Placement Testing Eligibility

What to Bring & What not to Bring

Pretest Questions & High School Transcripts

Descriptions of Tests: Average Time, Allowable Materials, etc.

Test Results, Placement Results Expiration & Retest Policy

Out-of-Area Testing: Placement Transfer & Placement Release

Disability Services for Placement Testing


  • Assessments are designed to help you succeed in college. There is no pass or fail; as the purpose of the test is to assess your understanding of an academic subject.
  • Your scores, alongside your background information, helps you and your counselor determine which courses are most appropriate for your current level of knowledge and skills.
  1. Placement Testing is required for students interested in starting the English, ESL, Math, or Chemistry course sequences at Foothill College.
  2. You must complete and submit the Foothill College Application for Admission prior to attending a testing session.
  3. You cannot take a placement test without a Foothill student ID number and a testing appointment.
  4. If a student has already earned a transcriptable grade (passing, or D, F, W, NP or I) in the subject/course sequence at Foothill College, a placement test is not required.
  5. In general, students will NOT need a placement test if:
    1. A student can satifsy a prerequisite via the Admissions & Records Prerequisite Clearance Process.
    2. Prerequisite Clearance includes:
      1. The completion of a bachelors degree or higher;
      2. Course work earned at another college/institution;
      3. EAP scores; and
      4. AP test scores.

      Questions about the Prerequisite Clearance process should be directed to Admissions & Records.

    Not sure what a prerequisite is? Look up the course that you are intested in registering for on the course catalog, and the prerequisite will be listed in the course description.

Placement Test Appointments

Download the Placement Testing Schedule or Schedule an Appointment now!


All you need to take a placement test is...

Your student ID number and a government issued photo ID or Foothill Student Identification Card. Get your Owl Card today!

Additional Allowable Materials that students can bring to their testing appointment...

  • An ESL translation dictionary is allowed only for Math and Chemistry tests.
  • The Testing & Assessment Center will provide a simple calculator for the Chemistry test.

The Testing Center will provide scratch paper, pencils, and earplugs.

No electronics will be allowed inside the testing lab; this includes calculators, cell phones, iWatches, iPods, etc.

Students found with non-allowable materials inside the testing lab will have their tests invaildated.

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Foothill College considers your high school academic record, in addition to your Accuplacer test scores, when determining your placement. For placement purposes, your high school transcript could be request to verify your pretest self-reported answers. Failure to produce your transcript upon request could alter your placement.

Download and review the pretest questions now.

⇒ Highly Recommended: Sumbit your OFFICIAL high school transcript to Admissions & Records for more accurate course sequence placement, graduation requirements, IGETC certification, and more.

Mail your transcript to: Foothill College Admissions, 12345 El Monte Rd, Los Altos Hills, CA 94022 OR have your official e-transcript emailed to:

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Out-of-Area Testing

If you are not in the Bay Area and plan to register for Foothill English, ESL or mathematics courses, contact an Accuplacer California Community College Assessment Center.

For out of state students, visit the National College Testing Association (NCTA) for more information.

Request to Transfer Accuplacer Placement Scores

Below are placement scores that Foothill cannot transfer for other institutions:

  • Accuplacer placement scores that are more than one year old (365 days)
  • Non-Accuplacer placement test scores
  • California State University (CSUs) or University of California (UCs) placement test scores
  • De Anza College's Biology Placement Test scores
  • Chemistry placement scores (with the exception of De Anza's Chemistry Placement Test scores)

To request a transfer of your Accuplacer placement test score to Foothill College, you must do the following:

  • Complete the Accuplacer Placement Score Transfer form
  • Attach to the form an official print out of your scores
    • Required information: Your full name, your exam date, the institution's name, and your test scores
  • Email the complete form and required documentation to

This process may take up to 5 business days. Score transfers will be posted on your MyPortal account.

Transferred Placement Scores & Foothill's Retest Policy

If the transferred placement score is accepted, the placement will be considered the student's first placement at Foothill College.

