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What is a placement exam?

At McDaniel College, we use placement exams to help determine the best level for you to begin your academic coursework (unless you've already completed transferable courses in these areas.) These are tests that are used to measure where you are right now. It’s important you take them seriously, but don’t feel pressure to study or prepare too much. Basically, we want a snapshot of where you are so we know where you should start.


We offer three placement tests and you’ll determine which ones you need to take based on what you plan to study. You do not have to take all of the Placement Exams at one time (in fact, we wouldn’t recommend it) but they should all be completed as soon as possible.

Student writing in notebook.

Which Tests to Take?


This exam is required for every student except for those who submit official scores/transcripts meeting one of the following conditions:

  • AP (5 on Lit, 4 or 5 on Comp)
  • IB (4, 5, 6, 7, on HL; not SL)
  • SAT RC/W 710+
  • Transfer from approved schools, 4 prior college credits, must have C or above

Please visit the “English Placement” section of the Blackboard Placement Exams to see sample tests and Frequently Asked Questions about this exam.


This exam is required for those who have previously studied a language even if you plan to study a different language here at McDaniel.

The language placement exams available are:

  • Spanish
  • French
  • American Sign Language
  • Chinese
  • Arabic


Some courses require that students demonstrate via the math placement exams that they have the math skills needed to be successful in the class before they are able to register for them. Subject areas that may require these skills include Kinesiology, Math, Chemistry, Engineering, Physics, Biomedical Science, Health Science, Business Administration and Economics. If you are dissatisfied with your placement test result, you will be given the opportunity to review relevant material and then retake the exam up to five times. While these retakes can be completed at your own pace, it is strongly recommended that you complete them as early as possible to gain access to the widest range of classes possible.

How to Take Your Placement Exams

For the English, Math, Spanish, French, ASL and Chinese Exams:
  • Log in to the myMcDaniel Portal
  • Log into Blackboard from the main Portal menu.
  • Select 'Placement Exams and New Student Information'
  • Some of our placement exams require the use of the Respondus Lockdown browser application. BEFORE you can take any placement exams, you will need to download Respondus onto a laptop or desktop computer (it will not work on cell phones). Please visit the Blackboard Placement Exam course for the link and instructions for downloading.
  • Complete your required placement exams.
To take the Arabic placement exam
Email Dr. Carol Zaru at to receive information about next steps for the Arabic placement exam.
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Pro Tip

Want to brush up on your skills before you take the Math placement exam? Visit and review the “Preliminary Topics” and “Beginning Algebra Topics”