Placement Testing

New, incoming freshmen students may require placement testing. You will receive instructions by email three to four weeks before your Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) session about any placement testing that is required.

If you are an incoming transfer student, please see the "Transfer Students" section at the bottom of this page.


  • A writing placement test is required for all incoming freshmen.
  • A one-hour timed writing prompt essay must be completed online before your SOAR session.
  • The writing placement test determines whether you are required to complete English courses before enrolling in ENG 112.

Reading Comprehension 

  • A reading comprehension placement test is required for incoming freshmen with an ACT reading score below 19 or an SAT evidence-based reasoning/verbal score below 530. 
  • This 20-minute timed reading comprehension exam will be completed on campus during your SOAR session.
  • The placement test determines whether you are required to take COL 099, College Reading and Learning Strategies.


  • A math placement test is required for incoming freshmen who meet the following criteria.
  1. ACT math score: Below 19
  2. New SAT (March 2016 or later) math score: Below 530
  3. Old SAT (February 2016 and prior) math score: Below 500
  • The one-hour timed math test must be completed online before your SOAR session. 
  • If you are not required to take math placement testing, your advisor will recommend a math course appropriate for your major and ability level based on your ACT/SAT scores.

Foreign Language 

  • All students are required to take one foreign language course according to their current ability level. Marian University offers French, German, Latin, and Spanish.
  • If you want to continue taking courses in a previously studied foreign language, you will complete foreign language placement testing online before your SOAR session. You must complete the foreign language course in which you are placed to fulfill the graduation requirement. Additional back credit may be awarded if that course is taken and passed with a C or higher.
  • If you choose to take a foreign language at Marian University that you did NOT previously study, you are required to take the introductory 101 course for that language.
  • Foreign language placement testing is also offered to current students in October and March.
  • Results are valid for two years from the test date.

More info about the language placement test

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Placement Testing

Wondering how your dual or AP credit for English, math, or a foreign language will affect your placement testing needs? Want more information on our foreign language back credit policy? Review these placement testing FAQs for answers to these questions and more.

Transfer Students

  • If you are an incoming transfer student less than 30 transfer credit hours, you are required to complete math, writing, and reading comprehension placement testing unless you have equivalent transfer coursework which fulfills these requirements.
  • Transfer students with 30 or more transfer credit hours are NOT required to complete placement testing. 
  • Foreign language placement testing is not required for transfer students, though you are encouraged to talk with your advisor about the foreign language placement exam if you have previous coursework in French, German, Latin, or Spanish, as you must still complete the foreign language general education requirement.
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Notice of Nondiscrimination
Marian University does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, color, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, creed, national origin, age or disabilities in the selection of administrative personnel, faculty and staff, and students.
*Placement rates are gathered from data collected from graduates within six months of graduation.