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Santa Monica College|Enrollment Development|Assessment|Ability-to-Benefit


Do I need an appointment to take the ATB test?

Yes.  The ATB test is administered by appointment only by contacting the Assessment Center (Liberal Arts 109) in person. The test will normally be administered only on Fridays.


Am I required to take the Ability-to-Benefit Test?

The Ability-to-Benefit test is required of students seeking federal financial aid who did not graduate from high school in the United States. To this end, these students must demonstrate they possess sufficient "ability to benefit" (ATB) from post-secondary education via their performance in an approved test.



What does the Ability-to-Benefit Test Consists of?

SMC administers an ATB version of the ACCUPLACER test. Students must complete the ACCUPLACER Reading Comprehension, Sentence Skills, and Arithmetic tests. The Department of Education requires that students take the three tests in a single testing session. In order to "pass" the test, you will need to successfully complete all three tests. If you do not obtain a passing score on one or more test you will have an opportunity to retest ONCE after two weeks. Retesting will be in all three tests again.

ATB Tests & Passing Scores

The minimum scores mandated by the United States Department of Education required to pass the test are noted below.  Note that  you will start with the Arithmetic test, then the reading comprehension, and finally with the sentence skills test.  A passing score on the first test will be required to proceed to the second;  then a passing score on the second to move on to the third test.

  • Arithmetic--34 points
  • Reading Comprehension--55 points
  • Sentence Skills--60 points


Please review the following resources before you take the ATB test. Given its importance and potential to be granted financial aid, you are strongly urged to prepare.