Placement Testing

Bismarck State College (BSC) along with the North Dakota University System (NDUS) requires all students to take a placement assessment; ACT, COMPASS, Accuplacer or SAT.  ACT or COMPASS are preferred.  One of these assessments is required for all new degree seeking students wishing to enroll in BSC classes.  The assessment may be waived by Bismarck State College if you have completed college level reading, English, or math classes.  

Bismarck State College uses placement testing to ensure all students begin their college education by taking the right level of courses. Research shows that when students enter the proper sequence of math and English courses, it is not only helpful within these courses, but it also has a beneficial effect on other classes taken.

The purpose of placement testing at Bismarck State College is to match the academic readiness of the incoming student with the academic requirements of the curriculum. If test results do not meet the standards of college-level courses, students are required to register in courses which help them to improve their learning and increase their opportunity to succeed in college.

Although the tests do not affect admission to the college, students will be required to meet established criteria in certain courses and programs.

Exemptions to the placement testing policy are as follows:
  • Students who present ACT OR SAT score reports dated within the last five years.
  • Student who present COMPASS or ACCUPLACER score reports dated within the last three years.
  • Students who have completed college-level composition and math courses with passing grades below a "C" are encouraged to take the placement exam.
  • Students showing proof of having earned a baccalaureate or higher.
  • Students who enroll only in courses on an audit basis or non-degree seeking students.
  • Remedial or equivalent courses with a "C" or satisfactory grade.
Link to Compass Exam Signup Form
Bismarck State College requires all students who are 25 or older to submit COMPASS assessment scores in the areas of English, math, and reading, unless exemptions apply. Students with ACT scores more than five years old must also schedule a COMPASS Placement Exam. All students who plan to take an English or math course must submit appropriate and current assessment scores prior to enrollment.

COMPASS is a computerized adaptive placement testing system that measures skills in math, reading, and English. Because the exam is adaptive, there is no fixed set of testing questions. Each test is made up of a unique collection of items pulled from a database pool. With no time limit, typically students will spend around 11/2 - 21/2 hours to complete the full test battery. The COMPASS exam needs to be completed the same day.  You are not allowed to start and stop the COMPASS exam. Even though the placement exam is computerized, computer skills are not necessary. COMPASS is user friendly and is designed for individuals with little or no computer experience.  An ACT approved calculator can be used or one from the computer that COMPASS supplies.  Calculators utilized from cell phones are not permitted.  

Cost of the COMPASS Assessment: $15.

The COMPASS placement exam can be taken at a location near you, click the link to find site where you can take it at:  COMPASS Remote Testing.  Once you find a closer location, call us at 701-224-5658 so we can set up the COMPASS Remote exam prior to going to the remote location to take the test.  

Link to ACCUPLACER Signup Form
ACCUPLACER is a computer adaptive placement exam that Bismarck State College has available to Distance Learners.  Its purpose is to provide students with useful information about their academic skills.  It is not pass/fail; instead, scores will be used to help place students in the level where they will find the most success.  Students will have their scores screened for proper placement in English, math, and reading and for admittance into limited enrollment Technical Programs.

ACCUPLACER is for learners of 25 years or older who had not taken the ACT or COMPASS exam.  This exam is ideally for non-North Dakota residents. This test is valid for three years from the test date.  Accuplacer may be administered to students by an approved proctor.  

To take the assessment, a student must complete the following steps:

Step 1:
The student must locate a proctor from:
  1. a college or university testing center
  2. a military education center
It is not the responsibility of BSC to locate a proctor for you.  Your proctor must have technical proficiency.

Step 2:
Once you have located a proctor, your proctor should complete the Proctor Agreement Form.  

All registrations will be vetted by BSC for integrity purposes.

Step 3:
The proctor will be emailed the proctor responsibilities, instructions, username and password for administering the Accuplacer once the tester has paid for the cost of the assessment. Payment can be made by clicking the icon to the right:

At the time of the test you, the examinee, will be asked to present photo ID.
**Any fees the proctor wants to charge additional is solely up to him/she.  It is the examinee's responsibility to pay for any proctoring fees.  

Assessment Results:  The BSC Testing Services Office will be notified via email promptly after completion of the assessment and have access to the results.  They will take care of the results on their end as necessary.  

Taking Accuplacer through another college?  Make sure they are administering the correct parts of the assessment:
  1. Math
  2. WritePlacer (English)
  3. Reading
Students registering for a math or English course must meet certain placement requirements prior to being allowed to register for a college level course. The placement scores have been developed by the departments to reflect the probability of academic success. Each department has designated placement score requirements for both the ACT and COMPASS exams.  When testing indicates the need for developmental work, students must successfully complete the developmental sequence as determined by the exam.  See below for math and English placement score requirements.
Students applying for admission to limited enrollment Technical programs are required to obtain specific placement scores before being accepted in that program. The placement scores are developed to reflect the probability of academic and employment success. Each program has designated placement score requirements for both the ACT and COMPASS exams. Some programs will have a composite placement score, whereas other will have placement scores in specific areas, such as math or English. See below for technical program placement score requirements.

Minimum Entrance Score Requirements for Technical Placement (PDF)

Testing Location:
Bismarck State College
Schafer Hall
1500 Edwards Avenue
Room 205
Note: Food and beverages are NOT permitted in the Testing Center.

Distance Education Students : please visit our Online Campus website for specific information about placement testing options near you.