Placement Tests for Admitted Students

“Tests? Tests? They want me to take tests? Aw, c’mon I haven’t even started there yet!”

Ah, yes. Similar conversations have gone on around many a dinner table recently if the inquiries I’ve received about placement tests lately are any indication. Allow me to lay out the deal with placement tests for you and thus hopefully allay any fears of the unnecessarily dreaded tests.

Stay calm

First, let’s not freak out. Placement tests are standard at pretty much any university, and rightfully so–they assist advisors who have never met you and who are not fully versed in the curricula at your high school with placing you in appropriate classes. Our placement tests are designed to help determine how your skills will fit into courses at UMBC, specifically. You’re not going to “fail” the placement tests and get laughed off the campus, I promise. These tests are not intended to trick students or “weed them out” in any way.

…but not too calm.

All right, so now that you know you shouldn’t lose serious sleep over placement tests, I should point out that nonetheless, you should do your best on them (and yes, I just used a version of “should” three times in that sentence–who’s counting?). If you know what to expect and are prepared, the tests will go smoothly and you’ll feel good about what they reveal about your capabilities. Sample tests are available at Look them over before you take your tests. You’ll also find information on this site on how to request accommodations for placement tests for students with learning or physical disabilties.

Does everyone need to take placement tests?

Oh, so you still want to get out of taking the placement tests? Geesh! Well, all freshmen must take placement tests, but if we already have a transcript reflecting transferable college coursework, you may be exempt from taking certain tests. When you receive your letter regarding the dates of your placement tests, you’ll find out exactly which ones you need to take. If you recently took an AP exam, there will not be enough time for us to receive and process your scores, so you’ll still need to take the placement tests. Some students might have taken AP exams their junior year and submitted score reports to our office already for transfer credit–if this is you, again, you’ll be notified about which tests you’ll need to take.

When will I take my placement tests?

The beauty of UMBC’s placement testing is that it’s all done online via Blackboard. You can take the tests in your PJ’s if you like (you’ll soon find out that sweats are pretty much standard attire for college exams, anyway). As your admit packet states (or will state, for you prosective applicants who have yet to be admitted), you will be assigned a time frame during which you’ll be required to take the tests. Don’t worry, we’ll give you plenty of notice, and the time frames are wide enough to allow you to easily fit the tests into your schedule. Instructions on how to take the tests will be included with your assigned time frame.

Does everyone feel a little better about placement tests now? As always, if you have any questions or concerns you can call us here at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Cheers everyone, and have a good week.


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