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Sample Test Questions

By reviewing the types of questions that will be on the test, you can prepare to do your best during testing. 


You will first need to choose which one of the four math tests is most appropriate for you:

  • Choose to take the highest numbered test you feel comfortable with based on your math background and current skills.

    • Test #1 Assesses your arithmetic and pre-algebra skills for placement into Math 1 (Basic Math), Math 4 (Pre-Algebra), or Math 100 (Elementary Algebra). 
    • Test #2 Assesses your algebra skills for placement into Math 107 and/or Math 111 (Intermediate Algebra). You should have completed at least one year of high school algebra to take this test.
    • Test #3 Assesses your intermediate algebra skills for placement into Math 117 (Elementary Statistics), Psych 150 (Statistics for the Behavioral Sciences), Math 120 (College Algebra), Math 130 (Calculus for Life Science, Social Science and Business), or Math 137 (Precalculus I, College Algebra & Functions). You should have completed one year of high school intermediate algebra to take this test. 
    • Test #4 Assesses your precalculus skills for placement into Math 138 (Precalculus II, College Algebra & Trigonometry), or Math 150 (Calculus). You should have completed one year of high school precalculus and trigonometry to take this test. 
  • Each test is designed for placement into different levels of math: please consult the Math Flow Chart for clarification.

  • It is important to make a careful decision about which math test you take. If you choose a test below your skill level you may 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. 

  • Since calculators may not be used during the test it is best to review without the aid of a calculator. Scratch paper will be provided at the test.
  • Note: If the questions on Test #1 are too difficult, you may elect to begin at the Math 1 level without testing. You must notify Assessment staff in person or by calling (805) 730-4149 if this is your choice.

FULL-LENGTH ONLINE PRACTICE EXAMS: Click on the links below to access practice math tests and receive diagnostic feedback:

STUDY PACKETS: Extensive study packets for each of the four tests are available for purchase at the College Bookstore. Or click on the links below to download the same study packet for the test you plan to take:

STUDY FOR MATH WITH KHAN ACADEMY: Click on the links below to access a Khan Academy "playlist" of topics on Test #1, 2 & 3:


  • The English test is divided into three parts: a comprehensive reading exam, where you will answer multiple-choice questions; an objective writing exam, which is a multiple-choice grammar and sentence structure exam; and a written essay. A topic will be provided for the essay at the test. Plan your essay before you begin to write. Your essay should be well-organized, include specific examples, and be readable. Review the English sample test.
  • Students receive two placements from the English Assessment: one for Reading and one for Writing. Please consult the English Flow Chart for clarification.
  • Note: The English test is for native English speakers or very advanced second language students whose English proficiency is at a near-native level. All other students should take the English as a Second Language Test.


  • The ESL Assessment is divided into two parts: a 45-minute multiple choice exam and a 20-minute essay on a topic or subject that will be given to you at the test.
  • Students receive three placements from the ESL Assessment: Grammar, Reading, and Writing. Please consult the ESL Flow Chart for clarification. 
  • For more information about ESL assessment and orientation dates, visit the ESL Assessment page.

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