What is the English Assessment Exam?

The English Assessment will help you determine which English class you should take first at PCC. The test focuses on measuring your reading and writing skills, and will inform you if you are ready for college-level work or if you need to continue to develop your skills.

Who has to take the English Assessment Exam?

The English assessment exam is for native English speakers or students who attended junior and senior high school in the United States. You are required to take this exam if you:

  • Are a first-time college student attending Pasadena City College (PCC).
  • Plan on enrolling in any English classes at PCC.

If you are an English-learner student coming from another country and didn't complete high school in the U.S., then we recommend that you take the ESL Assessment Exam instead of the English placement test.

English Assessment Exam Exemptions

You MAY be exempt from the English Assessment exam if you:

  • Have completed all required English sections of the ACCUPLACER exam at another college within the last year.
  • Took the Early Assessment Program (EAP) exam within the last year and are identified as "College Ready" in English.
  • Passed college-level English courses at another accredited college.
  • Earned a bachelor degree or higher from an accredited educational institution.
  • Have an educational goal of "educational development/personal development/ interest."
  • Are enrolled in six units or fewer AND are enrolled in courses with no English prerequisites.

The Prerequisite Office processes all assessment exam exemptions. If you have questions or would like to be considered for an assessment exam exemption, please contact their office.

What’s on the English Assessment?

We use the ACCUPLACER exam to assess your skills in reading, grammar, and writing. This computerized test has two sections. You will be asked two types of questions in each section:

  1. Reading Comprehension (20 questions)
    • Long and Short Reading Passages: This section consists of long and short reading passages, and you will have to answer questions based on the text.
    • Sentence Relationships: You will be presented with two sentences followed by a question about the relationship between these two sentences. For example, the question could ask if the statement in the second sentence supports that in the first, if it contradicts it, or if it repeats the same information.
  2. Sentence Skills (20 questions)
    • Sentence Correction: These questions will assess your understanding of sentence structure.
    • Construction Shift: You will be asked to rewrite a sentence according to the criteria shown while keeping the same general meaning as the original sentence.

Scoring for the English Assessment Exam

To be successful on the exam, it is important that you understand how the test works. The exam will adapt to your answers by first starting with a basic question. If you answer this question correctly, you will be given a harder question which will be valued at more points. If you get these questions wrong, your next question will be less difficult and will be valued at fewer points. Doing well on the first few questions of the test will increase your chances of placing into a college-level English class.