After the placement test score is transferred to Foothill College, students may retake the English, ESL, and/or Math placement tests one (1) time at Foothill College within a six (6) month period of the initial date of the placement score transfer; however, students cannot retest in a subject if they have earned a transcriptable grade (passing, or D, F, W, NP or I) in the subject/course sequence in which they are seeking a new placement.

Students can retake the Chemistry Placement Test one (1) year after the date of the first exam.

Ownership of Transferred Placement Scores

If the transferred placement score is accepted, a student will be placed appropriately within Foothill's course sequence. Should a student wish to transfer placement scores earned at Foothill to an outside institution, the Testing & Assesement Center will provide placement test results to the student directly. However, Foothill cannot provide placement scores that were originally earned at another institution and transferred to Foothill.

Request to Release Foothill Placement Scores

Foothill students interested in releasing placement scores to other insitutions should complete and return the Score Release Form to the Testing & Assessment Center for processing.

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If you need accommodations for your placement test, please contact the Testing & Assessment Center directly at so that we can be prepared before you arrive.

Placement tests are available in alternate text format including Braille and large print.

To arrange for disability-related accommodation please contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) before you take the test.

Foothill Disability Resource Center (DRC)
Room 5400 / Phone: 650-949-7017

You must first complete a Foothill College Application for Admission before making an appointment for accommodated services.

New students should contact the DRC or visit DRC New Student resource page for more information.

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Your test scores and the information you provide when taking the tests will only be provided to The College Board, to the college at which you are taking the tests or at which you are enrolled, and to the state to meet information requirements. The 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. It may also be used by The College Board 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 contact the Testing & Assessment Center at

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English Placement Test

English as a Second Language (ESL) Placment Test

Chemistry Placement Test

Math Placement Test


Untimed test

Average test time is approximately 1 hour

No dictionary allowed


The English placement test is composed of two question categories (described below). Within the two primary categories, the questions are also classified according to the skills being tested. Some questions deal with the logic of the sentence, others with whether or not the answer is a complete sentence, and still others with the relationship between coordination and subordination.

Depending on the student's sentence and reading comprehension scores, the student will be funneled into an optional timed essay, which could make the student eligible for English 1A Honors. Visit the Foothill's Honors Program for more information.

It is recommended that students review the English Placement page that contains sample test questions, prior to registering for the English Placement test.

Sentence Skills

There are 20 Sentence Skills questions of two types.

  • The first type is sentence correction questions that require an understanding of sentence structure. These questions ask you to choose the most appropriate word or phrase for the underlined portion of the sentence.
  • The second type is construction shift questions. These questions ask that a sentence be rewritten according to the criteria shown while maintaining essentially the same meaning as the original sentence.

Reading Comprehension

There are 20 questions of two primary types on the Reading Comprehension test.

  • The first type consists of a reading passage followed by a question based on the text. Both short and long passages are provided. The reading passages can also be classified according to the kind of information processing required including explicit statements related to the main idea, explicit statements related to a secondary idea, application, and inference.
  • The second type of question, sentence relationships, presents two sentences followed by a question about the relationship between these two sentences. The question may ask, for example, if the statement in the second sentence supports that in the first, if it contradicts it, or if it repeats the same information.
English as a Second Language (ESL)

Untimed test

Average test time is approximately 2-3 hours

No dictionary allowed

ACCUPLACER English as a Second Language (ESL) Test

It is recommended that students review the ESL Placement page that contains sample test questions, prior to registering for the ESL Placement test.

ACCUPLACER ESL Language Use Test
The ESL Language Use test measures your proficiency in using correct grammar in English sentences. There are five content areas measured on this test: (a) Nouns, Pronouns, Pronoun Case Structure; (b) Subject–Verb Agreement; (c) Comparatives, Adverbs, Adjectives; (d) Verbs; and (e) Subordination/Coordination.

The ACCUPLACER ESL Listening test contains 20 questions and is a direct measure of the listening skills of nonnative English speaking students. The test measures the ability to listen to and understand one or more persons speaking in English. The conversations take place in academic environments such as lecture halls, study sessions, a computer lab, the library, the gymnasium, and so forth; and in everyday environ-ments such as at home, at a store, at a restaurant, at a dentist’s office, listening to the radio, reading the news-paper, and performing tasks at work.

