Placement Testing

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College of Western Idaho (CWI) uses placement testing to place students in the correct classes based on their academic skill level. Placement testing may additionally be used by students to test out of classes, demonstrate prior learning, fulfill degree requirements, or as part of a supplemental application process. Review the information and resources below to learn more. 

Study Guides

    Accepted Placement Exams

    To ensure you are placed in the correct math and English classes, CWI accepts the following placement exams to verify your academic skill level:  

    * Math placement scores must be within three years of the first day you intend to begin classes. College credit placement has no age limit. 

    Take a Placement Exam

    • Math Placement

      An ACT and/or SAT exam score that is three (3)-years-old or less, is used to determine the placement of an incoming student into the appropriate mathematics course. Student’s who do not have ACT or SAT scores or previous college Math courses will need to take the Math Diagnostic to determine placement. Students who wish to place higher than their ACT or SAT scores allow may also take the Math Diagnostic.

      Math Placement Scores

      The table below indicates testing requirements and course options for students using their Math score on the ACT or SAT. Required mathematics courses are determined by a student's chosen major. Score placement indicates the highest class level a student is eligible to register for. You may choose to enroll in any class at or below this level.

      ACT Math Score SAT Math Score CWI Math Diagnostic Score CWI Course Options*
      ≤ 17 ≤ 420 N/A Take Math Diagnostic
      ≥ 18 ≥ 430 Unit 0 Math 118/Math 123P1/Math 153P2
      ≥ 20 ≥ 480 Unit 2 Math 097/ Math 099/Math 123/Fina 109
      ≥ 25 ≥ 520 Unit 8 Math 098/Math 153/Math 143P3/Math 157
      ≥ 26 ≥ 570 Unit 12 Math 130/Math 143/Math 147
      ≥ 27 ≥ 640 Unit 14 (Algebra Exam) Math 144/Math 160
      ≥ 29 ≥ 670 Unit 16 (Trigonometry Exam) Math 170
      1The CWI Math Diagnostic is not required for students who have ACT/SAT scores at this placement level for Math in Modern Society Plus (Math 122/Math 123P). However, the student may take the Math Diagnostic to potentially place directly into Math 123 Math in Modern Society.
      2The CWI Math Diagnostic is not required for students who have ACT/SAT scores at this placement level for Statistical Reasoning Plus (Math 152/Math 153P). However, the student may take the Math Diagnostic to potentially place directly into Math 153 Statistical Reasoning.
      3The CWI Math Diagnostic is not required for students who have ACT/SAT scores at this placement level for College Algebra Plus (Math 142/Math 143P). However, the student may take the Math Diagnostic to potentially place directly into Math 143 Statistical College Algebra.

      Testing information

      Math Placement exams are taken at the Math Solutions Center

      • Each section of the Math Placement exam may be taken twice — an initial attempt plus one retake. The waiting period between attempts on a single section is one (1) day.
      • You will have 16 weeks from the date you create your MyMathTest account to complete all of your math diagnostic testing.
      • Upon completion of the assessment process, your scores and course placement will be evaluated. A first-semester schedule and initial education plan will be created by the student and their advisor prior to registering for classes.
      • For Math Placement exam review, please visit the Math Solutions Center

      Schedule a Math Placement Exam Video: How to Take the Math Placement Test

      Items to bring: 

      Please bring the following items to your Math Placement exam: 

      • Current Photo ID
        • Accepted forms of ID are a driver's license, state ID card, military ID card, passport, Permanent Resident Card, CWI student ID card, or current-year high school ID card for current high school students. We cannot accept photos of IDs.
        • Expired photo IDs will not be accepted. 
      • Calculator
        • Scientific calculators are permitted.
        • Calculators are also available from the Math Solutions Center for your use.
        • Graphing calculators are not allowed.
      • You will be provided with an approved formula sheet, pencils, and scratch paper.
    • English Placement

      Students attending CWI must take the Write Class Placement unless they have previous English college credit or scored a 6 or higher on the essay portion of the SAT.

