCA score of 1158 in math to be exempt from the math portion of the test. Student must provide a copy of their MCA scores. MCA tests must have been taken within five calendar years. 
  • SAT score of 480 in reading to be exempt from the reading test. SAT score of 530 in math exempt from the math test. Student must provide a copy of their SAT scores. SAT tests must have been taken within five calendar years. 
  • Previously completed Accuplacer Placement scores. Math placement scores must be within 2 years. Reading placement scores must be within 5 years.   



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COLLEGE PHONE | 507-453-2700 | 877-853-8324

Minnesota State College Southeast is an affirmative action/equal opportunity educator and employer. ADA accessible. MSC Southeast is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or sexual orientation. In addition, discrimination in employment based on membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law is prohibited.


This document is available in alternative formats to individuals with disabilities by calling 507-453-2700.

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