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Placement Testing

Students entering UIS who need to complete General Education college-level math and English composition courses may be required to take placement exams prior to registering for their first courses. The Office of Undergraduate Education administers the COMPASS Math & Reading Placement Exams through the Office of Testing Services in the Center for Academic Success.  Developed by the makers of the ACT exam, COMPASS exams provide a more in-depth assessment of students’ skills and help college administrators and advisors determine the most appropriate class placement for their new students.

Students wishing to study a foreign language at UIS may also be required to take a placement exam. Language Placement Exams are administered through the Department of Modern Languages.

Testing Services Summer 2015 testing schedule:

Mondays — 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Tuesdays — 10:00 am – 2:00 pm

Wednesdays — 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm

Fridays — 9:00 am – 1:00 pm

Math Placement Testing

Students entering UIS with fewer than 30 credit hours are required to complete two (2) UIS college-level math courses to meet the General Education math requirement. In some cases, your general education math course are determined by your major because some majors require specific math classes as pre-requisites to the major course of study. For example, Calculus is required for Computer Science, Math, and some science majors.

The math courses you take are governed by the placement system utilized by the Math Department at UIS. Two outcomes are possible: 1) placement into a college-level math course appropriate for your skills and your intended major; or 2) placement into a developmental math course to build your skills for future success in a UIS college-level math class. All math placements are made with your success in mind.

The Math Department at UIS uses a combination of ACT Math sub scores, COMPASS Math Placement Test scores, prior college-level math credit, and the intended major to determine in which math classes you are eligible to register. Based on this information, you may be placed in a college-level math course appropriate for your major or a developmental math course to further prepare you for college-level math. If you do not have prior college-level math credit, use the table below to determine if you are required to take the COMPASS Math Placement Test.

Your Anticipated Major

Your ACT Math Sub Score

Required to Test

Biology, Clinical Laboratory Science, Communications, Criminal Justice, English, Environmental Studies, Global Studies, History, Legal Studies, Nursing, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, Sociology/Anthropology, Visual Arts   

22 and below

Required to Test

Accounting, Business Administration, Computer Science, Economics, Management, Management Information Systems, or anyone wishing to take Business Calculus   

24 and below

Required to Test

Chemistry, Mathematics, Pre-Med Biology, Pre-Med Clinical Laboratory Science, or any planning to take Calculus I   

26 and below

Required to Test

Transfer students who have not already completed general education math courses, and whose ACT math subscore is 22 or below (24 or below for business and computer science majors, 26 or below math and science majors) are also required to take the COMPASS math placement exam.

Information regarding Placement Testing is sent to newly-admitted students as they prepare for Orientation. New entering freshmen are expected to complete Math and/or Reading Placement testing prior to attending orientation. Placement Exams can be taken at a location near you, or at the UIS campus. Testing is scheduled at UIS through out the year. See the schedule above. Testing can be scheduled at remote testing locations throughout Illinois and the United States. Click on this link or copy and paste, https://illinois.edu/fb/sec/1998251 to request a testing location near you.  You are encouraged to review the sample practice questions prior to taking the exam. It is best to complete placement testing exams prior to meeting with your advisor to register for classes.


Reading/Writing Placement Testing

New entering students who have not already completed the equivalent of English Composition may be required to take a Reading/Writing placement exam. Placement is determined by the ACT sub-scores in English & Reading. Use the chart below to determine if you must take the COMPASS Reading Placement exam.

Your ACT test section

Your ACT Sub Score

Required to Test

ACT English   

20 and below

Required to Test

ACT Reading   

20 and below

Required to Test

Placement Testing is scheduled at UIS through out the year. Contact Testing Services for days and times or see the schedule here. Testing can be scheduled at remote testing locations throughout Illinois and the United States. Click on this link or copy and paste, https://illinois.edu/fb/sec/1998251 to request a testing location near you.

For more information on COMPASS Placement Exams contact Testing Services in the Center for Academic Success


Foreign Language placement testing

Study in a modern language other than English is required for some majors and programs of study. Students wishing to study a foreign language may have to take a language placement exam. Please complete the Modern Languages Placement Testing Request form to schedule a language placement test exam.  You may also contact the Modern Languages department for more information.

International students whose first language is not English may be required to take an English language placement exam. Placement into UIS composition courses is based on a combination of ACT/SAT and TOEFL or Millicet scores. Contact the ESL office at (217) 206-8356 for more information.