Placement Testing


Students talking

The Purpose of Placements

Placement tests are not graded and do not become part of your transcript. You and the college use these exams to help figure out where you should start your study in a variety of areas.

Please try not to be anxious about placement tests. Cramming for them is not going to be useful, although it is a good idea to review subjects that you may not have looked at for three months.

Placement Information

Click on the Standardized and Placement Test Scores link in the Transcripts and Grades section on The Hub to see your College Board AP, International Baccalaureate, SATII and/or Carleton Placement Exam scores that have been received by the Registrar’s Office.  If some or all of your AP, IB or SATII scores are missing, please contact the appropriate national office and ask them to release your scores to Carleton.  Please note that Carleton placement exams do not automatically update to The Hub; give those scores about 48 business hours to be loaded.

Carleton Placement Exam Scores indicate which class you should register for:  e.g., a math placement score of 111 (MATH 111) means that your first mathematics course at Carleton should be MATH 111. If you completed a Carleton Placement Exam, you should be able to see your score on the “Standardized and Placement Test Scores” screen.  Carleton uses your first score on the test, so if you re-take a placement test, this will not change what you see on the Hub.  If you believe your score should be updated by a subsequent exam, or if you are not comfortable with your placement, you should contact the Chair of the department to discuss your score.

In the same Transcripts and Grades section, there is an “All Grades” link which you can use to see what credit, if any, has been granted for your AP or IB scores or prior college coursework.   Credit information does not appear on the “Standardized and Placement Test Scores” page.  Carleton policies governing placement for SATII scores (language only) and placement/credit for AP and IB scores can be found in the Prior Credits Policy section of the Academic Catalog.

Foreign Language Placement

Before you can register for a foreign language course at Carleton, we need to determine your language placement level. Please complete the language placement process by July 15:

If beginning a new language...

If you wish to learn a language you've never studied before, no placement exam is required. You can simply register for the introductory level of your chosen language.

If continuing a language...

If you've already studied a language and plan to continue--even if you don't intend to take a language course this fall--you should take our language placement exam for that language, or submit another qualifying examination score, if applicable. For complete details, see our Foreign Language Placement Testing site.

If you are bringing language courses in from another college or university, you will still need to take the language placement exam prior to registering for upper-level language courses, and before Carleton will award credit for your prior language courses.

For more information about foreign language placement, contact Mary Tatge at (507) 222-4252.

If you are proficient in a language other than English...

If you are multilingual, you may be exempt from the language requirement. However, this exemption does not happen automatically. Learn more about the language exemption.

If you have a documented disability...

The College expects all students will fulfill all degree requirements.  Students who anticipate not being able to meet a degree requirement because of a documented disability should contact Disability Services.

Math Placement

Before you can register for a math course at Carleton, we need to determine your math placement level. Please complete the math placement process by August 1.  For more information on this process please visit the Mathematics and Statistics Information for First-Year Students page.

Please note that you do not need to take a math placement exam if you:

  • scored 4 or 5 on the AB or the BC Advanced Placement Exam.,
  • do not plan to take a calculus course at Carleton

If you scored a 5 on the Higher-Level International Baccalaureate (IB) Exam, take placement exam #3.

If you do need the exam...

The Mathematics and Statistics department offers three placement tests in math. To select the one right for you, see our Mathematics Placement information.  Questions? Email the Mathematics and Statistics Department.

Chemistry Placement (optional)

If you're considering a chemistry course, use the Self-Administered Chemistry Placement Evaluation to determine which introductory course is right for you.

Computer Science (optional)

Most students who study CS at Carleton come in without any prior experience in the field and start in CS 111, but incoming students with some prior background should try the CS placement exam to see if starting in a different course makes more sense.

Music Placement (optional)

If you are interested in taking music theory or composition, you should take the Music Theory Placement Exam. The location and time will be part of the New Student Week schedule. Results of this exam will determine if you need to take The Materials of Music and Musicianship Lab I (MUSC 110 and 103) or if you place into Musical Structures and Musicianship Lab II (MUSC 204 and 104). For more information, see the First-Year Students' Guide on the Music Department web site.

Music Auditions

Music faculty and staff members use auditions to get an idea of your skill level so they can place you in the right ensemble or, for private lessons, with the right teacher. Be prepared to play or sing a scale, do some sight reading, perform part of a solo or etude you've brought along, and any required excerpts. More information on ensemble auditions.

Observational Drawing & Portfolio Review (optional)

If you have had a drawing course that you think might count as the equivalent of Observational Drawing in the Studio Art Department, the department would be willing to review your portfolio. This can even be done using online images if your portfolio is visible there, or it can be done with digital images or with the actual work when you arrive on campus. We would look to see that you have done the basic things we cover in our course—drawing from a live model, perspective, line and tone studies, and work in various drawing media.

Observational Drawing is the pre-requisite for most of the courses in the Studio Art Department. If you would like to have your portfolio reviewed, please contact David Lefkowitz via e-mail: