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Placement Testing FAQ

  • As you prepare to participate in this year’s Orientation Placement Tests, we hope that the questions and answers below will be of use to you. Please review this document carefully before you call the Office of New Student Orientation.

    What tests are included?

    • For your English placement, there are three possibilities: English 100, English 101, and Exemption from English 101. To determine what level best serves your writing ability, we ask that you either write an essay test during orientation or submit a portfolio of your work before that time. Portfolio submission is only available to students attending an orientation in April through July.

      All entering first-year students take the English essay placement if they choose not to submit an English portfolio . In the exam, students respond to one of two prompts. Preparation, in the form of an outline, may be done in advance.

    The mathematics and reading exams are computer-based examinations:

    • Mathematics will determine readiness for mathematics courses (all freshmen and undergraduate degree-seeking international students must take this exam).
    • Reading provides students and advisers with information as to the student’s reading level as compared with other entering college freshman (Reading placement testing is based on SAT verbal scores. Not all incoming freshmen will be taking this test.)

    Foreign Language:

    • Spanish is taken by all students who had this language for more than one year during the last two years of high school. Majors in the colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences or Natural Sciences and Mathematics (as well as Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management; English Education; and International Business majors) who have taken Spanish in high school take the Spanish exam.
    • French: Students in the colleges and majors listed above who have taken French in high school and who want to take French in college should indicate this on the Orientation Enrollment Form. Confirmation instructions will include a log-in to an online French exam, which must be completed before arriving for Orientation.
    • German: During the advising sessions, students who took German in high school may self-place based upon the number of years of German taken in high school.

    How will my test results be used?

    Your test results will affect your course requests. You must abide by your English, mathematics, and reading placement results. If you decide or are required to take a foreign language and select Spanish, you are expected to use your placement results when registering. French exam results should be followed, unless changed after discussion with a professor of French once in a course.

    Will orientation placement exams provide college credit?

    No. College credit may only be obtained through college-level courses or by taking the Advanced Placement (AP) or College Level Exam Program (CLEP) exams.

    What if I have taken the CLEP, AP, or IB higher level exam?

    See AP/CLEP/IB information on our Orientation website.

    You must take the placement exams even though you may have taken the AP, CLEP, or IB higher level (if available) exams for English, math, and/or a foreign language. The only exception to this is if Transfer Admissions has already received the results and verified that you will in fact receive IUP course credit for the exam(s) taken.

    If you have taken any of the five general CLEP tests (English Composition, Natural Science, Mathematics, Humanities, Social Science-History) and received a score of 50 or better (or other scores as applicable), you may be eligible to receive three to four credits per test (depending on which test is taken). IUP accepts up to 12 credits gained by taking the general tests. You also may take one or more of the various subject area tests. The scores required for earning credit vary by subject area.

    Submit your results to IUP as soon as possible.

    Where do I take the CLEP, AP, or IB higher level exam?

    The CLEP exams are administered at IUP by appointment only through the University Testing Center (724-357-4994). They may also be available at a site closer to your home. Results take approximately six weeks to process and are sent to the student and the credit evaluation office of the designated schools. Be sure to have your results sent to IUP as soon as possible.

    The AP and IB higher level exams were administered through your high school. Results should be sent immediately to the IUP Office of Admissions. Further information should be obtained from your guidance counselor. [Note: If you submitted AP scores during your junior year, confirm with Transfer Admissions ( that these have been received and placed on your IUP transcript.] Advising and registration will be done without senior year exam results. Schedules will then be modified, as needed, when results are in to IUP (typically, July).

    Must placement exams be taken by students who are attending community or other colleges either during the senior year or the summer before matriculation?

    Yes. You must participate in testing and, as well, have the transcript forwarded to the Office of Admissions for transfer credit evaluation as soon as possible. Should the evaluation show that you will be receiving credit for English, mathematics, or foreign language when you have been scheduled into one or more of these courses, you may drop the course assigned as a result of placement testing and select another during the drop/add period at the beginning of the semester.