      • The CWI Write Class Placement uses multiple measures such as GPA, standardized test scores, and self-assessment to direct students into the appropriate English courses.
      • Upon completion of the Write Class Placement, students students may be placed into ENGL 101 Plus (ENGL 101P with companion course ENGL 100) or ENGL 101. Students who have a high score will be invited to apply for placement in English 102. Students may choose to take ENGL 101 Plus even if they place into a higher course.
      • For students who speak English as a learned language, CWI uses the Write Class Placement to determine whether placement in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes is in the student’s best interest. These courses are specially designed to meet these students’ needs and help them be successful in an academic setting. An ESL specialist will contact the student with their ESL placement.

      To take the Write Class Placement, visit CWI Write Class, and sign in using your CWI username and password. The Write Class Placement may only be taken one time. Your Write Class score will transfer to your account within 24 hours at which time you may register for the appropriate English class. 

      If you would like to take the Write Class through Testing Services, please use the link below to schedule an appointment. 

      Schedule a Write Class Placement 

    • Biology Placement

      The Biology placement exam is for advanced placement into Biology 227 – Human Anatomy & Physiology I. The exam, offered through Testing Services, may only be taken once.

      • This placement exam is intended for students who do not already meet the prerequisite requirement of BIOL 111/111L – Biology I or MMBS 111/111L – Introductory Microbiology with a grade of C or higher OR students in programs that do not include BIOL 227P and BIOL 226 as an option.
      • It is highly recommended that students who have not met the prerequisite requirement take BIOL 227P along with BIOL 226 to receive credit for Human Anatomy & Physiology I.
      • The exam consists of 50 questions, has a 50-minute time limit, and is available to all CWI students without instructor permission. 
      • Students may contact Testing Services for a 30-day access code to study materials.

      Schedule a Biology 227 Placement Exam

    • CASAS Math & Reading

      The CASAS test is used to assess basic and academic skills in real-world contexts. The system monitors progress in reading, math, English language, writing, and work-readiness skills. CASAS is the most widely used adult education competency-based testing system in the United States.

      Used in conjunction with the Pearson Math Diagnostic test, CWI uses CASAS to gather information for further diagnostic placement testing to determine which math class is the best fit for incoming students.

      CASAS Test Scheduling Department Scheduling Link
      Math (Students only) Math Solutions Center Take the CASAS Math Test
      Reading & Math Non-Students Adult Education Request an Appointment


    • Chemistry Placement

      The Chemistry placement exam is for advanced placement into CHEM 102 – Essentials of Organic and Biochemistry or CHEM 111 – General Chemistry I, fulfilling the CHEM 101 prerequisite. The exam, offered through Testing Services, may only be taken once.

      • CHEM 111 is designed for students majoring in chemistry, pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, engineering, or science.
      • This placement exam will not fulfill any mathematics prerequisites associated with Chemistry courses.
      • The exam consists of 44 questions, has a 45 minute time limit, and is available to all CWI students without instructor permission.
      • A study guide is not available for this exam. 

      Schedule a Chemistry Placement Exam

    • CLEP Testing

      The College-Level Examination Program® (CLEP) is designed to test knowledge in introductory courses for specific subjects. Qualifying scores on the CLEP can fulfill major requirements.

      • CWI students and members of the public may schedule CLEP exams through Testing Services.
      • While CWI administers most CLEP exams, CWI does not accept all CLEP scores. Please check with the Registrar's office to see if your score will transfer.

      Learn More & Register for CLEP Testing 

    • DANTES Subject Standardized Tests (DSST)

      DSST gives students the opportunity to earn college credit for learning acquired outside the traditional classroom. With more than 30 exam titles in college subject areas such as Social Sciences, Math, Applied Technology, Business, Physical Sciences, and Humanities, DSST exams shorten the pathway to graduation while reducing college costs. Prior learning assessment tools like DSST, offer students a cost-effective, time-saving way to use knowledge acquired outside of the classroom (from personal research, on-the-job training, independent study, work, or military field experience) to accomplish their educational goals. Originally only available to miliatry personnel, DSST is now available to all! CWI does not offer the Public Speaking DSST at this time.

