You need to be prepared to complete both the mathematics and chemistry tests! Allot two hours for these tests. Exiting in the middle or between tests will cause the system to submit incomplete results.
Welcome to the second step—placement testing. This component of preparing for New Student Orientation involves placement testing in mathematics for all students and chemistry for students who might take chemistry courses. (Check the list of majors requiring chemistry). The results are used to determine a student's appropriate starting levels in mathematics and chemistry courses at the University. Students receive their placement test results during their campus visit.
If you anticipate needing test accommodations due to a disability, the staff in the Office for Disability Services (ODS) are able to provide information and assistance with this process.
Click on the links below for more information about the mathematics and chemistry tests:
You will be placed in the English composition program based on your demonstrated writing skill as measured by the SAT-Writing exam. Click here to read more about English placement.
Mathematics testing is required of all entering first-year students and is important because all majors at the University require courses in quantification. This test measures a student's knowledge of various algebra and trigonometry topics. The test is particularly important for students entering programs of study that require calculus, since the results will indicate which courses to schedule in calculus, algebra, and/or trigonometry.
Two versions of the mathematics test are offered: one version requires the use of a calculator; the other does not. You may choose either version of the test. If you choose the calculator version of the test, you may use any four-function, scientific or graphing calculator. Whichever test you decide to take, please be aware that calculators are not allowed for quizzes and exams in calculus courses (MATH 110 and 140) and pre-calculus courses (MATH 021, 022, 026 and 041) courses at Penn State.
Information about this test:
- 72 questions
- 1 hour and 40 minutes to complete
- Most of the questions and answer choices contain images
The purpose of the chemistry test is to measure students' knowledge in various topic areas of chemistry. The results, in conjunction with the results of the mathematics test, will determine the appropriate beginning chemistry level if you schedule a chemistry course at Penn State. This test is most important for students who are interested in academic programs in science/engineering areas. A complete list of majors requiring chemistry is available here.
The chemistry test covers a wide variety of topics including: simple atomic structure (atomic number and weight), nomenclature of common elements and compounds, the meaning of empirical and molecular formulas, equation balancing (non-redox type), simple stoichiometry (percentage composition, weight-weight calculations in a reaction), the mole concept (gram-mole conversions) and gas laws (Boyle's and Charles's).
Information about this test:
- 20 questions
- 30 minutes to complete
- 2 questions contain images
Penn State requires all students take a first-year composition course that can be satisfied by ONE of the following:
- ENGL 015 (Rhetoric and Composition)
- ENGL 030 (Honors Freshman Composition), or
- ENGL 137H (Rhetoric and Civic Life I), or
- ESL 015 (ESL/Composition for American Academic Communication II)
If English is your second language, you may schedule either ENGL or ESL composition courses.
You will be placed in the English composition program based on your demonstrated writing skill as measured by the SAT-Writing exam. If you do not have SAT-W scores, you will consult with an academic adviser during New Student Orientation to determine appropriate placement.
Most students demonstrate adequate preparation and are placed into ENGL 015. If you demonstrate strong preparation, you may be encouraged to take an honors composition course. If your SAT-W scores indicate weakness in your preparation, you may need to schedule ENGL 004 (Basic Writing Skills) before scheduling ENGL 015. Students enrolled in ENGL 004 or ENGL 015 may also concurrently schedule ENGL 005 (Writing Tutorial), a 1-credit course that offers additional writing support.