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Skills Assessment

Getting Started at SFC

All accepted first year and transfer students who have committed to SFC are invited to take a skills assessment to help advisors guide you through the registration process. See below for frequently asked questions and information about why we offer the test and how to prepare for it.


Who is invited to take the Skills Assessment?

All accepted students (first year and transfer students) who have committed to SFC are invited to take the skills assessment. Once you commit to St. Francis College you will receive communication about taking the skills assessment. It is important that you review the prep questions and that you start the exam at a time when you are ready. You must complete the exam in 1 sitting and the Math section is timed.

What is on the Skills Assessment?

The exam starts with a Welcome Section and a Code of Conduct section followed by a Writing and a Math section. You will be asked to upload an essay to complete the Writing section. The Writing section is a persuasive essay where you are expected to state and explain your position. Your essay should include a clear introduction, a thesis statement, at least 3 supporting arguments, organized paragraphs with a clearly identifiable topic sentence, examples and supporting evidence and a strong conclusion. Make sure that the essay reflects your best attempt at grammar usage, vocabulary, and critical thinking and be at least 300 words.

and the Math section is composed of 30 math questions, mostly algebra questions. You will have 30 minutes to answer the questions.

It is important that you start the assessment when you have time to complete everything since the assessment should be completed in one sitting

What is the purpose of taking the Skills Assessment?

The scores from the Skills Assessment will provide your Center for Student Success advisor an indication of your abilities so that they can guide and register you appropriately. The exam is not pass/fail but your scores will help your academic advisor determine the appropriate placement in your college courses and whether you are eligible for the First Year Project Access program or other support programs offered by the College.

How do I prepare for the placement exam?

After committing to SFC, you will be provided practice exam questions with the Canvas Group Course- Skills assessment. You will also be invited to attend Skills Assessment Saturday and Math Prep sessions.

How is the Skills Assessment scored?

The exam is not pass/fail. The Writing section is scored out of 28 and the Math section is scored out of 30. When you meet with your Center for Student Success advisor you will learn your score and where you placed for Writing and Math.

Can you retake the Skills Assessment if you are unhappy with your score?

Unfortunately, no. So, prepare and take the assessment when you feel confident, ready and have the time to concentrate.

What should I do if I need testing accommodations?

The placement exam is a timed exam. If in high school or at another institution you received extended time or other accommodations on exams, it is important that you contact Ms. Caitlin McGuire, Assistant Director of the Office of Accessibility & Accommodations (OAA) at [email protected] prior to starting and taking the exam. OAA and AEC will work together to assist you with the requested accommodation(s). For more information please visit OAA’s web page

Does a Transfer student need to take the Skills Assessment?

If you are transferring in a Math and/or Writing class you should speak with your Admissions Counselor to see if you qualify for an exemption.

If you do not have the appropriate transfer credit for a Math and/or Writing course equivalent to our required curriculum here at St. Francis College, then you must complete the Skills Assessment and the exam will be used for course placement into a Math and/or Writing course.

Tips for doing your best when you take the skills assessment:

  • Start the assessment in an environment that is conducive to test taking (quiet room, no distractions, good lighting). You know the setting that works best for you.
  • Take the assessment on a computer or laptop. Working off your phone will be very difficult. Make sure your internet connection is dependable too!
  • Have a calculator, pencil, and scrap paper already for the Math section. You never know if it is needed and you do not want to waste time getting the items.
If you have any questions or concerns about the exam or taking the test online, please email the Center for Learning and Leadership at [email protected].