      DSST tests can help you:

      • earn 3 – 5 college credits for each passing test (varies by subject)
      • save on tuition costs
      • earn your degree on time or early
      • add flexibility to your degree program

      View a Complete List of Exams

      Test Costs

      Military Personnel

      DANTES pays the fee for an eligible candidate’s first attempt to pass an exam. To obtain DANTES funding, candidates should review the DSST funding guide, and obtain a voucher to use on the day of your exam. To schedule an appointment, use the link below, or visit Exam Registration.  Please note, eligible candidates who do not pass an exam on their first attempt will be subject to a 30-day waiting period before retesting and are responsible for paying all retest and administration fees.

      Non-Military & Re-Tests

      The cost for most exams is $85 and can be paid with a credit or debit card at the time of your exam appointment. A $25 proctor fee will additionally be charged at the time of registration.


      You will be provided an unofficial print out of your score at the time of your test. In order for your official DSST scores to be sent to your school of choice, you must know the four-digit school code at the time of your exam. To look up a nationally recognized school code, please visit the DSST website. Once you have completed an exam, you may login to Prometric to retrieve your unofficial score.

      Register for a DSST Exam

    • Law Enforcement Entrance Exam

      As part of the supplemental application process for CWI's Law Enforcement program, perspective students are required to take the National Police Officer Selection Test, an entry-level basic skills test to ensure applicants possess the fundamental skills to succeed in training and a future career. 

      Visit the Law Enforcement program page to learn more and get started.

      • Nursing Entrance Exam (KAPLAN)

        As part of the supplemental application process for CWI's Registered Nursing and Practical Nursing programs, students are required to take the Kaplan Nursing Admissions Test. Individual's taking the Kaplan Nursing Admissions Test are allowed two (2) attempts between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30. 

        Step 1: Create a Kaplan Account

        • Visit CWI's Kaplan page to select a test option, then Add to Cart
        • Create an account.
          • An account must be created prior to your scheduled exam time to avoid any additional wait time.
          • Testing will not be accommodated outside of regular business hours.

        Step 2: Schedule Your Test

        Once you have created an account and are enrolled for the test, you will schedule a testing appointment through Testing Services. 

        Schedule a Kaplan Nursing Admissions Test

        • Select your testing location.
        • Choose a group: Placements
        • Choose a group: Course/Program Placement Testing
        • Choose an exam: Kaplan Nursing Entrance Exam
          • If this is your second attempt, choose Kaplan Repeat Nursing Entrance Exam 
        • Enter other fields, as required.

        Scores will remain active for entrance into the Registered Nursing program for five (5) years. For a breakdown of the sections, please see the Kaplan Admissions Test Outline. For more information, visit the Registered Nursing or Practical Nursing program pages. 

      • Spanish Placement

        The Spanish Placement exam, offered through Testing Services, is a free placement exam for CWI students to try to place out of taking courses in the Spanish Language Curriculum for prior knowledge and experience.

        • Students can place into SPAN 101, SPAN 102, SPAN 201, or SPAN 202.
        • After completing the highest course they can place into, students can purchase the credits for classes waived at a discounted rate.
        • The Spanish Language Placement exam consists of 90 questions, written in Spanish, and has a 1-hour time limit.
        • This exam is available to all CWI students without instructor permission.

        Schedule a Spanish Placement Exam

      • Workforce Development Apprenticeship Placement

        For each trades’ apprenticeship program (Electrical, Plumbing, and HVAC), students have the opportunity to enroll in a placement test for a fee for a one-time opportunity to test their existing knowledge to see if it qualifies for completion credits in years 1 through 4 of the CWI apprenticeship program.

        Once enrolled, students will take the Year 1 Placement test first, if they pass then they will have the opportunity to take the Year 2 Placement test, and subsequently for the remaining years.

        Please contact and pay for your exam through Workforce Development before scheduling an appointment with Testing Services. This will ensure your exam is activated for your testing day. Otherwise, your exam may be delayed or need to be rescheduled. 

        Schedule Placement Test