Testing for the Fall Semester 2014 will begin late-March.
Details about the Educational Planning Survey and placement testing will be sent to you from the New Student Orientation office at University Park beginning in late-March. Your acceptance fee needs to be paid before you can test. A postcard will provide you with the testing website and a deadline date to complete the tests. If for any reason you do not complete the tests by your deadline date, you will need to contact University Park at 814-865-2578 to request an extension.
The results of the required testing component serve several purposes:
Placement – The results are used to determine your appropriate starting levels in mathematics and chemistry course sequences. Please take these tests seriously and do your best.
Educational Planning and Academic Advising – The results provide a sound base of specific information on which to evaluate your educational plans by indicating to you and your academic adviser where you stand in various academic areas in relation to other Penn State students, what you can expect to achieve academically at Penn State, and in which types of educational programs you would probably do well.
English Composition course placement is determined by the SAT-W score. Advisers will assist students without SAT-W scores during the New Student Orientation campus visit to determine appropriate English composition placement.
Tests are administered in the areas of Mathematics and Chemistry.
The relative importance of each of these tests, which were developed by Penn State's academic departments in cooperation with University Testing Services (which is now part of the Schreyer Institute for Innovation in Learning), will vary according to your program of study. However, you should do your best on these tests because the results will specify at what level you will begin in those subject areas, i.e., whether you will need to take remedial work, whether you can start at a regular beginning level, or whether you can begin at an advanced level. Those students who do not take these tests seriously, generally find themselves in lower levels.
Mathematics testing is required of all entering first-year students and is important because all majors at the University require courses in quantification. This test measures a student's knowledge of various algebra and trigonometry topics. The test is particularly important for students entering programs of study that require calculus, since the results will indicate which courses to schedule in calculus, algebra, and/or trigonometry.
Two versions of the mathematics test are offered: one version requires the use of a calculator; the other does not. You may choose either version of the test. If you choose the calculator version of the test, you may use any four-function, scientific or graphing calculator. Whichever test you decide to take, please be aware that calculators are not allowed for quizzes and exams in calculus (Math 110 and 140) and pre-calculus (Math 21, 22, 26 and 41) courses at Penn State.
This test is broken down as follows:
- 72 questions
- You will have 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete the test.
- Most of the questions and answer choices contain images.
A sample test is available to test your knowledge of these subjects before you take the actual mathematics test.
The purpose of the chemistry test is to measure students' knowledge in various topic areas of chemistry. All students who have taken high school chemistry are required to take this test. The results, in conjunction with the results of the mathematics test, will determine the appropriate beginning chemistry level if you schedule a chemistry course at Penn State. This test is most important for students who are interested in academic programs in science/engineering areas.
The chemistry test covers a wide variety of topics including: simple atomic structure (atomic number and weight), nomenclature of common elements and compounds, the meaning of empirical and molecular formulas, equation balancing (non-redox type), simple stoichiometry (percentage composition, weight-weight calculations in a reaction), the mole concept (gram-mole conversions) and gas laws (Boyle's and Charles's).
You may not use a calculator on this test.
This test is broken down as follows:
- 20 questions
- You will have 30 minutes to complete the test.
- 2 questions contain graphic images.