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Placement Testing

All first-semester students are required to complete course placement testing.

SLU's required placement tests ensure new students are in the best level for success in math, English, chemistry and foreign language. 

  • Incoming freshmen and transfer students are required to complete placement tests in math and English writing. 
  • Math placement scores are used for placement in both math and chemistry courses.
  • Placement tests for foreign language may be required, depending on your intended major or interests.

See individual sections below for details about each testing category and college credit that may be used for placement.

If you have any questions or issues accessing your placement tests, contact placement@slu.edu.

Deadline to Complete Placement Tests

Preliminary course registration occurs in May but cannot begin until placement tests are completed and graded. Please complete all tests as soon as possible to ensure timely registration.

  • Incoming freshmen must complete their placement exams as soon as possible, no later than May 15, 2022
  • Students admitted after May 15 must complete the exams within two weeks of their enrollment deposit.

How to Access Your Placement Tests

Image of Placement Test Tile

Once you pay your enrollment deposit, you will have access to the "Placement Tests" tile on the "Tools" tab in MySLU. Clicking this tile will take you to a page in Canvas that contains all the tests and instructions. 


Academic Accommodations

Students who are currently eligible for academic accommodations should contact SLU's Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources  at accessibility_disability@slu.edu regarding placement testing accommodations.

English Placement

All incoming students must meet English placement criteria through a SLU placement test or appropriate college credit:

Placement Test
  • The English Writing Placement Test is designed for students who completed all four years of high school where English is the primary language of instruction.
  • The SLUWE (SLU Writing Exam) is designed for students who completed high school in a language other than English. Click here to learn more. 
  • Plan to spend approximately one hour on this test.
  • Tests are graded manually. Scores will not be available right away.
College Credit: Freshman

SLU 1818 Credit: Students who have completed ENGL1500 or ENGL1900 through SLU’s 1818 Program do not need to take the English writing placement test, provided the course is completed by Jan. 1, 2022, with a passing grade and that grade is posted in Banner. Senior-year spring-semester courses cannot be included since grades will not be available before registration begins in late May. Initial placement and registration may be adjusted once grades are recorded.

Non-SLU and AP/IB credit cannot substitute for the placement test. Placement test results are necessary for advising and registration, which often occur before these scores/transcripts are available. Once transcripts are received and evaluated, credit will be posted per University policy, and initial placement and registration may be adjusted. 

College Credit: Transfer Students

Students who have already completed a course equivalent to ENGL 1500 or ENGL 1900 at an accredited college or university in the United States (Determine Course Equivalencies) do not need to take the placement test. The course must be complete with a grade of  "C" or better and posted on an official transcript that has already been sent to SLU — it cannot be a current, in-progress course. 

Math Placement

All incoming students must meet math placement criteria through completion of the placement test or appropriate college credit:

Placement Test (ALEKS)
  • After you have submitted your enrollment deposit, you will gain access to your ALEKS placement test. ALEKS activates student accounts on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Depending on your deposit date, you may need to wait for the next Tuesday or Thursday for full access. 
  • This test is not timed. 
  • Plan to spend approximately one hour on this test.
  • Your score will be available in ALEKS as soon as you complete the test.
  • You may take this test up to five times if you want to improve your score after the first attempt.
  • Your score on the math placement test also determines your starting level of chemistry (if your program requires it) at SLU. 
College Credit: Freshman

SLU 1818 credit: Students who have completed a math course through SLU’s 1818 Program do not need to take the placement test, provided the course is completed by Jan. 1, 2022. with a grade of C- or higher and posted in Banner. Senior-year spring-semester courses cannot be included since grades will not be available before registration begins in late May. Initial placement may be adjusted once grades are recorded.

Non-SLU and AP/IB credit cannot substitute for the placement test. Placement test results are necessary for advising and registration, which often occur before these scores/transcripts are available. Once transcripts are received and evaluated, credit will be posted per University policy, and initial placement may be adjusted. 

College Credit: Transfer Students

Transfer students who are pursuing a program that does not require a math course do not need to take the placement test if they will have transfer credit for a course that meets the Ways of Thinking: Quantitative Reasoning requirement in the University Undergraduate Core.

View Program Requirements

Determine Course Equivalencies

Students who are pursuing a program that requires a math course must meet math pre-requisites through testing or credit. Students who have already completed a math course at the college algebra level or higher at an accredited college or university  do not need to take the placement test. The course must be complete with a grade of "C" or better posted on an official transcript that has already been sent to SLU — it cannot be a current, in-progress course. 

If you are not sure whether your program requires a math course and you do not have transfer credit for a math course, you should take the placement test to ensure that you will be able to register for the courses that you need.

Foreign Language Placement

Foreign language testing is only required of students who wish to continue their language study at SLU. Students beginning a new language do not need a placement test and should register for the entry level (1010) course.

In addition, many study abroad programs require a certain level of language proficiency.

