FAQs for FIRST YEAR and Transfer Students

We administer placement assessments 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 assessment described below. Most students will need one or two assessments, which will take one to two hours to complete. The best way to prepare for your placement assessment 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 assessment, 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 assessment?

Once deposited after admission, you will receive an email and a letter with a link to schedule your placement assessment(s). If you have any questions, please email placementtesting@dominican.edu.

Q.  Where do I go for assessment?

Once you have scheduled your placement assessment, you will receive an appointment confirmation email that will contain the location of your placement test.

Directions and campus map

Q.  How long will the assessments take?

Most students will need one or two assessments, which will take one to two hours to complete. See assessment descriptions below for more details about the time for each individual assessment. If you need all three placement assessments, plan about 3 1/2 hours.

Q. Do I need to bring anything with me when I come to Dominican for my assessment(s)?

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. Please be ready to have your picture taken. In most cases you will receive your Dominican ID following placement assessment.

Q.  Is there a cost for placement assessment?

No, there is no charge.


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

Some students may not need to take the placement assessment in Math. For additional information pertaining to SAT, ACT, and AP scores, please consult the Academic Catalog.

Q.   What is the Math placement assessment 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. It is generally about 30 questions and takes about an hour and a half.

Q.   How do I prepare for the Math assessment?

You should review your algebra texts and notes to refresh yourself on the subject if you have not had an algebra class recently.


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

Most students will not need to take the placement assessment in English. For additional information pertaining to SAT, ACT, and AP scores, please consult the Academic Catalog.

Q.   Am I allowed to retake the English Placement Assessment?

Yes, we allow one retake of the English placement assessment.

Q.   What is the English assessment test like?

During this 60-minute, web-based, timed assessment, 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.  

Q.   How do I prepare for the English Assessment? 

Read the information on the following web page. It describes the WritePlacer essay assessment and includes a sample essay topic on page 6.

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

Chemistry Placement Assessment

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

All Nursing, Biology (including Pre-Med), and Chemistry majors will need to take the Chemistry placement assessment 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 assessment.

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 assessment.

Q.   What is the Chemistry placement assessment like?

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


Q.   How do I prepare for the Chemistry assessment?

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 assessment 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, Nursing, Health Science, and Public Health 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, Health Science, and Public Health 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 (3 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/.


Q.   When do I meet my advisor?

If you are a transfer student, you will meet with your advisor after you take your placement assessment(s) to schedule and register for your Fall  classes. If you do not already know who your advisor is, click this link http://www.dominican.edu/academics/advising/advisors.

If you are an incoming first-year students, you will be contacted by your advisor for an advising appointment over the summer. The two of you will discuss your fall class schedule and discuss the process for online registration. 

Placement Assessment at a Distance

Q.   If I live more than 2 hours from Dominican, can I arrange to take the assessments in my hometown?

We encourage you to take your placement assessments at Dominican where you will receive individualized attention from our trained staff. However, if you do live more than 2 hours from campus we do have protocol for you to test in your area, learn more here.

DISABILITY Accommodations for Testing

Q.   What if I need disability accommodations for testing?

If you have a documented disability and need accommodations, contact Kristen Coleman , at placementtesting@dominican.edu or 415-257-0153.