What are Placement Tests?

The University of Iowa offers placement exams in mathematics, chemistry, and some world languages. Placement exam results are used by academic advisors along with admissions test scores (ACT and SAT), high school transcript information, and transfer credit to help students determine in which courses to enroll. Placement exams should be taken as close to end of coursework in high school or a college course in the exam area. Placement exams should be taken one time and should be completed in one sitting.

Re-taking Placement Tests 

Student should plan to take most exams once. Placement exams are not meant to be re-taken to improve a score. If a student does feel the need to re-take a placement exam, please see below for details regarding the process for re-taking exams.

Students are able to re-take the Chemistry Placement Exam one time without additional approval.

Once registered for an ALEKS math placement test, students have access to 5 placement tests, so students may retake the ALEKS math placement test 4 times without requesting permission for additional tests.  Students may repeat the Advanced Math Placement test once without special permission by emailing Amanda Marr in the Math Department (amanda-marr@uiowa.edu). It is recommended that students spend some time reviewing material from previous courses before retesting. Students may take the ALEKS math placement test more than once by completing course modules prior to repeating a test. There is no fee to retake a placement test.  

How are Placement Test Scores Used?

In some cases, scores from placement tests can be used to fulfill World Language General Education Program requirements with approval from the department/college. Incentive credit opportunities are also available in the world languages and mathematics for students who score well on a placement test and do well in subsequent college courses. Scores from placement tests do not affect admission decisions.

If you have questions about your placement score, contact the Academic Advising Center at advising-center@uiowa.edu.

Advanced Placement Exams and Scores:

The University of Iowa does not administer Advanced Placement exams, but we do accept AP scores for credit. Credit granting policies are available for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Tippie College of Business, The College of Engineering, The College of Nursing, The College of Public Health, and the College of Pharmacy on the University's Advanced Placement Program page.

International Students

International students in F-1 or J-1 status enrolling for fall should complete any required placement tests by the end of May, or as soon as possible thereafter. Students enrolling for spring should complete any required placement tests by the end of November, or as soon as possible thereafter.  

National Placement Tests

Academic Advising offers many national test programs, both computer and paper-based.

Accommodations for Placement Tests:

For accommodations on placement tests, students first need to register with Student Disability Services (SDS), if they have not already done so. For more information on how to register with SDS, please visit  Student Disability Services

Issues Taking Tests:

If you have technical difficulties, contact the ITS Help Desk at 319-384-4357 or Help Desk Online Chat