College Placement Test

ACCUPLACER College Placement Test (CPT)

The ACCUPLACER CPT is a computerized college placement test used to assess basic skills and measure skill levels in reading, English, and math. The College Board develops placement tests with help from college professors, and determines what skill levels are required for success in a college environment. The CPT also offers optional Algebra and College Level Math tests for a higher math placement.

This is not an "entrance test."  SPSCC is an "open door" college with classes from literacy level to the second year of a four-year college degree. Results of this test will indicate the most appropriate level of course to enroll in. Low test scores will not keep anyone from enrolling or entering the college. However, low test scores may require that you take one or more quarters of basic skills classes before entering the program of your choice.

College Placement Test Prep

Our free Test Prep workshops help prepare prospective students for the math and English placement tests so that you start college on the right foot. Join us to learn the ins and outs of the Accuplacer, discover the most effective test-taking strategies, and complete practice questions under the guidance of an expert tutor.

Test Prep Workshops & Online Course

Test Prep Workshops: See Learning Support Services for the current Test Prep Workshop Schedule.
Test Prep Website: Can’t make it to a workshop? Study up on your own using our free online Test Prep Canvas course. There you will find information about the Accuplacer tests, practice quizzes, strategies for effective test-taking, and a host of resources specific to each of the math and English exams.
Test Prep Website

Practice for the test

Prepare for the test with a study guide and sample questions available at:

Please note: Underage students and those applying for certain programs (Nursing, Dental Assisting, Fire Protection Technology, Running Start) have special requirements for admission. See Special Admissions for information about the application process for these programs.

Who is required to take the CPT?
  • Anyone who will be taking 10 credits or more, taking math or English courses, or working toward a degree or certificate is required to take the Placement Test. Test waivers may be granted to students with previous college English or math classes or to students who have taken the College Board ACCUPLACER CPT within the last three years.
  • The college has implemented multiple measures and provides multiple avenues for placement into both pre-college and college level courses in English and Math. Recent placements achieved on any approved Washington State placement test are accepted for English or math placement via our Statewide Placement Reciprocity Agreement, or evidence of successful completion of classwork from high schools, appropriate level scores on the Washington State Smarter Balanced state test, AP exam scores, and several CLEP exams with satisfactory scores are all ways that course placements can be determined.
  • Students wishing to enroll in CIS 160 Introduction to Programming will need to achieve a passing score on the ACCUPLACER Computer Skills Placement (CSP Basic).

See the Advising Center or Start Here Desk in Building 22 to make an appointment for completing a placement test waiver. Call (360) 596-5241.

How to take the test, and how much it costs
  • Placement testing is done on a walk-in basis in the Assessment Center, located in Building 22, Room 201. Parking is free. Test sessions average about 2 hours in length, and all testing materials are provided by the Assessment Center. No calculators are allowed. Child care is not available and children are not allowed in the test session. For hours and location information see the Assessment Center.
  • The test fee is $25.00. This fee includes one test and one retest. Any subsequent retests will be another $25. This fee must be pre-paid at the One Stop counter in Building 22 or at the Reception Desk at the Lacey Campus. Students must show a valid photo ID and a receipt for payment in order to test.
  • Students must have a valid photo ID, such as: State Driver's License, passport, State ID, Military ID, or School (ASB) card. No Exceptions.
  • Students must also provide their Student Identification Number (SID).
  • Your test results are available immediately upon completion of testing.

Please note: Should you require accommodations to take the test, contact Access Services, email or phone (360) 596-5306.

What happens during the test

Test Administration:
The Computerized Placement Test is administered on a computer. You will actually read the instructions and questions on the computer screen and you will select your answers using the keyboard or the mouse. When you have completed the test, your test results will print out for you to keep for advising purposes. Your test administrator can interpret your results before you leave. Keep these scores and bring them with you when you come for advising and registration.

Types of Tests:

  • Reading Comprehension (20 questions)
  • Sentence Skills (20 questions)
  • Arithmetic Skills (17 questions)
  • Elementary Algebra (12 questions)
  • College Level Math (20 questions)
  • Levels of English Proficiency (LOEP) Test for non-native speakers of English
  • Three parts, 20 questions each (60 total)
  • Computer Skills Placement Test (CSP Basic - 30 questions). Must achieve 75% correct to enroll in CIS 160 Introduction to Programming. See Educational Plans for Computer Programming and Database Management.

Adaptive Testing:
Each test is designed using adaptive techniques. This means that the computer automatically determines which questions are presented to you based on your responses to prior questions. This technique "zeroes-in" on just the right questions to ask you without being too easy or too difficult. The greater your demonstrated skill level, the more challenging the questions that will be presented to you.

The tests are not timed. We have found that each single test (there are three tests normally taken per session) usually takes students about 30-40 minutes to complete. You should plan on spending two hours at the testing center, however, you may take as long as you need to complete your test.


Students get one free re-test with the $25 fee. Subsequent re-tests will be another $25 for each re-test. There are several study sites available as well as an individualized learning plan through MyFoundationLab (MFL). Please ask the testing proctor about study information.

If a student has taken a placement test and would like to do some practice or studying without taking a lower level class, there is a diagnostic test available. The diagnostic is included in the $25 fee. For an additional $18.50 a student can access MyFoundationLab (MFL). This is an individualized learning plan based on the results of the diagnostic. Students can go through 10 weeks of modules that will allow them to study the skills needed to improve the scores on the CPT.