CHANCE Testing

If you are a CHANCE student, testing is required to help you and your advisor choose courses that correspond to your levels of achievement. CHANCE testing must be taken prior to orientation for first semester courses and is taken only once. You cannot test on your orientation date. You must register for CHANCE testing online through our office.

NIU offers CHANCE testing exams at the DeKalb campus in English, math and reading. You are required to take all three of these exams.

Testing Accommodations

If you have a documented disability and need testing accommodations, contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) at 815-753-1303 or by email at to make an appointment several weeks before your test date to determine your eligibility for services.

If testing accommodations are appropriate, you may take your test at the Disability Resource Center. You must be registered with the DRC before your test date. Make an appointment with the DRC several weeks before you plan to take your placement exams.


You must first register to test, select CHANCE testing then follow the prompts to register. Next, follow the directions for arranging to take the exams on the date selected. 

Register for CHANCE testing.

Exam Information

The English Placement Exam consists of a 75-minute writing exercise resulting in

  • placement into English 102: Composition Skills, a course that prepares students for English 103; or
  • placement into English 103: Rhetoric and Composition I, the first of a two-semester sequence that satisfies NIU's writing competency requirement.

The Math Placement Exam is a 90-minute exam. You will show your work as you complete each item. The exam will be scored by the Math Department and you will be placed into the appropriate math course. Calculators may not be used for this exam.

The Reading Comprehension Placement Instrument is a 90-minute, 35 question multiple-choice test designed to assess your reading comprehension skills. Based on your test results, along with your ACT/SAT Reading subtest score, you will be placed into:

  • LTRE 100; (LTRE 190 is required upon successful completion of LTRE 100)
  • LTRE 190; or
  • exempt from taking coursework in college reading and study strategies