Start FAQS

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  1. What will happen at a START Session?
  2. Is assessment mandatory to attend Allan Hancock College?
  3. Am I exempt from assessment?
  4. How do computerized tests work?
  5. How much time will the tests take?
  6. Should I study for the assessment tests?
  7. Can I fail the test?
  8. Can I take the tests again?
  9. What do I bring with me to the START test?
  10. Who do I call if I have a documented learning or physical disability?
  11. What if English is my second language?

Answers to START FAQs

What will happen at a START session?

  1. You will take the online ACCUPLACER computerized placement test. No computer skills are needed to take the computerized test. The tests assess your skills in reading, sentence skills and mathematics. An online calculator will appear on the screen for each question that allows the use of a calculator. If you have not attended Allan Hancock College recently, you will view the New Student Orientation on the computer after you have completed the test.
  2. After assessment, you will have an opportunity to individually meet with a counselor to discuss your course placement. Placement into English and math classes is based upon test scores and other measures, which may include your high school grade point average, your highest level math course, grade, and length of time since you completed the course.  Top of Page

Is assessment mandatory to attend Allan Hancock College?
Although assessment in your basic skills is strongly encouraged to help you select classes in which you will have the best chance to succeed, it is not mandatory to attend unless you want to enroll in a course with an English or math prerequisite which you have not met. If you choose not to attend assessment at this time, please see a counselor for an exemption form. Top of Page

Am I exempt from assessment?

You are exempt from assessment if:

  1. You are transferring from another post-secondary institution and have completed the equivalent of the prerequisite to freshman composition or higher with a grade of C or better (exempt from English portion of assessment if verification is provided to a counselor or included with your registration materials);
  2. You are transferring from another accredited post-secondary institution and have completed Algebra 1 or higher with a grade of C or better, or have completed any other post-secondary math course within the last three years (exempt from math portion of assessment if verification is provided to a counselor or included with your registration materials);
  3. You provide scores from an assessment test currently in use at Allan Hancock College within the past three years (ACCUPLACER, COMPANION, and CELSA tests);
  4. You have an associate degree or higher from an accredited institution (see a college counselor if you want to enroll in a course with a math or English prerequisite);   
  5. You are taking courses only to upgrade occupational skills or as continuing education related to current employment and are enrolling in nor more than nine units;
  6. You are taking courses only which are not dependent on academic skill prerequisites (such as some PE, art, dance, and music courses) are are enrolling in no more thatn nine units;
  7. You are enrolling in six units or less (except English and 300- or 100-level math courses) and have goals that do not include working toward a certificate, an associate of arts degree, associate of science degree, or transfer;
  8. You receive credit by examination for English (exempt from English portion only) and/or math (exempt from math portion only) from department approved Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination (CLEP), or Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) test/s.

Exemptions may change because of college board approval which was not available at the time of this publication. Even if you are exempt from START assessment, you are strongly encouraged to talk to a college counselor about your college goals, and to view the new student online orientation to acquaint you with student services and other college information. Call the Counseling Office for information at ext. 3293.  Top of Page

How do computerized tests work?
The computer will select a question at random from a pool of questions with a medium level of difficulty. If you answer correctly, the computer will adapt to your response and select the next question from a higher difficulty level. If you answer incorrectly, the next question will be from a lower difficulty level. The computer continues to select questions from one of five or six difficulty ranges. Each test consists of 20 questions.  Top of Page

How much time will the tests take?
The computerized test is not timed and is completed by most students within 1 1/2 to 2 hours for the entire test and approximately 10 minutes for the New Student Orientation. Top of Page

Should I study for the assessment tests?
If you have not been in a math or English class recently, you should consider borrowing or buying books to brush up your skills before coming to test. You can obtain a copy of practice questions for the tests online, from the counseling office at all campuses, and from the Testing Center in building T on the Santa Maria campus.

Sample Questions for the START test can be found at:  http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing_center/accuplacer/index.html

If you want to review Algebra or higher math, you may also purchase START Math Practice Tests from the college Book Store on each campus. Top of Page

Can I fail the test?
You cannot fail the START test. It will give you a placement into English and math courses to help you be successful in the classes you choose. Top of Page

Can I take the tests again?
All students may retake the test once under the following conditions:

  1. At least four weeks have passed since the first test (to allow for extra study and preparation); AND
  2. The original test scores are within 5 points of reaching the next placement level of math, English, and/or ESL;

Students may file an appeal in the counseling office with the Dean, Counseling and Matriculation.  Top of Page

What do I bring with me to the START test?
When you come to take the START test, bring your AHC Student ID number that begins with the letter 'H' and a current picture ID. The Student ID number is assigned to you after you complete the online Admissions Application.

Although the test in not timed, you should allow up to two hours to complete the START process. Top of Page

Who do I call if I have a documented learning or physical disability?
If you have a documented learning or physical disability, call Learning Assistance at 922-6966, ext. 3274 or

1-866-342-5242, ext. 3274 to arrange alternative accommodations. Top of Page

What if English is my second language?
If you cannot read and write English at a high school level, you should take the English as a Second Language START test. Call (805) 922-6966, ext. 3094 or 1-866-342-5242 ext. 3094 for information.

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Preparing for
the start test

Video Thumbnail for START testing
This five minute video creatively illustrates how to best prepare for and get the most out of your START testing experience.

SPOTLIGHT

J. Danny Segura

J. Danny Segura
Wildland Fire Tech Student

"I have been taking classes through Allan Hancock College for about 3 years. I'm currently enrolled in their Firefighter 1 Academy and have really enjoyed it so far and I've made some new friends. The instructors are great and have years and years of experience and knowledge. Allan Hancock has helped me further my education in my fire service career."
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Last Modified May 2, 2014