​​Is the English Assessment Required?

English (or in some cases the ESL) assessment is required of all new first-time college students attending Santa Monica College and of all students who wish to enroll in an English or ESL course for the first time.

Should I Take the English or the ESL Assessment?

If you are a native English speaker or attended junior and senior high school in the United States, we strongly recommend that you take the English Assessment. This test is best suited to assess your skills. The ESL test has been designed for English learner students coming from other countries who did not complete high school in the U.S.

What is the Purpose of the English Assessment?

The purpose of the English Assessment test measures your skills in English. Results will determine whether or not you're ready to undertake college-level work or if you need to further develop your skills. Based on your results, you will be placed into a level of English appropriate to your skill level. In this manner your probability of success will be increased. 

What is the name of the English assessment test?

SMC uses the College Board "Classic Accuplacer​" program to assess students' abilities in Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills. Given the adaptive nature of the tests, you will initially get an item of intermediate difficulty. From there, if you answer correctly you will be given an item of greater difficulty which is valued with more points. If you get it wrong, you will get an item of lesser difficulty, which is valued with fewer points. If you want to maximize your chances of placing into a college-level English class it is crucial you perform well in the first few questions. 

What skills are assessed by the Classic ACCUPLACER English tests?

They are:

Reading Comprehension

There are 20 questions of two primary types on the Reading Comprehension test.

  • The first type consists of a reading passage followed by a question based on the text. Both short and long passages are provided. The reading passages can also be classified according to the kind of information processing required including explicit statements related to the main idea, explicit statements related to a secondary idea, application, and inference.

  • The second type of question, sentence relationships, presents two sentences followed by a question about the relationship between these two sentences. The question may ask, for example, if the statement in the second sentence supports that in the first, if it contradicts it, or if it repeats the same information.

Sentence Skills

There are 20 Sentence Skills questions of two types.

  • The first type is sentence correction questions that require an understanding of sentence structure. These questions ask you to choose the most appropriate word or phrase to substitute for the underlined portion of the sentence.

  • The second type is construction shift questions. These questions ask that a sentence be rewritten according to the criteria shown while maintaining essentially the same meaning as the original sentence.

Within these two primary categories, the questions are also classified according to the skills being tested. Some questions deal with the logic of the sentence, others with whether or not the answer is a complete sentence, and still others with the relationship between coordination and subordination.

How can I best prepare for the English assessment?

There are a variety of ways on how you can prepare to take the Egnlish assessment. We have compiled a variety of practice tests and resources that may help you prepare. You will find these examples on our English Prep​ web page.


More English Test Prep Resources