Welcome to Wayne State University

About placement testing

Several introductory courses at Wayne State University (WSU) are taught with the expectation that the student has attained a certain level of prior knowledge and skill in the subject. Placement tests have been designed to ensure that you have the required prior knowledge before taking a class. It is better to be placed into a lower level course by an examination than to fail a higher-level course for which you are not adequately prepared. Prepare to do your best by reviewing the material on the web sites indicated and getting plenty of rest the night before your exam(s). 

Determining the exam you need 

There are three courses typically taken by first-year students that require placement testing: Biology, Chemistry,  and Mathematics. This chart identifies which exams are or are not required, based on Department/Program/Track.

Course placement based on ACT or SAT below:

  • ACT and SAT scores may be used to satisfy your prerequisites; see the charts below. 
  • If you have satisfied the pre-requisite with your ACT or SAT score, you do not need to take the placement exam. 
  • If you did not satisfy the pre-requisite with your ACT or SAT score, you may take the placement exam to try to improve your placement. 
  • If you have not taken the ACT or SAT, you must take the placement exam for the required courses. 
  • "New SAT" refers to any SAT test taken on or after March 2016.

Biology

  • Students whose program requires biology (see this chart) and who took the ACT or SAT before August 2021 should register to take the Biology Placement Exam. 
  • For clarification about your requirement, contact Academic Advising
  • Supplemental instruction is available for BIO 1500. 

Course Placements

BIO 1500

or BIO 1510

Test Taken

ACT or SAT

on or after

August 2021

Required Score

ACT Composite = 24 or higher

Old SAT Critical Reading + Math = 1090 or higher

New SAT Reading + Writing + Math = 1160 or higher

Restrictions

Most recent score only

BIO 1050

ACT or SAT

on or after

August 2021

ACT Composite =  23 or below

Old SAT Critical Reading + Math = 1080 or below

New SAT Reading + Writing + Math = 1150 or below

Most recent score only

Register

Chemistry

ACT/SAT scores can not be used for Chemistry placement. Please consult this chart for majors which require the Chemistry Placement Exam.

Register

Mathematics

  • Students whose program requires math (see this chart) and who took the ACT or SAT before August 2021 should register to take the Mathematics Placement Exam. 
  • For clarification about your requirement, contact Academic Advising
  • Additional information is available from the Math Department.

Course Placement

Math 2210, 2010, or lower

Test Taken

ACT or SAT on

or after August 2021

Required Score

ACT Math= 29 or higher

SAT Math= 670 or higher

Restrictions

Most recent score only

Math 1800, 1120, 1110, or lower

ACT or SAT on

or after August 2021

ACT Math= 26-28

SAT Math= 620-660

Most recent score only

Math 1070 or lower

ACT or SAT on

or after August 2021

ACT Math= 21-25

SAT Math= 530 - 610

Most recent score only

Statistics 1020, Math 1000, or 0993

ACT or SAT on

or after August 2021

ACT Math= 20 or lower

SAT Math = 520 or lower

Most recent score only

Register

Notes about English

All students must demonstrate competence in basic English composition prior to completing thirty credits by completing the course ENG 1020, Introductory College Writing.

Students not ready for ENG 1020 should begin with ENG 1010 Basic Writing.

The ACT/SAT chart will identify where you should begin.

Course Placement

ENG 1020

Test Taken

ACT or SAT on

or after August 2021

Required Score

ACT English = 21 or higher

Old SAT Writing = 480 or higher

New SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing = 520 or higher

Restrictions

Highest valid score only

ENG 1010

ACT or SAT on

or after August 2021

ACT English = 01-20

Old SAT Writing = 470 or below

New SAT Evidence-Based Reading and Writing = 510 or below

Highest valid score only

 

If you did not take ACT/SAT or believe your ACT/SAT scores do ot reflect your ability, the English Department had this free self-assessment to help you decide.

Students can also demonstrate competence in basic composition by:

Earning credit for basic composition through Advanced Placement, CLEP, or International Baccalaureate; OR
Transferring credit received for successful completion of a comparable course completed with a grade of C or better at another college or university.

Writing support for students is available at the Writing, Research, and Technology Zone

Advanced Placement (AP) or College-Level Examination Programs (CLEP)

Some introductory course requirements may be met by AP and CLEP scores. If you have taken one of these exams, you may not need to take a placement exam. AP scores are delivered to the university in late summer. You may want to see what course credit you have earned prior to taking a placement exam. However, if you want to take your placement test early, you cannot lose credit that you earned through AP or CLEP.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I take my placement exams?

