CHANCE Testing

CHANCE placement testing information has been recently updated for fall 2020, click on each exam for details. Please continue to monitor your NIU email account for updated information.

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 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.

All admitted CHANCE students will need to complete the English Placement Exam. Registration for this placement exam is now open.

Register for the English Placement Exam

Update for fall 2020: All students will be given an initial math placement level based on their ACT/SAT math scores and high school GPA. Your placement results will be emailed from to your NIU email address. If you submitted a GPA and wish to challenge your Math placement result, you may also register for the Accuplacer Math Exam.

If you did not submit a high school GPA, you should register for the Accuplacer Math Exam (click on the "Test Registration" button at the bottom of the page).

Update for fall 2020: If your major requires the Chemistry Placement Exam, you may now register to take this exam in the comfort of your home. Please use the registration button below to request a link to the test.

Students are required to take the Chemistry Placement Exam if they plan to enroll in CHEM 210, General Chemistry I, and CHEM 212, General Chemistry Laboratory I. (Students planning to enroll in CHEM 110, Chemistry, need not take this exam.)

This exam may be taken only once.

Areas of study requiring CHEM 210 and CHEM 212 include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Chemistry
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Engineering Technology
  • Environmental Studies (B.S. major only)
  • Geology and Environmental Geosciences
  • Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Mechatronics Engineering
  • Medical Laboratory Sciences
  • Physics
  • Pre Dentistry
  • Pre-Medicine
  • Pre-Optometry
  • Pre-Pharmacy
  • Pre-Physical Therapy
  • Pre-Veterinary Medicine

The Chemistry Placement Exam is divided into three equal parts: general mathematics, general chemical knowledge and specific chemical knowledge. Nonprogrammable calculators may be used for this exam.

If you need help interpreting your score, view the Chemistry Score Interpretation Sheet (PDF).

Students are required to take a placement exam in Spanish if they have had previous experience with the language and plan to continue their study of this language at the college level, or if they anticipate receiving CLEP subject exam credit.

Please note: You must register for the online "Spanish Placement Test" (use red Register button below). The exam is completed online at a student’s convenience, but it will take some time (up to ten days) to receive your unique testing link in your NIU student email account. Timely completion of the exam is in your best interest. Note that you must use your official NIU email address to register for this exam. Please note that students interested in placement for languages other than Spanish must contact the department at 815-753-1501 or for assistance.

Students who anticipate receiving transfer credit for college-level study of a language need not take a placement exam and are to register for the course that follows the highest level course for which transfer credit has been granted.

Freshmen who plan to study a foreign language other than Spanish should contact the appropriate coordinator in the Department of World Languages and Cultures.

If you need help interpreting your score, view the Foreign Language Score Interpretation Sheet (PDF).

If literacy placement is required, you will receive an email to your NIU email address from Your placement results will be based on your ACT/SAT scores and high school GPA. If you wish to challenge your placement results you may register for the Literacy Placement Exam (click on the "Register for CHANCE testing" button at the bottom of the page).

Note: not all students will receive a literacy placement.


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 60-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