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Testing CenterWhat is the purpose of the examination?

The Placement Examination is designed to measure students' skills in English (writing and reading) and mathematics. The results of the examination will determine whether a student must take proficiency courses in English or mathematics and, in addition, will serve as a measure of basic competency in these areas.

Who must take the examination?


Can SAT scores substitute for the Placement Examination?

Yes. You may be placed into a Math class based on your Math SAT score and/or an English composition class based on a combination of your Critical Reading and Writing SAT scores. However, if you do not report SAT scores or the scores do not allow us to place you into the appropriate Math and/or English courses, you must take the placement examination in either English or Math or both. All SAT scores must be submitted to the Admissions Office.

How do I know if I have to take the Placement?

If you submitted your SAT scores to the Admissions Office, you will be receiving an ‘Important English and Mathematics Course Information’ letter from us. This letter will inform you the classes you placed into based on your SAT results. You may be placed into a Mathematics and/or English class. If we were not allowed to place you, you will be invited to take the English and/or Math placement examination.

What is included in the examination?

English: if you need to take the English Placement Exam, you have two options: 1) A paper and pen exam on Campus, or; 2) An Online Writing Assessment from home. For both options, students will be asked to read on a selection and write one complete essay guided by questions about the selection. Essays will be judged on: 1) demonstrated understanding of the reading selection; 2) independent thought in response to the subject of the selection; 3) structure (organizing and paragraphing); and 4) mechanics (punctuation, grammar, and spelling). If you decide to come to campus, you have two hours for this assignment, dictionaries, in book form, may be used for the English exam only. Electronic dictionaries may not be used. If you prefer the online version, your will have a couple of days to read articles, compose, and submit a convincing essay. Mathematics: Part 1 and Part 2 of the Mathematics Placement Examination are required of all students, regardless of major. In addition, Part 3 is also required of students in the following majors:

  • Biology
  • Education
  • Pharmacy
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Economics

Parts 1 and 2 of the Placement Examination will cover operations with whole numbers, fractions, decimals, percentages, negative and positive numbers, and topics in elementary and intermediate algebra and geometry. Part 3 will include topics from polynomials (multiplication, division, factoring); rational, exponential, logarithmic functions; radical expressions and equations; quadratic equations; right triangle trigonometry; graphs of conic sections; geometry; and complex numbers. Aids such as calculators, will be permitted for use during testing.

What types of calculators are allowed for the Mathematics Placement?

List of Approved calculators: four-function, scientific, or graphing calculators only. Cell phone calculators are NOT allowed.

How many times can I take the Placement Examination?

Students are allowed to retake the English and Math Placement exam twice after the initial placement. Students must contact the Testing Center for an appointment (718-488-13092). You may want to consider tutoring before signing for a retest. Please visit the Academic Reinforcement or Math Centers.

Retest options are only available for students who have not taken any class in either English or Math. If a student registers and completes the class he/she initially placed into, then the sequence of classes must be followed. Only, a few students in English 13 courses could be referred by their English professors to take the English 14 exemption exam.

Do ESL and international students need to take the Placement Exam?

Students with overseas credentials (secondary school or university level) may be required to submit TOEFL scores to the Admissions Office. Please call the Admissions Office at 718-488-1011 for further information. International students will also be required to take the Placement Examination or a special ESL proficiency exam upon arrival at the university.

When and where can I take the examination?

You may take the exam on campus any one of the dates indicated on our website You do not need an appointment; just follow the time and location. If you do not live in the immediate area, you may be eligible to make arrangements to take our Placement Exam at a school or college near you. For information or additional testing dates, call the Testing Center at 718-488-1392 or visit our website at

What if I decide to take my English Placement Online?

If you prefer to take the LIU Online Writing Assessment, please visit our online site at, read the instructions and make sure you have the system and computer requirements to take the exam online. Follow the instructions for pre-registration and sign for one of the many exam dates. This option may be useful if you live out-of state.

Can accommodations be provided?

Students with a documented disability are eligible to receive accommodations from the Office of Student Support Services once they have provided a copy of their documentation, which can be faxed to 718-488-1690. One week is designated for the processing of the student’s information. In order to make arrangements students need to call 718-488-1044.

What should students bring to the examination?

Photo identification such as a school ID or a driver’s license, two sharp pencils, a pen, and an eraser. You may bring a dictionary, in book form, to be used for the English exam only and an approved calculator for the Math exam. You must know your LIU student identification number in order to take the examination. Anyone without an LIU identification number should report the Social Security number or should contact the Admissions Office 718-488-1011 to find out the status of his/her application.