As soon as possible. We strongly encourage students take placement exams beginning as early as March for students who plan to start in the fall semester. This way, subject information is still fresh in your mind from high school. At the latest, you should test at least two weeks prior to your orientation date. Placement is critical to ensuring you enroll in the appropriate courses for your degree and have the most course choices available at the time of registration.

How much does it cost to take a placement exam?

All incoming first-year students can take each placement exam one time during their first year at no cost. If you choose to repeat any exams or wait to test until after your first year, you will need to pay for the placement exam. Information about exam fees can be found at www.testing.wayne.edu.

How do I sign up for a placement exam?

Please visit www.testing.wayne.edu to register for your placement exams.

What if I already submitted my ACT/SAT test scores?

Your ACT/SAT scores will be used for placement in the appropriate biology and math courses if you provided them as part of your admissions application. ACT/SAT scores cannot be used for chemistry placement. If you have ACT/SAT scores that you did not submit for admission but would like used for placement, please submit these scores to Admissions, admissions@wayne.edu, and they will post your scores for your advisor to review.

Can I take placement tests even if I submitted ACT/SAT scores?

Yes. You are welcome to take placement tests even if you submitted ACT/SAT scores if you wish to.

I took one or more Advanced Placement (AP) Exams and am waiting on my scores. Should I still take placement tests?

 AP scores are not published until July, meaning students waiting on AP scores are likely to have already attended orientation and registered for fall semester classes before receiving results. Taking the placement tests can help inform accurate course placement before the AP scores are available. If your AP score places you in a higher course or earns you credit for a course you've enrolled in, you can work with your academic advisor to change your schedule in July and August.

Which Advanced Placement test scores earn credit at WSU is included here: AP, CLEP and IB tests - Transfer Credit - Wayne State University

How will I receive my test results?

Results are displayed on the monitor at the conclusion of the exam. An email is sent after they have been posted to your academic record. 

What if I take a placement exam and my score is worse than where I placed on the ACT/SAT?

Chemistry does not use ACT/SAT score for placement, so you should take the placement exam.

For math, as long as your ACT/SAT score is less than 2 years old, taking math placement exam cannot hurt your placement, as your highest score on either exam will be used.

For biology, students with an ACT/SAT score on file with WSU will receive a placement but can consult with a biology department advisor about their specific situation and placement goals.

I received my test results but the registration system will not allow me to sign up for the course. What should I do?
The Testing Office must post a Permit to Register in the student records system before you can register for a Biology, Chemistry, English, or Math course.  If more than one week has passed since you received your test results and you are still unable to add your course, please email testing@wayne.edu.

How long are the test results valid?

  • Biology Placement Exam results are valid for three semesters.  
  • Chemistry Placement Exam results are valid for four semesters.
  • Mathematics Placement Exam results are valid for three semesters.

What can I use for identification when I test?
Acceptable identification must have a current photograph or physical description and be valid (i.e., not expired). Examples of acceptable identification include a Wayne State OneCard, driver's license, passport, or Michigan Personal Identification Card.  Examples of unacceptable identification include a Social Security Card, birth certificate, credit card, or any expired ID.

I have a disability that requires special accommodations for testing. How do I arrange this?
If you have a documented disability that requires testing accommodations, register with Student Disability Services for coordination of accommodations. Student Disability Services (SDS) is located at 1600 David Adamany Undergraduate Library in the University Advising Center. SDS is available at 313-577-1851 and studentdisability.wayne.edu.

How do I get to campus and where do I park?
We recommend parking in a University structure.  Students are not allowed to leave a test session to add money to a parking meter. Visitor parking structures require payment by credit or one card. Further information is available at maps.wayne.edu and parking.wayne.edu.  

If I still have questions how do I contact your office?
Any questions about which placement exams you should take or how other test scores or incoming credits might impact your placement should be directed to your assigned academic advisor. Questions regarding how to schedule an exam or exam administration should be directed to the Testing Office at testing@wayne.edu or 313-577-3400.

What if I am not a first-year student, what placement exams should I take?

Continuing students and transfer students should talk with their assigned academic advisor to discuss what placement tests are most appropriate for their specific situation.