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English Assessment Information

Is the English Assessment required?

Yes!  English (or in some cases the ESL) assessment is required of all new first-time college students attending Pasadena City College.

Should I take the English or the ESL assessment?

If you are a native English speaker or attended junior and senior high school in the United States, take the English Assessment. This test does a better job of assessing your skills. The ESL test has been designed for English learner students coming from other countries who did not complete high school in the U.S.

Why do I have to take the English Assessment?

The assessment focuses on your reading and writing skills. The results inform you if you are ready for college-level work or if you need to further develop your skills. Your results on the assessment determine which English class you will take first.  The better you do on the assessment, the more likely you are to place in a higher level class; therefore, saving yourself time and money!

What determines success in English?

One of the most important measures of your current skill level is reading and writing. We also recognize the importance of study skills, time management skills, previous grades in English and/or ESL, completion of course prerequisites, motivation, the length of time since your last ESL class, and/or the length of time since your last ESL class in your country.

What is the name of the English assessment test?

PCC administers the ACCUPLACER exam to assess students' skills in reading, grammar, and writing.  There are two parts:

  1. Reading Comprehension
  2. Sentence Skills

The computerized test will adapt to you. That means that you will first get a basic question (not too easy, not too difficult.) If you answer that question correctly you will be given an item of greater difficulty which is valued with more points. If you get it wrong, you will get an item of lesser difficulty, which is valued with fewer points. If you want to maximize your chances of placing into a college-level English class it is crucial you perform well in the first few questions you see.

What skills are assessed by the ACCUPLACER English tests?

The ACCUPLACER English assessment tests measure a variety of skills.

These are:

PART 1: Reading Comprehension (20 questions)

  • Long and short reading passages, followed by questions based on the text.
  • Sentence relationships, presents two sentences followed by a question about the relationship between these two sentences. The question may ask, for example, if the statement in the second sentence supports that in the first, if it contradicts it, or if it repeats the same information.

PART 2: Sentence Skills (20 questions)

  • Sentence correction questions will check your understanding of sentence structure.
  • Construction shift questions ask that a sentence be rewritten according to the criteria shown while maintaining essentially the same meaning as the original sentence.

How can I best prepare for the English assessment?

First, review the website below to become familiar with the assesment. The sites describe the tests in detail, provide you with review materials, sample questions and quizzes, and others will show you concrete strategies on how to approach a given type of question. We strongly advise you to read and practice before coming to take your placement test.

  • ACCUPLACER Study Guide from the Study Guide Zone  This guide provides excellent examples and over 20 strategies on how to approach the questions you will see in the ACCUPLACER Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills tests. 
  • ACCUPLACER Study Guide   Comprehensive review guide with test taking strategies and specific examples for ACCUPLACER tests.

Note:  Page compiled by PCC English Division. The study guides provided are all external sources and PCC is not affiliated with the content nor upkeep of these sites.  These resources are provided as a courtesy for exam preparation.










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