First the student listens to the conversation or lecture and the question that follows, while looking at pictures of the speakers. Below this are four answer choices, either written on the screen or with a drawing next to each choice. The student chooses the best answer to the question that was asked, and clicks on the button next to his or her choice. The student can click on the appropriate PLAY button if he or she wants to listen again to the conversation, the question, or any of the choices. Each of these can be heard only two more times after the initial reading.

ACCUPLACER ESL Reading Skills Test
The ESL Reading Skills test measures your ability to read English. Specifically, it assesses your comprehension of short passages. It contains brief passages of 50 words or less and moderate length passages of 50 to 90 words. Half of this test contains straightforward comprehension items (paraphrase, locating information, vocabulary on a phrase level, and pronoun reference). The other half assesses inference skills (main idea, fact versus opinion, cause/effect logic, identifying irrelevant information, author’s point of view, and applying the author’s logic to another situation).

ACCUPLACER ESL Sentence Meaning Test
The ESL Sentence Meaning test measures how well you understand the meaning of sentences in English. It assesses the understanding of word meanings in one- or two-sentence contexts. The sentences are drawn from the subject areas of natural science, history/social studies, arts/humanities, psychology/human relations, and practical situations. There are four content areas measured: (a) Particle, Phrasal Verbs, Prepositions of Direction; (b) Adverbs, Adjectives, Connectives Sequence; (c) Basic Nouns and Verbs; and (d) Basic and Important Idioms.

ACCUPLACER Writeplacer ESL Essay
Essay: If your Combined score on the first 4 tests is 404 or greater, you will be asked to write an essay. You will have 40 minutes to write a multi-paragraph 200-600 word essay on an assigned topic. Your essay will be evaluated based on how effectively it communicates to the reader for the stated purpose. Your score will be based on your ability to focus on the topic, organize and support your ideas, and the effectiveness and correctness of your language.


45 Minutes Timed Test

Paper translation dictionary allowed

A simple calculator will be provided

A periodic table of the elements will be provided

Chemistry Comprehension

It is recommended that students review the Chemistry Placement page that contains sample test questions, prior to registering for the Chemistry Placement test.

You have 45 minutes to complete 44 multiple-choice questions.

This will determine your placement for Chemistry 1A. 

Math 105 or a math placement test must be completed prior to Chemistry testing.

Only passing Chemistry 1A test results will be posted on MyPortal.


Untimed test

Average test time is approximately 1 hour

ESL translation dictionary allowed

There are three levels of tests to assess your math skills (as described below). You may have to take one or all three based on your skills. You will be prompted by a survey at the beginning of your test session to determine your appropriate test level.

It is recommended that students review the Math Placement page that contains sample test questions, prior to registering for the Math Placement test.

    This test measures your ability to perform basic arithmetic operations and to solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts.

    This test measures your ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems that involve elementary algebraic concepts.

    This test measures your ability to solve problems that involve college-level mathematics concepts. All figures in this test are drawn as accurately as possible, given the limits of the equipment being used.

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Placement test results are available through your MyPortal at

Follow these steps to find your placement test results:

  1. Log in to MyPortal. You will need your campuswide ID and the password your created;
  2. Select the Registration tab;
  3. Find My Records and select "See My Placement Test Results."

If you do not have access to the internet at home, come to the Admissions and Records Office on the main campus in the Student Services Building, Room 8100. For privacy reasons, results may not be given over the phone.

Expiration of Assessment Results

Assessment results are valid for one (1) year for the date that the score was earned.

Retest Policy

After taking a placement test at Foothill College, students may retake the English, ESL, and/or Math placement tests one (1) time at Foothill College within a six (6) month period of the initial date of a placement; however, students cannot retest in a subject if they have earned a transcriptable grade (passing, or D, F, W, NP or I) in the subject/course sequence in which they are seeking a new placement.

Students can retake the Chemistry Placement Test one (1) year after the date of the first exam.

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