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 course enrollment. Placement exams should be taken as close to the end of coursework in high school or a college course in the exam area. Most placement exams are taken only 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.

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 re-take a placement test. Students may repeat the Advanced Math Placement test once without special permission. If additional attempts are needed, students should email Amanda Marr in the Math Department (amanda-marr@uiowa.edu). It is recommended that students spend some time reviewing material from previous courses before re-testing.   

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 Test Programs

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). For information on how to register with SDS, please visit Student Disability Services. Once students are registered with SDS, complete the following steps to request accommodations for placement tests:

1. Enroll in the placement test on ICON.

2. Share with your SDS Access Consultant which placement test(s) you are enrolled in and requested accommodations.

3. SDS will confirm when accommodations have been enabled (usually within 24-48 hours).

4. Take the placement test.

Issues Taking Tests:

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