Academic Achievement Center at MassBay

Welcome to MassBay Community College.

Placement Testing FAQs


The following are frequently asked questions about placement testing. If you have any questions we have not addressed, don’t hesitate to contact us at or 781-239-2620.

Q: Why do I need to take the placement test?
A: The Massachusetts Board of Higher Education requires all new students seeking a degree or certificate to be assessed in English and mathematics to determine your appropriate level of beginning course work.

Q: What if English is not my first language?
A: You should take the ESL test if you:

  • Are a non-native English speaker,
  • Have been living in the United States for fewer than 10 years, OR
  • Are uncomfortable with writing in the English language.

Q: How long will the test take?
A: The native speaker exam will take approximately three hours to complete and has three sections. The Accuplacer Writeplacer essay is timed for 60 minutes. The Accuplacer reading comprehension and mathematics are untimed.

The ESL exam will take approximately 2.5 hours to complete. It consists of three sections: writing (60 minutes), structure (45 minutes), and listening (30 minutes). Students will have an opportunity to take the math test after the ESL exam or schedule it on another day. The math test will take approximately 1 ½ hours to complete.

Q: Is there a fee to take the tests?
A: There is no fee to take the placement exam.

Q: What if I have a disability and need accommodations?
A: You may contact Disability Resources to make arrangements for your placement tests. Contact 781-239-2234 for the Wellesley Hills office or 508-270-4267 for the Framingham office.

Q: What if I have course credits from another college?
A: If you have already completed college-level courses in English and/or mathematics, you may be exempt from all or part of the placement testing. Please bring in an official copy of your transcript to be evaluated by an Advising Counselor, or mail it to the Office of Student Records.

MassBay Community College
Office of the Registrar
50 Oakland Street
Wellesley Hills, MA 02481-5307


Q: What should I study before taking the placement test?
A: You can try some sample questions on our website, attend a free refresher workshop or stop by the AAC to pick up materials.