Assessment is an important step in your process toward becoming a college student. Assessment testing is one aspect of what is often termed the "matriculation" process. Matriculation involves all of the activities that are necessary to be considered an active student. The major parts of this process include application, orientation, assessment, and registration. You have already successfully completed the application process! And by doing Steps to Success, you are fulfilling the orientation requirement and will then be cleared to do Assessment.
Assessment is so important because it provides the college the opportunity to learn about you and what classes are best for you to start with. This process is especially important for students who are seeking a certificate, degree, or transfer because access to some of the courses you need may be restricted unless you demonstrate specific skills during Assessment or successfully complete pre-requisite courses once you begin taking classes at the college.
The assessment testing process involves multiple instruments, including modules for mathematical skills, and tests in English that involve reading comprehension and sentence skills. In addition, you will likely be asked a variety of questions to better understand other factors related to your academic preparation. Your job is to do your best on the assessment in order to help the Pierce College create the most accurate picture of what courses will best support your future success.
You have probably already taken many tests in your life up to this point. Assessment tests are a bit different from other tests you may have taken in that you do not pass or fail assessments. Nonetheless, your performance during the assessment is very important! In fact, the assessment test will determine which courses will be your starting point in core classes like English and Mathematics. And the assessment will also determine whether you meet the requirements to take many other courses offered by the college. Your best possible performance during assessment is important because that can potentially save you time, energy, and money since you might be required to take fewer courses to reach your ultimate goal.
Most college sequences in English, reading, mathematics, and English as a Second Language are built upon the idea that a student builds skills and mastery over time. These courses are organized into sequences, with a designated course being required for graduation or transfer. The number of courses required in these sequences vary from college to college, but the goal is for you to assess and be placed into the highest possible course, which will save you time and money by allowing you to minimize the number of steps needed to meet specific completion requirements.
Remember that it is not possible for you to "fail" an assessment test. The college is only measuring the areas that you can already demonstrate mastery in and the areas you need to strengthen. This information will help to determine the best possible recommendations for which classes you should take and serves as an important tool for reaching your academic and professional goals.
While test taking is a stressful process, it is a also a necessary part of college life. In anticipation for your Assessment Test, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Practice – The more you practice, the more successful you will be on the day of the test. You will know what to expect, your speed will increase, and you will know what to pay attention to.
- Be well rested – Being prepared is great, but being over tired on test day can undermine all the studying you have done. Rest up as much as possible before the test, and give yourself enough time to arrive at the testing site and unwind for a few minutes before the exam, alleviating any feelings of hurriedness and the extra stress they cause.
- Trust yourself – If you have been studying and doing the best you can, trust yourself during the exam. While checking over your answers is always encouraged if you have time, enough studies have shown that second guessing yourself can be to your detriment. If you feel strongly about an answer, trust yourself.
- Be present – While in the testing room, turn off distractions physically (your phone, laptop, etc.) and mentally. Engage with the test in front of you, and attend to other responsibilities later.
- Do not underestimate the test – There is no passing or failing an assessment. The Assessment Test is designed to find the right class for you where you will be most likely to succeed. With this said, scoring poorly on the Assessment Test may not earn you a fail, but it can add entire semesters to your college experience. Take the test seriously by studying for it, and give the Assessment Test the same kind of attention you would allot to an in-class final.