What to expect from the Assessment process
We'll guide you through the process of taking an assessment. If you have questions that aren't answered here, please contact us.
Are you of Indigenous ancestry? Contact Indigenous Education to set up an appointment with an Indigenous Advisor. They can provide you with support and services.
Do you have a documented disability? If you have a documented disability that requires you to test under specific conditions, make an appointment with a Centre for Accessible Learning staff member so that testing accommodations and support can be arranged for you.
Before the Test
We want to make your test experience a positive one. Here are some things you can do:
- To help reduce test anxiety you may want to prepare by reviewing our sample questions. The Counselling Department also offers tips on how to relieve test anxiety.
- We may be able to arrange individual test sessions when time, space and staffing allows. Contact us to let us know you'd like to test alone and we will work with you to find a convenient time.
- If you have documentation and received some accommodation for extra time, test aids, or testing in a room alone before, you may be a candidate for assistance through the Centre for Accessible Learning.
Remember, an assessment test is not a final exam! Its purpose is to give you (and us) an indication of where your skills are at the moment of testing. The idea is that the results can either meet your current goal requirements or indicate a starting point for upgrading that will gain you the level you need to meet your program or course requirement(s).
No, you need to book an assessment. Tests are given on a set schedule, and not all tests are given at the same time. Book an Assessment.
English: Many institutions use standardized English tests, so you should bring your test results in to the Assessment Centre and have us check to see if the test you took can be used for a Camosun College placement. Be aware that many other institutions do not have you do a writing sample, and that is a major part of our English assessment. We may use your scores from the other test and ask you to just write a paragraph or essay for us or we may need you to write our entire test. We don't want you to take a test if you don't have to but sometimes it is unavoidable.
Mathematics: North Island College (NIC), Vancouver Island University (VIU), and Camosun College have an agreement to accept each other's placements into College Prep (roughly Grades 11 and 12) mathematics courses. You will need to bring in official results from your other test for us to review. We will use the results if we can, but if not, you will need to write Camosun's math assessment.
For some programs assessment is mandatory for all applicants, regardless of high school grades. If your Math 12 grade is below the admission or course requirement or if your transcript is very dated, you may be asked to write a math assessment. The math department recommends that your math grades be recent (within 2 years) of your application to best guarantee success in your chosen program.
English: If you have been away from school for a while and have not been reading, the first step is to begin reading! Read at least 20 minutes a day, and read a variety of materials– the newspaper, magazine articles, short stories and books. Review what makes a good paragraph and, if you wrote essays in school, review essay structure such as the three-point essay or five-paragraph essay formats. Practice some writing: think of a general topic and write a paragraph on it. If you have written essays, think of a topic for discussion and write an essay on it. Time yourself. Give yourself 30 minutes to plan and write a paragraph or an hour to plan and write an essay. Look over an English textbook to refresh your memory about sentence structure, grammar, and punctuation. Check the sample English test on this website.
Mathematics: If you have had mathematics courses and have been successful in them, it is okay to review the concepts you may have forgotten. Brush up on those skills you have not used in a while. If you had trouble with math when you were in school, do not try to teach yourself that material now. It is far better to be placed into a math class where you will be secure in the knowledge asked of you and ready to learn new skills. Check the sample mathematics test on this website.
I'm currently taking English 12 (or Math 11 or Math 12). Should I take the assessment right away so that I have a better chance of getting into my program, or should I wait until I finish my classes?
Taking an assessment is not recommended if you are in school and working to complete the prerequisite courses you need for Camosun College. Your course grades from high school reflect the total work you do in each class; the assessment indicates your skills during a one-to-three hour testing period only. Very often, the test results will be lower than your course grades. For this reason, the college has the policy of always accepting course work grades over assessment results.
If you are entering Camosun College directly from high school, you may apply to the college and, if you include your provincial exam number, your results will be sent directly to the college. You are on equal footing with other high school students applying to the college. If you are a bit weak in your subject areas in school, waiting until you have almost completed your courses before taking the assessment— if you have to take the assessment— gives you the best chance of doing well on the English and mathematics tests.
During the Test
You will be asked to work within the times given for each test section. The timed portions of the assessments are there because the tests are standardized. "Standardized" means that most of the students who take the test are able to finish it within the given time. In order to compare you with the general population of people at your grade level, we use the standardized test.
Think of a Grade 12 student who earns a C+ grade; that student is not perfect. That student will not get every question correct on the assessment. You are not being asked to be perfect, either. You are being allowed the same number of errors as the Grade 12 student with a C+ is getting. You can earn a very high placement if you do not complete all the answers correctly. You can even get a very high placement if you do not finish all the items on the test.
We allot 60 minutes to the exam portion of the test. Most students are able to produce enough of a sample in that time period for us to give an accurate score. If you are writing using the Writeplacer computer test, it is possible for us to give you extra time, however, that cannot usually occur during the same test session and must be completed within 2 weeks of the original test appointment. Check with staff if you need more time.
If people could choose their own topics, some would prepare for hours at home before the assessment, and maybe have assistance from others. General topics allow for fairness and for an accurate picture of your writing skills.
Sorry, no. It is important for us to know that you have some skill with basic math concepts. It is important for you to know that virtually all Camosun math tests have non-calculator components.
If you have a documented learning disability or other reason that requires you to test under specific conditions, make an appointment with a staff person in Disability Resource Centre. Testing accommodations and support will be arranged for you.
After the Test
Yes, results are entered into your student record. You may wish to contact Admissions to confirm that you have completed the assessment and determine your next step.
What if I take an assessment for a Trades program and then change my mind and decide to go into another program?
If you change your college goal, check with the Assessment Centre before taking another assessment. Very often, we can use the scores you already have to make other placements, or we can use some of the scores and ask you to write only a portion of an assessment. When in doubt, ask!
The Assessment Centre is in the process of converting all assessment to computer tests; we are not quite finished this conversion. Computer tests afford a large data bank of questions so if you have taken a computer test with us, you may retest as often as you want (within reason) but the fee for the retest is higher.
If the test you want is only available in paper form, then you may only take an assessment test once. The assessment results are a placement at the level at which to begin your work. If the assessment staff has a question about the results, they may ask you to re-take a portion of the assessment in which case there will be no additional fee.
We don't use the word "fail" in the Assessment Centre. If the admission requirement you are looking for is not met by your test scores, you will receive a placement level to begin upgrading studies.
If you originally tested on a computerized test with us then you may retest, however, the fee is higher. You may not retake an assessment test once you are enrolled in a related course or in the same term as you were enrolled in a course you withdrew from. This only applies to computer assessments at this time. Paper assessments were designed to be taken only once.
Generally speaking an assessment is valid so long as the test itself is still in use and the placement level (or Camosun course equivalent) recommended has not had substantial changes since the test was taken.
Our assessments are designed for entry into Camosun College. You will have to ask the other colleges or institutions if they will accept Camosun results. You will need to provide the Assessment Centre with written permission to release your results to other institutions. They may need to see your placement letter. Contact us for details.