Placement Testing

Depending on certain requirements, you may need to take a placement test in English or mathematics before you can choose your classes at Northampton Community College. Placement exams allow advisers to schedule you into English and math courses that fit your skill level. If you receive exceptional scores, you may even be able to opt out of certain classes. Compared to other schools, there is no entrance exam required as NCC accepts all students.

Who is required to take placement tests?

Placement in English is required for students applying to a degree or certificate program. Students who meet one of the following criteria will be placed directly in ENGL 101 English 1: (1) Graduated from high school within the past 5 years with a GPA of 3.0 or higher in a college preparatory curriculum, (2) Scored 500 or above on the SAT Writing and Critical Reading exams (2005 to March 2016), (3) Scored 560 or higher on the new SAT Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing exam (March 2016 and beyond), (4) Earned a combine score of 2650 or higher on the 11th grade PSSA Reading and Writing exams with neither score below 1200, (5) Scored a 21 or higher on the ACT English exam. Students who do not meet one of these criteria will need to take the English placement test to determine eligibility for ENGL 101 English 1, (6) Appropriate scores on relevant Advance Placement (AP) exams. 

What is the placement test?

When necessary, new students are tested for placement in appropriate levels of English and/or Mathematics. NCC uses the CollegeBoard Accuplacer test for English and mathematics testing. Accuplacer tests are standardized community college placement tests that are not timed. The English test consists of reading and writing sections and typically takes approximately 60 minutes to complete. The mathematics test features questions on arithmetic, elementary algebra and college level mathematics. Students typically complete the mathematics test in approximately 30 to 60 minutes. When students are required to take the English and mathematics tests it is recommended that they take the tests on separate days.

Where and when is placement testing offered?

NCC offers community college placement testing at the Main and Monroe Campuses. No appointments are necessary. Testing sessions are available:

  • Monday through Thursday: 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, 2:00 pm, 4:00 pm, & 6:00 pm
  • Friday: 10:00 am, 12:00 pm, & 2:00 pm (Not available on the last Friday in May and all Fridays in June through July)

Bethlehem Campus
3835 Green Pond Road
Bethlehem, PA 18020
Advising Office (College Center 341)

Monroe Campus
2411 Route 715
Tannersville, PA 18372
Advising Office (Keystone Hall)


You should arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled testing time.  Students who report after a testing session has begun will be asked to come back for another testing session.  Due to the length of the test, only one test may be taken during the 6:00 testing session (English or Mathematics).

Testing Off-Campus

Students who live beyond a reasonable commuting distance and are unable to take a scheduled community college placement test at one of the NCC sites may make arrangements to have off-campus proctored testing. You are required to find a proctor at a local school or public library.

The following information is necessary and must be supplied to NCC Advising Office prior to the student taking the test:

  • Name and phone number of the institution where the student is going to take the test
  • Name, phone number and email address of the individual who will proctor the test

The NCC Advising Office will send the testing information to the proctor for him/her to administer the test(s). Contact the Advising and Transfer Office at 610.861.5346 for more information.

May students retest if they don't test into English I or college level math?

Yes, you may retest one time before taking any developmental courses. Students who start developmental courses are not eligible to retest.

Can students prepare for placement tests?

Although no preparation is required for the English or math placement tests, there are sample community college placement test questions available for practice. Students may access sample questions by visiting the College Board Accuplacer web site at the following link.

What should students bring for testing?

Students should bring a form of photo identification and their NCC ID number. An on-screen calculator is available for test items that require calculation. It is not necessary for students to bring a calculator.