Placement Testing FAQ

This FAQ is intended to provide more information about Placement Testing at Seattle Central.

Is the placement test required?

Usually, but not always. The placement tests are used to decide which classes students need to start with, so almost everyone needs to take them. However, sometimes there are other factors that are considered. For instance, if you have attended another college and have transferred your transcripts of classes, or if you have Advanced Placement (AP) credit, this can affect your placements. There are many options, so please check this list to see if you can use any earlier tests or work for your placement in English and math.

Generally, if you have taken English 101 or higher at another college, you do not need to take the English test. If you have taken college–level Math (100 or higher) in the last three years, you probably do not need the Math test. However, there are exceptions and you should check with the Admissions Office.

Can I use assessment tests from another college?

Sometimes. Under the statewide Placement Reciprocity Agreement Seattle Central will accept placement tests from:

  • A 2-year community or technical college (not 4-year or other institutions),
  • if the 2-year college is located in Washington State, and
  • the test is less than one year old.

All of the above conditions must be met. If the test is from outside Washington State, from a 4-year institution, or more than one year old, you will likely need to take the placement tests for Seattle Central: Wonderlic Basic Skills (native English speaker) (pdf), or College Success (ESL / non-native English speaker) (pdf), and ALEKS PPL (math) (pdf).

How do I transfer my scores to Seattle Central?

You will need to request a copy of your scores be sent to Seattle Central. If you have sent transcripts, do not assume that any test scores you have will be on it. They usually must be requested separately.

You can bring them in person to the Testing Office or have them sent by fax or mail. By fax: 206.934.3224. By mail: Seattle Central College/Testing, 1701 Broadway, BE1106, Seattle, WA, 98122.

I will be attending Seattle Central, but currently live in another state. Can I take the test where I live?

Yes, as long as it is the same test that is used at Seattle Central: Wonderlic Basic Skills Test (native English speaker), College Success (ESL / non-native English speaker), or ALEKS PPL (math). You can try checking local colleges to see if they give either of these tests, or you can visit the National College Testing Association's Consortium website to find a Testing center near you. Not all colleges and universities belong to the NCTA, but that is often a reliable source. Please be aware that fees will vary, and will be the sole responsibility of the student.

Can I use ACT scores at Seattle Central?

Yes! You can use ACT scores at Seattle Central (instead of a COMPASS Test) if they meet college–level minimum scores and are less than three years old. For ACT English placement: At least a 19 on both the ACT English and Reading tests. For math placement: At least a 22 on the ACT Mathematics test. You can submit scores the same way you would submit placement scores (described above) or by contacting the testing company, ACT, Inc. to have your scores sent directly to Seattle Central, school code of 4475.

Can I use SAT scores at Seattle Central?

Yes, you can use SAT scores at Seattle Central (instead of a Placement Test) if they meet college–level minimum scores and are less than three years old.

Test date SAT English Placement SAT Math Placement
Before March 2016 SAT Writing: 460+ and SAT Reading: 460+ = English 101 placement SAT Math Score: 520+ = Math 102, 103, or 107 placement
March 2016 and after SAT Evidence–Based Reading & Writing: 510+ = English 101 placement SAT Math Score: 550+ = Math 102, 103, or 107 placement

You can submit scores the same way you would submit placement scores (described above) or by contacting the testing company, The College Board, to have your scores sent directly to Seattle Central, school code of 4033.

What about the CLEP Test or AP Credit?

Seattle Central does not currently accept the military College Level Examination Program CLEP Test. Advanced Placement (AP) scores are accepted, but should be submitted to Admissions for evaluation.

If I transfer scores from another college, will I get the same classes?

Not necessarily. Each college determines its own score requirements for classes. Usually, the placements are roughly the same, but there may be some differences. If you are requesting to use Washington State placement reciprocity, the classes will match as exactly as possible.

Can I use my test from Seattle Central somewhere else?

This depends on the school. Any Washington State Community & Technical College will accept placement tests that meet the Statewide Reciprocity Agreement guidelines. (These are the same guidelines followed at Seattle Central, and described above.) Four-year schools and schools in other states will likely have different policies and placement tests, and you will need to check with them.

How can I transfer my Seattle Central scores somewhere else?

You can come in to get them in person or send a signed written request by fax (206.934.3224) or mail ( or mail (1701 Broadway, BE1106, Seattle, WA, 98122). If you come in person, you must show some form of Photo ID. If you request them by fax/email/mail, make sure it includes your name, Student ID# (or birthdate), signature, and the complete email/address/number where you want the scores sent.

It is also a good idea to leave a number where you can be reached if there is a problem. Please note: requests cannot be taken by phone. Also, all scores are deleted after three years, and you should keep this in mind when making your request.

What happened to the COMPASS Test?

The COMPASS Test was a very common placement test that was used at Seattle Central for many years, so you may have heard about it. In 2016, all COMPASS products were discontinued worldwide by its parent company, and it is no longer available at any location. Schools have had to choose new placement tests for English and math, although some will still accept COMPASS Test scores taken previously. At Seattle Central, we will continue to accept COMPASS Test scores that are less than 3 years old.

What is Placement Reciprocity at Seattle Central?

Placement Reciprocity is a statewide agreement that allows for the following:

Entering students who have qualified for a specific level of pre-college math, English, or reading, either through course completion or local skills assessment, at one Washington CTC, may have the course placement level honored at another Washington CTC if the student so requests, even if the courses may not be exact equivalents.

Entering students who qualify for entry into college–level math, English, or reading, either through course completion or local skills assessment, will be considered to have met the entry college–level standard at every community and technical college.

Students requesting reciprocity must initiate the process within one year of their initial placement assessment.

If you have questions about Placement Reciprocity, Admissions and Registration staff members are happy to assist you. You may download the Placement Reciprocity form.