The testing center on the Dowagiac campus

Placement Testing

About Testing

Placement tests in reading, writing, and math help us place you in the appropriate courses for your skill level so that you don’t waste time on classes you don’t need or take classes that are beyond your current skill level.

Below you’ll find everything you need to know about taking placement tests. Still have questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us!

We also offer CLEP and Challenge tests, for which you may earn credit. 

Live too far away to come to campus for testing? You can complete testing at other testing centers. Use the Test Center Locator at to find a center near you, then call us to let us know where you’ll be testing so we can make arrangements with them. 

The Testing Center is certified by the National College Testing Association. 

  • Mission Statement

    The mission of the Testing Center of Southwestern Michigan College is to provide support to students, faculty, and staff which promotes high quality operations and ethical and fair practices to all who use our services. The Testing Center adheres to the National College Testing Association Professional Standards and Guidelines that promote legal, ethical, and equitable practices within an environment of continuous quality improvement, technological advancement, and fiscal responsibility. We value honesty, integrity, and fairness in all testing procedures. We value confidentiality, rights, and privacy of examinees and staff. We value respect and understanding for students, faculty, and staff.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Do I Know If I Need to Test?

    The easiest way to know is to ask your advisor.

    If you’ve never taken the SAT or ACT or if your scores have expired (English and reading scores expire after ten years, math after two), you might have to test.

    If your scores have not expired and you scored well, you may not have to take some or any of the tests. We highly encourage you to submit your scores even if you don’t think you did well, as you may still be exempt from certain tests or qualify for scholarships. Log in to CollegeBoard or ACT to send us your scores.

    Even if you scored well, you may still take placement tests in an attempt to place into higher-level courses. 

    We also offer credit for AP courses and for taking CLEP and Challenge tests in certain subject areas.

  • How Do I Schedule a Test?

    When you talk to your advisor and they determine you need to take a test, they will let you know how to go about scheduling it. Please note that testing can take up to three hours to complete, so please plan to give yourself plenty of time. 

  • What Does It Cost?

    Placement testing is always free. Other tests (like CLEP) may charge a fee. Visit the page for the test you are interested in to learn about other fees.

  • How Long Will It Take?

    Placement tests are untimed. You may need to take up to three tests, and it is recommended that you plan to give yourself at least 45 minutes per test to make sure you’re not rushed. Please arrive plenty of time before closing to give yourself enough time to test. You can complete the tests in separate sections if you need to.

  • What Do I Need to Bring? 

    Just a photo ID!

    A calculator is built in to the testing system, in sections of the test that allow them. 

  • What Are the Tests Like and How Should I Prepare?

    The tests are similar to most standardized tests, but they adjust to your skill level. If you’re answering well, the questions will get more difficult to find your limits. If you’re answering incorrectly, the questions will stay at the same level or get easier to find the level at which you’re most successful. 

    Try a practice test to see what they’re like.

  • Do You Have Any Accommodations for Disabilities? 

    Yes!  Contact our Disability Services Coordinator ahead of time to determine which, if any, accommodations are supported. Learn about Disability Services here.

  • Can My Parents Come?

    Yes, but they will have to wait outside the testing room. The Testing Center is located close to the Birdfeeder if they’d like something to eat, and they’re more than welcome to chat with advisors or explore campus while you test.  

Try a Test Ahead of Time

Want to get a feel for what the placement tests are like? Take a free practice test on the Accuplacer website.

Try a practice test here.


Students taking a placement test