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popsicle graphicCongratulations on deciding on a college! Now it’s time to start thinking about selecting your classes! When browsing the course catalog it’s not only important to plan for your major classes, but also your General Education requirements. “What are those?” you ask? Gen Eds are required classes that make up a foundational course sequence. These basic math, science, English, etc classes not only help introduce you to college-level courses, they also give you a broad, well-rounded understanding of the world around you. The requirements vary across institutions and you may take them at any point in your college career; however, make sure you plan ahead because you cannot graduate without them!

So, what does this have to do with placement testing? Because you are required to take certain classes while in college, the university wants to make sure that you are placed in a level that is academically appropriate (not too hard, but not too easy). This is determined through placement tests. Incoming students typically take a math, English and foreign language assessments either before or during first-year orientation. It’s important to note that these will not affect your admission. They only serve to help academic advisers place you in Gen Ed classes that fit your needs.

“Can I place out of Gen Eds?” Yes! If you received a certain score on an AP test, you may be given course credit for that Gen Ed.

“What if I want to study a different language than the one I learned in high school?” If that’s the case, you do not need to take a foreign language placement test. You will only need to test if you plan on continuing to take classes in an area in which you have previous coursework.

“Will placement test be done the same way everywhere?” Not exactly. Placement test will generally be similar. But every school may differ slightly on when and how they want you to take their placement test. See below for placement test requirements at each of the public colleges in NC!

NC Community Colleges

  • Reading :SAT scores of 480 or more in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and ACT scores of 22 or more in Reading or 18 or more in English waive the placement test
  • SAT scores of 530 or more in Math and ACT scores of 22 or more in Math waive the placement test

Appalachian State University

  • Must take before orientation-online
  • Math:
  • Language:

East Carolina University

Elizabeth City State University

Fayetteville State University

  • Math and foreign language test required

NC A&T State University

  • Required for Math and English –  taken at New Student Orientation
  • May be able to get out of taking the placement test with AP or ACT/SAT Scores
  • Foreign Language – placement testing is offered and required for students wishing to take Spanish at the University.

NC Central University

  • Required for Math and English – taken during New Student Orientation
  • May be able to get out of taking placement test with AP or ACT/SAT Scores
  • Foreign Language – placement testing is offered for Spanish

NC State University

  • Required for math – must be done before registering for a math course
  • Offered for chemistry if needed – must be done before registering for a chemistry course
  • Offered for writing if needed – must be done before orientation
  • Offered for Foreign Language if needed – taken during orientation


  • Placement test are offered for foreign languages to satisfy foreign language requirement and to find appropriate placement for student. Testing is done by contacting department heads –

UNC-Chapel Hill


  • Foreign Language and Math placement tests can be taken on campus. Students must bring their Student ID.


  • Placement tests are required for math and foreign language. Placement Tests administered each summer during orientation (SOAR) and each semester during the advising and registration period by the departments concerned.


  • You may receive advanced standing through AP and IB test scores


  • Foreign language tests must be taken before orientation and are offered for French, German, Latin, and Spanish. You must contact the language department for other languages
  • All incoming students must take the math placement tests unless you fit the criteria listed on the website below. The test is administered on the first day of orientation.

UNC School of the Arts

  • You may receive advanced standing through AP test scores

Western Carolina University

  • Foreign language placement test are offered during orientation for Spanish and French.
  • Math may also be required and done at orientation
  • AP Courses could potentially waive introductory course credit

Winston Salem State University

  • Math and English placement test taken at orientation
  • Placement testing offered for foreign language during orientation
  • AP credits may waive some introductory courses
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