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FAQs for Freshmen and Transfer Students

We administer placement tests solely for the information they provide: To place you in classes that will give you the best possible foundation for success at Dominican.

You may not be required to take every test described below. Most students will need one or two tests, which will take one to two hours to complete. The best way to prepare for your placement testing session is to get a good night’s sleep before you come and relax when you get here. When you come to campus for placement testing, dress in layers. The temperature can be cool in the morning, but it sometimes warms up by the afternoon.

Scheduling Your Placement Tests

Q.  How do I schedule my tests?

Once deposited after admission, you will receive an email and a letter informing you how to schedule an appointment for your placement tests. If you have any questions, please email placementtesting@dominican.edu or contact your Admissions Counselor.


Q.  Where do I go for testing?

Report to Bertrand Hall, Room 110--the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC).

Directions and campus map


Q.  How long will the tests take?

Most students will need one or two tests, which will take one to two hours to complete. See test descriptions below for more details about the time for each individual test.


Q. Do I need to bring anything with me when I come to Dominican to test?

You do NOT need to bring a calculator, writing utensils, or scratch paper. We will supply all the materials you need. However, if you are a transfer student, please bring your Transfer Course Evaluation form if you have it. This is how you will find out which tests you need.


Q.  Is there a cost for placement testing?

No, there is no charge.

Mathematics Placement Exam

Q.   How will I know if I need to take the Math test?  

Some students may not need to take the placement exam in Math, as follows:

  • If you earned a score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam in Calculus AB, Calculus BC, or Statistics, or if you have already taken a college-level course in College Algebra, Statistics, Pre-calculus, Trigonometry, or Calculus for college credit (not for high-school credit) and passed with a grade of ‘C’ or higher—and if that class transfers to Dominican—then you will have met your General Education requirement in Quantitative Reasoning.

  • If your highest Math SAT score was 600 or higher, or if your highest Math ACT score was 26 or higher, then you are waived from the Math placement exam and will be placed into the terminal math course for your program, either in your first or a later semester. Even if you are waived from the placement exam, you may wish to take it for possible waiver of your terminal math course.

  • Biology and Chemistry majors please note: Because your majors require several courses in math, and even if you received a 600 or higher on the Math SAT or a 26 or higher on the MATH ACT, it is recommended that you take the College-Level Math placement test so you will have the opportunity to place into a higher level of math.


Q.   What is the Math placement test like?

This untimed test begins at a medium level of difficulty with Elementary Algebra, then adapts as questions become too hard or too easy for you. Depending on your proficiency, you may be required to take the College-Level math test for accurate placement.


Q.   How do I prepare for the Math test?

Read the information on the following web page. It describes the Elementary Algebra and College-Level math tests and includes some sample problems.

Please note that the test focuses on algebra. Therefore, you should review your algebra texts and notes to refresh yourself on the subject if you have not had an algebra class recently.

English Placement Exam

Q.   How will I know if I need to take the English test?

Most students will not need to take the placement exam in English, as follows:

  • If your highest Critical Reading SAT score was 449 or below, you will need to take a placement test to determine placement into Writ 1001 Language Concepts & Skills Practicum, Engl 1003 Developmental Writing, or Engl 1004 Expository Writing.

  • If your highest Critical Reading SAT score was between 450 and 599, you will be waived from the placement exam and placed directly into Engl 1004 Expository Writing;

  • If your highest Critical Reading SAT score was 600 or higher, or your highest English ACT score was 26 or higher, you will be waived from the placement exam and exempted from lower-division writing courses. You will take Engl 3200 Advanced Writing and Research during a future semester.

  • If you earned a score of 4 or 5 on the AP exam in English Language/Composition or English Literature/Composition, or if you have already taken a college-level Expository Writing course for college credit (not for high-school credit) and passed with a grade of ‘C’ or higher—and if that course transfers to Dominican—you will not need to take the English placement exam.

  • Students who cannot submit Critical Reading SAT scores, or who wish to challenge the above placements, will take the English placement test.


Q.   What is the English placement test like?

During this 60-minute, web-based, timed test, you will write an essay in response to a specific prompt selected randomly. Your writing is evaluated based on the following features: focus, organization, development and support, and mechanical conventions.  Depending on your score, you may be directed to another untimed test called Sentence Skills.


