NKU Testing Services is responsible for administering the English, mathematics, and reading Placement Tests to admitted students who do not meet The Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) minimum test score requirements for college readiness.

If a student does not meet these score standards, he or she must take Placement Test(s), which will determine whether the student will need to take a developmental class. If you have any questions regarding your qualification to take a placement test, feel free to contact Testing Services at (859) 572-6373.


Those who are required to take the placement test are:

  • Admitted first time freshman, that have not met the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education (CPE) minimum test score requirements for college readiness.
  • Admitted transfer students who do not provide test scores and/or do not have equivalent college-level transfer credit 
  • Admitted International Students (only math is required)

NOTE: Students MUST take Placement Test(s) before their summer Registration date and/or before registering for classes.


Those who are not required, but may take Placement Test(s) are:

  • Admitted first time freshman, that have meet the Kentucky Council of Postsecondary Education (CPE) minimum test score requirements for college readiness.
  • Adult students (age 21 years and older) who have taken the Accuplacer Admission test to gain admission to NKU
  • International students (English and reading are optional)

NOTE: Students who elect to take Placement Test(s) MUST do so before they register for classes. After enrolling in classes, a student is no longer eligible to take Placement Test(s).


NEW: Students may now choose to do ALEKS placement testing for math only. ALEKS PPL is an online placement tool that also includes learning modules to improve placement. After completing an unproctored baseline assessment, you can select the appropriate learning module to help improve your score. Then, the placement exam is completed again in a proctored online environment. The proctored exam can be completed from any computer with a webcam. Those who spend 7-8 hours working in the module tend to improve their placement by one course. To begin your assessment, visit and follow the prompts. You will need your NKU user ID and password to access ALEKS. Only proctored attempts may be used for placement.


Test Score Standards

The scores below determine need/eligibility for Placement Test(s).

Some majors require a higher Math score for specific courses. Those with lower scores will need to take developmental courses.

ACT Less than 18 Less than 19 Less than 20
SAT Less than 430 (Writing) Less than 460 Less than 470
SAT 2 Writing & Language 24 or lower or Evidence -Based Reading and Writing 470 or lower Math 24.5 or lower or Mathematics 490 or lower Reading 24 or lower or Evidence-Based Reading and Writing 460 or lower
Accuplacer Less than 92

Less than 50 (College level Math)

Less than 84 (Elementary Algebra)

Less than 96
COMPASS Less than 74 Less than 36 Less than 85
TOEFL-ITP Less than 550 (Composite) NA Less than 48
TOEFL-IBT Less than 79 (Composite) NA Less than 14
IELTS Less than 6.5 (Composite) NA Less than 5.5