Assessment Center

Back to SBCC



Do I need to take the tests? 

Unless you have an alternative to testing, Assessment in English and Math or ESL is required for all new to college students. 

Are there exemptions to testing?  What if I already tested at another college?

You are not required to take the English and/or Math assessment tests if you have one of the items listed as an alternative to testing

Occasionally, students can use test scores from another college for placement into classes at Santa Barbara City College. See 'Alternatives to Testing' for a complete list of specific exemptions. If you have a qualifying exemption for English and/or math, you will need to submit the Alternatives to Testing Verification Form and supporting documentation (test scores, official transcript) before registering for classes.

I think I might be exempt from testing because of my EAP scores. How do I check my EAP status?

You can find your EAP status on the last page of your California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) report. A status of "Standard Exceeded" for English and/or Math exempts you from the English and/or Math assessment test at SBCC. Note: A "conditional" or "Standard Met/Nearly Met/Not Met" status can not be used as an alternative to testing.

If you do not have a copy of your CAASPP report, you may check your EAP status online by going to:

If you have a "Standard Exceeded" status for English and/or Math, make a copy of your results and send it to the Assessment Office along with a completed Alternatives to Testing Verification Form (details and contact information on the form). 

Can I take English, math or ESL classes without testing? 

Enrollment in English 60 through English 110, Math 1 through Math 150, Psychology 150 and all ESL Reading, Writing and Grammar classes requires assessment.

How do I take my Assessment tests if I don’t live in Santa Barbara?  

Most students come to SBCC to test. If you live outside the Santa Barbara area, consult the Information for Out of Area & Fully Online Students page for additional testing options.

If you plan to test on campus during drop-in testing hours, check the check the monthly Drop-In Computer Lab Schedule carefully and plan to test on a scheduled testing day. Allow enough time to complete your tests by closing. Allow 2 hours for English/ESL and 1-2 hours for math. Testing days/hours vary. If you would like to verify your choice of test date/time before making travel arrangements, please contact the Assessment Office directly at (805) 730-4149.

Can I prepare for the tests?

Yes. The best way to prepare for Assessment is to download and complete SBCC's REAP form, which will direct you to information about alternatives to testing, sample test questions and other test preparation materials, items to bring to testing, etc.

You are encouraged to review sample questions for English and Math (see "Which math test should I take?" below). Click on the links below for Math test study packets for each of the four math tests:

How long are the tests?

Unless you are using extended time or another accommodation for disability, allow 2 hours for the English/ESL test and 1-2 hours for math, depending on which math test you choose to take. Note: this time includes a background questionnaire and test instructions. Specific times for each test are as follows:

English: Allow 2 hours total (includes a background questionnaire and test instructions). The English test consists of four sections, each timed separately: (1) Essay: 20 minutes; (2) Reading Comprehension: 30 minutes; (3) Sentence Structure & Grammar: 20 minutes; (4) Sentence & Syntax Skills: 15 minutes. 

Math Test #1, 2, or 3: Allow 1 hour total (includes a background questionnaire and test instructions). The time allowed for each test is 45 minutes.

Math Test #4: Allow 2 hours total (includes a background questionnaire and test instructions). The time allowed for test #4 is 90 minutes. 

Students needing extended time or another accommodation for disability should contact SBCC's Disabilities Specialists by emailing or calling (805) 730-4164. Be sure to make arrangements for testing with an accommodation before coming to SBCC to take your test(s).

Which math test should I take?

You will need to choose which one of the four math tests is most appropriate for you. Download and work through the sample test questions below. Choose to take the highest numbered test you feel comfortable with based on your math background and current skills.

It is important to make a careful decision about which math test you take. If you choose a test below your skill level you will be placed in a math class that is too easy for you. If you choose a test above your skill level you may be asked to come back to Assessment and take a lower level math test in order to receive a math placement.

