Placement Tests

Each incoming student is asked to take a placement test for the following subject areas: mathematics, foreign languages, and music. Please read the information for each placement test carefully.

All placement tests are taken at home during the summer, and your responses are entered online. All tests can be accessed at Important Forms.

If you have any questions about placement testing, please contact the Learning Commons staff at (814) 332-2898 or learningcommons@allegheny.edu.

Mathematics

All entering students are required to take the math placement exam unless they qualify for an exemption (see below). A student’s math placement score is a measure of their current preparation for calculus courses taught at Allegheny College and is used to determine which calculus course is the most appropriate starting point for that student. In particular, the placement test will place a student into either MATH 151 (Calculus I) or MATH 140 (Calculus I with Precalculus, Part 1), both of which are appropriate for any major or minor program at Allegheny. 

The following students are exempt from taking the math placement test: 

  • Students who have earned one of the following Advanced Placement scores and have submitted an official AP score report to Allegheny:
    • 4 or 5 on the AB calculus exam
    • 4 or 5 on the BC calculus exam
    • 3 on the BC calculus exam with a 4 or 5 as the AB subscore.
  • Students who have received transfer credit for an Allegheny math course numbered MATH 141 or higher.
  • Students who have received transfer credit for PRERQ*MAT.

Exempt students will consult with their summer 1st Year Course Registration advisor about an appropriate starting math course. There will also be time during Welcome Weekend for students to consult with a member of the Mathematics Department about their math placement. 

More information about math placement and math courses can be found in the Allegheny College Academic Bulletin and on the Mathematics Department website.

Chemistry

Chemistry does not have a placement exam, but all entering students should take the math placement exam. Any path that may include chemistry is based on initial math placement. Entry into CHEM 120 requires placement into MATH 151 via the math placement exam. Students with transfer credit will be advised accordingly.

Students who have obtained at least a 4 on the Advanced Placement chemistry exam (or at least a 5 on the IBE chemistry exam) may start the chemistry curriculum by taking CHEM 122. Students who have obtained a 5 on the Advanced Placement chemistry exam may start the chemistry curriculum by taking CHEM 231 (Organic Chemistry I) in their first semester.

For further information about placement into CHEM 120, CHEM 122, or CHEM 231, please contact the department chair, Professor P.J. Persichini, at pj.persichini@allegheny.edu or (814) 332-5359.


Foreign Languages

All entering students who have studied a foreign language prior to enrollment at Allegheny must take the language placement examination, unless they qualify for an exemption. Language placement tests are available for Chinese, French, German, Latin, and Spanish and can be found beginning May 18 at Important Forms. Follow the link for “Placement Exams — Foreign Language.” A standardized test, it helps determine the level at which students should begin college-level language study by taking a snapshot of their ability at this point in time. Students who have prior experience
in Arabic and would like to continue at Allegheny should contact the Department of Modern and Classical Languages.

Students are exempt from taking the foreign language placement exams if they have never studied a foreign language or have had no significant exposure to a language other than English. Students who speak a language other than English at home should also take a language placement exam in that language if they intend to study that language formally while at Allegheny. Questions about the foreign language placement tests can be directed to the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. Call (814) 332-3354 or email Reese Campbell at rcampbell@allegheny.edu.

Music

Students interested in taking courses in music should:

  • Take the online music diagnostic exam
  • Audition for applied lesson courses
  • Audition for ensembles

Music Diagnostic Test
The music diagnostic test is required for all students planning to take courses in music theory or music history, which are required for all majors and minors in music.

This online test serves as placement for music theory and music history. It can take from five to 35 minutes depending on your previous knowledge.

Students who do not currently intend to major or minor in music, but have played an instrument or have sung for several years and wish to continue in applied lessons and/or ensembles: the Music Department suggests that you consider taking the music diagnostic exam. Knowing where you would need to begin the required series of courses in history and theory could be very helpful if later on you were to consider a major or minor in music.

Further information about music placement, applied lesson courses, and ensembles can be found in the Allegheny College Academic Bulletin and on the Music Department website.