Q.   How do I prepare for the English test? 

Read the information on the following web page. It describes the WritePlacer essay test and the Sentence Skills test and includes some sample Sentence Skills questions and essay topics.

If you would like to brush up on your writing skills before testing, you can access several resources. Just click the links below:

Chemistry Placement Exam

Q.   How will I know if I need to take the Chemistry test?

All Nursing, Biology (including Pre-Med), Chemistry, Health Science, and Public Health majors will need to take the Chemistry placement test so we will know which chemistry course is the right one for you. (If you are Undeclared but considering one of those majors, you would also be wise to take the test.) If you have taken a chemistry course for college credit and passed with a 'C' or higher, you probably will not need to take the test.

NOTE: If you did not take chemistry in high school or if you have not taken a chemistry course for a few years, you may choose to be placed into Chem 1500 Introduction to Chemistry rather than taking the Chemistry placement test.


Q.   What is the Chemistry placement test like?

This paper-and-pencil, untimed test consists of 20 questions. You may use a calculator and a periodic table, which will be provided. The Chemistry placement test is meant to assess your chemistry background from high school.

 

Q.   How do I prepare for the Chemistry test?

To prepare for this test, you should review the following topics:

  • Significant figures
  • Conversion factors
  • Atoms and elements
  • Naming rules
  • Balancing equations
  • Types of reactions
  • Molarity and dilutions

The results from your Chemistry placement test will determine whether you will start in one of the following courses:

    CHEM 1500  Introduction to Chemistry: A Preparatory Course (3 units) -- for Biology, Chemistry, and and Nursing majors. This course is designed to prepare students for CHEM 1600 or CHEM 2000. Topics include: periodic table, properties and states of matter, electron configuration, chemical bonds, types of chemical reactions, concentration and solutions, structure of atom and an introduction to stoichiometry and balancing equations.  Additionally, the course will review basic mathematics and provide an introduction to common laboratory practices and use of common laboratory equipment.  2 lecture hours and 3 lab hours. Fall, Spring Semesters.


    CHEM 1600  Chemistry for the Health Sciences (3 units) -- for Nursing majors
    . This course is designed to expose students in the health sciences to chemical principles important to human physiology. Topics include: reaction rates, chemical equilibrium and gas laws; chemistry of water, solutions, colloids, acids, and bases; carbon chemistry containing heteroatoms; biochemistry of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, enzymes, vitamins, and hormones; chemistry of body fluids; and metabolic pathways. 2 lecture hours, 3 lab hours. Fall, Spring Semesters.


    CHEM 2000  General Chemistry I (4 units) -- for Biology and Chemistry majors
    . This course is focused on the fundamental principles and theories of chemistry with special emphasis on chemical calculations. Topics include atomic structure, gases, kinetic-molecular theory, periodicity and bonding, chemical thermodynamics etc. Prerequisite: MATH 1400 or College Algebra and a passing grade in the chemistry placement test or CHEM 1500. 3 lecture hours, 3 lab hours. Fall, Spring Semesters.

    You will also find helpful information about basic concepts at  http://www.chemtutor.com/.

    Advising

    Q.   When do I meet my advisor?

    If you are a transfer student, you will meet with your advisor after you take your placement tests to schedule and register for your Fall 2014 classes. If you do not already know who your advisor is, just e-mail placementtesting@dominican.edu.

    If you are an incoming freshman, you will not need to meet with an advisor over the summer. Your schedule will be prepared for you after you take your placement tests, using information you have provided about your major, your course preferences, and your participation in programs such as athletics and Honors, as well as your SAT/ACT and placement scores. Then during the summer, you will receive your schedule by snail-mail. There will be opportunities during Frosh Orientation to meet with your advisor and other faculty. And beginning in about October of the Fall 2014 semester, you will meet with an academic advisor to help you plan the rest of your coursework.

    Placement Testing at a Distance

    Q.   If I live too far from Dominican to come for placement testing, can I arrange to take the tests in my hometown?

    We encourage you to take your placement tests at Dominican where you will receive individualized attention from our trained staff. However, if you cannot get to Dominican, learn how to test at a distance.

    DISABILITY Accommodations for Testing

    Q.   What if I need disability accommodations for testing?

    If you have a documented disability and need accommodations, contact Todd Herriott, Director of Disability Services, at todd.herriott@dominican.edu or 415-257-0187 or TTY: 415-482-1975.


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