  • Test #1 tests your basic math skills for placement into Basic Math, Pre-Algebra, or Elementary Algebra. 
  • Test #2 tests your elementary algebra skills for placement into Intermediate Algebra. 
  • Test #3 tests your intermediate algebra skills for placement into Statistics, College Algebra, Precalculus I, and Calculus for Business, Biological and Social Sciences
  • Test #4 tests your precalculus skills for placement into Precalculus II or Calculus I. 

When should I test?

Ideally, plan to test before your priority registration date. If you live outside the Santa Barbara area, be sure to review the Information for Out Of Area & Fully Online Students. Students may complete Assessment during any scheduled drop-in testing day. Consult the monthly Drop-In Computer Lab Testing Schedule for more information.

What should I bring to testing?

Bring the following required items to testing: A photo Identification, pen or pencil, a completed REAP Form, and your SBCC Student I.D. Number (located on your individual Pipeline account). Note: Calculators and other electronic devices may not be used. Scratch paper will be provided for math assessment.

What form of Photo I.D. should I bring to testing? What if I don't have a Photo I.D.?

A photo I.D. is required for Assessment at SBCC. If possible, please bring a government-issued photo I.D. (i.e. Driver's license, State I.D. card, passport) with you to testing. In some instances, students may use alternate forms of identification such as a high school student body card or yearbook. If you have any questions/concerns regarding your photo I.D., please call the Assessment Office directly (805) 730-4149 or email before making plans to test.

Do I need to make an appointment?

The Assessment Center does not make appointments for drop-in computerized testing: consult the list of drop-in testing hours to make plans for drop-in testing. Be sure to allow enough time (2 hours for English and 1-2 hours for Math) to complete your test(s) before closing. Students must request a special appointment for a paper/pencil test. Please call the Assessment Center (805) 730-4149 or email at least one week in advance to schedule an appointment for paper/pencil testing.

What is the difference between the computerized test and the paper/pencil test?

The two tests are the same; the difference is the delivery method and availability:

Computerized test: Most students choose to test on computer during drop-in lab hours. Tests are completed by clicking on answers to multiple-choice questions. Students testing on computer are given the option to either hand-write or type their essays for the English test and are provided with scratch paper for the math test. Note: Computerized testing is not available for Saturday testing.

Paper/Pencil test: Students who prefer not to test on computer need to make an appointment for a paper/pencil test. Please call the Assessment Office at (805) 730-4149 or email at least one week in advance to request a paper/pencil test. Students taking paper/pencil tests bubble in answers to multiple-choice questions on a scan form. Paper/Pencil testers hand-write their essays for the English test and are provided with scratch paper for the math test.

What if I need accommodation for disability?

If you need extended time or another accommodation for disability, contact the Disabilities Specialists by emailing or calling (805) 730-4164 to determine eligibility for an accommodation. Note: You may only take the Assessment test once per testing period, so it is important to make arrangements for an accommodation prior to testing. There are two testing periods per year: 1) Spring (October - January) and 2) Summer/Fall (February - August). 

How many times can I test?

You may test once during a specific testing period. There are two testing periods per year: 1) Spring (October - January) and 2) Summer/Fall (February - August). Math retake policy: You can take a different math test (either higher or lower) at any time. If you are dissatisfied with your math results and would like to retake the same level math test within the same testing period, please contact Assessment Staff (805) 730-4149 or email to obtain written retake permission. If approved, you may reassess any time after two weeks from your original test date. Note: Math test retake permission is dependent on diagnostic data from your original test. 

How do I get my test results?

You will be able to look up your placement results on your Pipeline account within one week following your exam. To access your results, log on to Pipeline and under the 'Student' tab click on 'Student Records' and then click on 'View Course Placement and Eligibility.' A detailed explanation of your course placements is available at 'Understanding your Reading and Writing Course Placements' and 'Understanding your Mathematics Course Placements'.

721 Cliff Drive Santa Barbara, CA 93109-2394    Main Campus Phone: 805.965.0581    © 2016 Santa Barbara City College