SLUPE Language Placement Test
  • Languages available for testing: Chinese, French, German, Italian, Latin, Spanish For Greek or Russian placement, email langadmin@slu.edu.
  • Plan to spend 20-40 minutes to complete the test.
  • Scores are available immediately after completing the test.
  • If you need to retrieve your score later, visit slupe.org and click “Look up Score.” 

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is required to complete English and math placement tests?

All incoming freshmen and transfer students are required to complete placement tests in math and English writing. See each section above for details about college credit that may be used for placement.

What if I have dual credit/AP/IB credit for English and/or math?

Non-SLU and AP/IB credit cannot substitute for the placement test. Placement test results are necessary for advising and registration, which often occur before these scores/transcripts are available. Once transcripts are received and evaluated, credit will be posted per University policy, and initial placement and registration may be adjusted. 

If I test into a higher English or math class, do I get credit for the classes I test out of?

No. Your placement test results are only used to determine which class you should take at SLU. There is no credit awarded.

What if I submitted ACT/ SAT scores as part of my application for admission?

All freshmen students are required to complete placement tests for English and math, regardless of test scores. ACT/SAT scores are not used to place students into courses. 

How do I access the placement tests?

Once you pay your enrollment deposit, you will have access to the "Placement Tests" tile on the "Tools" tab in MySLU. Clicking this tile will take you to a page in Canvas that contains all the tests and instructions. 

When do placement tests have to be completed?

Placement tests must be completed as soon as possible, no later than May 15, 2022. Students admitted after May 15 must complete the exams within two weeks of their enrollment deposit.

Is there a practice test?

No, there are no practice tests.

How long will the placement test take to complete?

Plan to spend about an hour of uninterrupted time on each test. The math test is not timed. Once you begin the English writing placement tests, you must complete them within the allotted time.

I am currently eligible for academic accommodations and would like to request extended time for the English placement test. Who should I contact?

Email SLU Center for Accessibility and Disability Resources at accessibility_disability@slu.edu; they can assist you with the application for accommodations.

When do I receive the test results?

Math test results will be available immediately. English tests must be graded manually and will be graded within a few weeks. Grades will be posted in Canvas where you completed the test.

Can I take the placement test more than once?

The English tests can only be taken once. The math test can be taken up to five times.

Can I appeal the results?

If you have questions or concerns about your score, email placement@slu.edu.

Am I required to take math or English in my first semester at SLU?

It depends on your placement and your academic program. You will discuss this with your academic advisor during your scheduled advising and registration session.

Students are strongly encouraged to take English during their first semester, especially if they are placed in ENGL 1500.

While students are not required to take math in their first semester at SLU, math knowledge deteriorates over time. Putting it off may mean starting at a lower level. 

Is it free?

There is no fee associated with the placement tests. However, to complete the tests, you must have submitted your enrollment deposit.

Language Skills Assessment FAQs

Who should take the foreign language skills assessment?

Foreign language testing is only required of students who wish to continue their language study at SLU.

Is there a practice test?

There are no practice tests for this skills assessment. We suggest that you review your high school textbooks relevant to the subject area and brush up on certain skills if possible. 

How long will the assessment take to complete?

Allow 20 minutes for the foreign language assessment. Once a you begin the assessment, you cannot stop and continue at a later time. Please provide yourself with enough time.

What do I do with my test results?

We  suggest that you print two copies of the results page. All scores will also automatically be sent to SLU once you finish the assessment. If you forget to print out your test results after you complete the exam, then you can retrieve your placement test results at anytime through slupe.org.

Can I take the assessment more than once?
Each student is allowed to take the skills assessments two times per language but no more than once in one day. We encourage you to complete the assessment as close to the completion of your high school language classes as possible. If you do take the assessment more than once, the most recent score will be used in suggesting course recommendations. 
How long is my placement score valid?
Your score will remain valid for a period of six months, after which it is recommended to retake the assessment.
 Am I required to take a foreign language in my first semester at SLU?
Every major is different and your academic advisor will be able to provide information about that during your SLU 101 visit. Some curricula suggest taking a foreign language within the first year of study, while others are not as prescribed. A good rule of thumb is to take these classes as early as possible so that your skills from previous coursework in a foreign language stay current and strong. 
Why am I placed in a class that repeats information I learned in high school?  
Skills assessment scores are only one factor used in suggesting course placement at SLU. If you must retake a class that was completed in high school, it could be because  all the factors involved in determining placement didn't match up (high school transcripts, skills assessment scores, etc.). We want all of our students to be successful at SLU, and since college-level courses are typically more rigorous than high-school-level courses, we must be cautious when suggesting placement into these classes. If this should happen to you, use it as a chance to advance and be successful. 
What if I don't have access to a computer?
 To complete the skills assessments, you will need access to a computer with an internet connection for an extended period of time. Students who do not have personal computers can consider visiting a public library, high school computer lab or neighborhood internet café. If none of these options are available, arrangements can be made upon your arrival to SLU 101.