Placement Testing for Bowie Students

Placement Testing and Academic Advisement Dates for Fall 2015 Admission

First-Time/Freshman Students [All Freshmen take English, Reading, and Math]

  • June 10
  • June 15
  • June 22
  • June 29

Transfer Students [Check with Admissions Office for which test you are required to take]

  • June 11
  • June 18
  • June 25

NSO Registration — Fall 2015

New Student Orientation (NSO) includes Placement Testing, Academic Advisement, class registration, and "Discover BSU" activities. You must register for sessions on the NSO web site. Registration links are not available yet; please check the NSO site within the next week. We apologize for the delay.

If you have not paid your $80.00 enrollment acceptance fee, you will not be permitted to take the Placement Exam or receive academic advisement.

Who Must Take the Test

  • All first-year students must take the Placement Test before receiving advisement and registering for classes. 
  • All transfer students who do not transfer English composition with a "C" or better must take the English Placement Exam.
  • Transfer students whose transfer evaluation does not indicate credits for MATH 116 (or some higher math course) must take the Math Placement Exam before being permitted to register for classes.
  • In-state transfer students who have an associate degree are not required to take a placement test. 
  • Only students who have been admitted to Bowie State University are permitted to take the Placement Test.  

All questions about transfer evaluations should be directed to the Office of Enrollment, 301.860.3415. 

Academic Advisement

Immediately after completing the Placement Exam, first-time students and transfer students who transfer fewer than 60 credits to BSU will be advised by the Academic Advisement Center.   However, transfer students transferring 60 or more credits to BSU must contact their academic department and make an appointment for advisement. Registration instructions are at the bottom of this page.) 

Special Accommodations

Students who have a disability and who need special accommodations should call the Coordinator of Disability Support Services, at 301.860.4067.

Where to Test

Testing locations will vary; please review specific instructions for your location based on your test date.

What to Bring

Students who have been admitted to the University and who have registered to take the Placement Test must bring to the testing site a photo I.D., their student ID number, and two No. 2 pencils.  Personal calculators are prohibited!

Test Scores and Course Placement

Scores on the Placement Tests are determinant factors in whether students begin with developmental or regular college courses. A fee of $150, in addition to tuition, is charged per developmental course that a student takes. The grade earned in a developmental course is calculated into the semester and cumulative GPA. However, the credits earned for developmental courses do not count toward graduation.

Appropriate Testing Time

The writing/essay portion of the Placement Exam is the only timed section.   Students are given forty minutes to complete the writing section of the Exam.   The reading and math sections are not timed.   Students move at their own pace.   It usually takes first-time students approximately two hours to complete all three sections (writing, reading, and math) of the Placement Exam.   It generally takes transfer students an hour to complete the math portion of the Exam. 


A student may retake the writing, mathematics, and reading sections of the Placement Exam only once.  All retesting must be completed within two weeks of the students' initial placement testing date.   Call University Testing Services at 301.860.3295 to make an appointment to take the test a second time.

Academic Advisement

Academic advisement follows immediately after placement testing.   Depending on your major or the number of credits you transfer to Bowie State University, you should report to the Academic Advisement Center or to your academic department for academic advisement.  Please refer to the Academic Advisement Center's web site for detailed instructions. 

The Placement Test

The Placement Test, ACCUPLACER, is administered on computers at the testing site on campus. The test items themselves were developed by the College Board, with the help of committees of college professors, and are designed to help determine the initial English, reading, and mathematics courses most appropriate for students.  The Placement Test consists of three areas: writing, reading, and math.

  1. THE ESSAY - Students will be given 40 minutes to write an essay on a given topic. The essay should consist of an introductory paragraph with a clearly stated and appropriate thesis, three to five paragraphs of adequate support and an appropriate concluding paragraph. The essay will be evaluated in terms of development, unity, coherence, clarity/logic, correct grammar and usage, spelling, punctuation and other proper mechanics. 
  2. READING COMPREHENSION This test is designed to measure how well one understands what he/she reads.  It contains 20 questions. Some ask for the relationship between sentences. Others ask for the main ideas, details, and inferences.
  3. ELEMENTARY ALGEBRA - There are three categories in the Elementary Algebra Test.
  • The first is operations with integers and rational numbers, including computation with integers and negative rationale, the use of absolute values, and ordering.
  • The second category is operations with algebraic expressions. This tests one's skills with the evaluation of simple formulas and expressions, and the adding and subtracting of monomials and polynomials. Both of these categories include questions about multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, the evaluation of positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring.
  • The third category tests one's skills in equation solving, inequalities, and word problems. These questions include solving systems of linear equations, solving quadratic equations by factoring, solving verbal problems presented in algebraic context, geometric reasoning, translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions, and graphing. Twelve questions are presented.

College-level Mathematics (CLM)  

The CLM Test assesses proficiency from intermediate algebra through pre-calculus. Six categories are covered. The first category, algebraic operations, includes simplifying rational algebraic expressions, factoring, expanding polynomials, and manipulating roots and exponents. The category, solutions of equations and inequalities, includes the solution of linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, equation systems, and other algebraic equations. Coordinate geometry asks questions about plane geometry, the coordinate plane, straight lines, conics, sets of points in the plane, and graphs of algebraic functions. Applications and other algebra topics ask about complex numbers, series and sequences, determinants, permutations and combinations, fractions, and word problems. The last category, functions and trigonometry, presents questions about polynomial, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions. Twenty questions are asked.Access the Accuplacer study guides and practice exams for writing, reading, and mathematics.

Tips for Taking the Placement Tests

  • Relax! The Placement Tests were designed to help you succeed in college. Your score helps you and your advisor determine which courses are most appropriate for your current level of knowledge and skills.
  • You will be able to concentrate better on the test if you get plenty of rest and eat properly prior to the test. You should also arrive a few minutes early so you can find the testing area, restrooms, etc., and gather your thoughts before the test begins.
  • Pay careful attention to directions and be sure you understand the directions before you begin each test.
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, try to eliminate one or more of the choices. Then pick one of the remaining choices.

Do not bring textbooks, notebooks, dictionaries, or paper into the testing room.  They are prohibited!

Practicing for the Placement Exam

College Board has provided tutorial sessions in ACCUPLACER for the Placement Exam.   To practice for the exam, you may click here on  ACCUPLACER and complete as many tutorial sessions as you like in writing/English, reading, and math before you take the Placement Test.