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Placement Exams

  • First-year college writing courses play a vital role in enhancing the transition into the university by providing an introduction to the critical reading, writing, and inquiry practices of the university. Because these are foundational courses that connect directly to the University Learning Outcomes, all students seeking a baccalaureate degree complete at least six credits in first-year writing. In order to successfully complete the First-Year Writing Requirement, students must complete ENGL 101 and 102 (or their equivalents) with a grade of C- or higher, or demonstrate writing proficiency as outlined below.*

    College First-Year Writing Requirement
    ENGL 101 WaivedSatisfactory score to place into ENGL 102 from The Write Class assessment tool.
    ENGL 101 CreditAP Language and Composition score of 3 or 4; or Completion of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme.
    ENGL 101 and 102 CreditAP Language and Composition score of 5; or ACT English score of 31 or higher; SAT Reading score of 37 or higher; or Completion of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and English 1A Language and Literature HL exam score of 5 or higher.
    Note: All students must complete The Write Class, regardless of eligibility for receiving credit based on measures listed above. *To receive credit for ENGL 101 and ENGL 102 based on ACT or SAT scores, students must complete the Receiving Credit for English Composition Based on Test Scores form and
    submit it to the Registrar’s Office.

    Course Selection

    Boise State University uses an online assessment tool, The Write Class, to place all students in the appropriate first-year writing course. Before your orientation session (and before you are able to register for a first-year writing course), you need to complete The Write Class. Results take up to 72 hours to process. You may need to access your results during your orientation session.

    International Students

    If English is not your native language, you need to take the ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Language) placement test. To take the ESOL placement test, contact the Testing Center, (208) 426-2762, located in the Simplot Micron Academic Success Hub, Room 213, or see their site The ESOL placement test will place you into ENGL 121, 122, 123, or 101.

    Transfer Students

    If you have transferred English composition courses from another institution to Boise State, the Registrar’s Office will determine whether your courses satisfy all or part of the First-Year Writing Course Requirement. If you have further questions about first-year writing transfer equivalencies, the First-Year Writing Program can provide information about options. However, if you have questions about placement or transfer courses that will impact the upcoming semester, please plan accordingly. To ensure appropriate service, all placement and transfer credit issues must be received in the First-Year Writing Program Office at least ten business days prior to the start of the upcoming fall semester, and by the end of fall semester finals week for the upcoming spring semester.

    Priority deadline for Fall Semester 2017 is August 7, 2017; priority deadline for Spring Semester 2016 is December 8, 2017.

    For further information on first-year writing courses, transfer issues, placement, or contact the First-Year Writing Program Office, Liberal Arts Building, Room 256. Preferred contact:, secondary contact: (208) 426-4209.

  • Because the ability to think quantitatively is a characteristic of an educated person, Boise State University requires students to demonstrate proficiency in mathematics. All students seeking a baccalaureate degree (and, with a few exceptions, those seeking an associate degree) must complete 3-5 credits in mathematics.

    Mathematics and Computer Science Placement Exam Policy

    ACT/SAT/COMPASS are for placement only. All students must take a mathematics course; the placement tests do not waive the mathematics requirement.

    Placement Exams

    Boise State uses an “adaptive” computerized exam that covers up to four areas of mathematics (pre-algebra, algebra, college algebra, and trigonometry). The areas covered will depend on your background and your performance as the exam proceeds.

    The exam is untimed and the number of questions you will be given will vary due to the adaptive nature of the exam, but you should generally allow about an hour. Your exam will be scored immediately and you will be given a printout of your results telling you which classes you are permitted to take.

    An exam fee is payable to The Testing Center, Simplot Micron Academic Success Hb, 2nd floor, room 213, at the time you take the exam. Photo ID is required. Personal checks are not accepted. You may take the exam at most twice during a given semester, and results are valid for placement only for the designated semester.

    Math Placement Exam Scores/Placement

    ACTSATACCUPLACERCourse Placement
    18430244 QASMATH 108, MATH 123
    23540256 QASCS 111, MATH 143, MATH 149, MATH 157, MATH 254
    27620254 AAFMATH 144*, MATH 160
    29650268 AAFMATH 170**, MATH 171
    *MATH 144 can be earned simultaneously with co-requisite MATH 143.
    **MATH 170 can be earned simultaneously with MATH 144.

    Transfer students will need to contact the Mathematics Department ( to determine whether transfer courses not equivalent to a Boise State course will count as prerequisites for placement purposes.

    Scores on the Mathematics portion of the ACT or SAT may be used for placement, but if in doubt, you should take the placement exam. The table above gives placement cutoffs for standard scores. You may take the indicated course if your standard score is high enough.

    The developmental mathematics courses MATH 15 Pre-Algebra and MATH 25 Elementary Algebra do not require a placement exam.