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Placement Tests

How to Access Placement Tests
Biology | ChemistryMathematics
French | Spanish

Mills is committed to helping new students make a successful transition to our institution. We require entering students, depending on your academic interests, to take one or more of the placement tests listed below. These tests help you and your advisor make good decisions about your first year course schedule. The College also uses information gleaned from the aggregate scores of these tests to fine tune its curriculum. In no instance will these scores be recorded on your transcript nor will they affect your admissions status or financial aid award.

Please read the instructions for each test carefully as there are differences in timing and procedure among them.

If you have any questions or concerns about the placement tests please contact David Donahue at 510.430.3393 or ddonahue@mills.edu.

Biology Placement Test

The General Biology (Biology 001) test is designed to let you, your advisor, and the Biology department, know whether you have the necessary background in chemistry and mathematics to enable you to do well in Biology 001. Students taking the Biology placement test should also take the Chemistry placement test.

The Biology placement test should be taken by some students who wish to enroll in Biology 001 or 002:  Undergraduate students entering as first year students usually take Chemistry 017–018 in their first year and Biology 001–002 in their second year; in that case there is no need to take the placement test.  However, those with unusually strong backgrounds in chemistry and mathematics may be able to take the two courses concurrently. First-year students who think they might have the chemistry and mathematics background for Biology 1 should take the placement test. Transfer students and post-baccalaureate students may need to take Chemistry 017 and Biology 001 concurrently; in this case, the placement tests will still allow us to evaluate your level of preparation.

The Biology placement test consists of 20 multiple choice problems, and should take you no more than a half hour. You should take the test "closed book." You do not need a calculator for any of the problems. You may take the test only once, so be sure you have time to complete it.

When should I take the test?
This test is generally only conducted in the Fall. Please contact the department for more information.

(Note: The Chemistry placement test should be taken BEFORE the Biology placement test.)

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Chemistry Placement Test

This test should be taken by all students interested in taking Chemistry 017, the foundation course for science majors. It consists of 20 multiple choice problems, and should take no more than an hour. It does not require access to any outside information and should be taken as a "closed book" test. You will need a calculator for this test.

When should I take the test?
This test may be taken before your arrival for Orientation, but must be completed by 11:59pm (PDT) Monday, August 25, 2014.

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Mathematics Assessment and Placement Test

All incoming first year students and transfer students are required to take the Mathematics Assessment and Placement Test prior to the beginning of classes. The results from this short quiz serve two purposes. First they will help you and your advisor to select an appropriate quantitative skills class. Note that the scores are only advisory and that you need not take a class that satisfies this general education requirement during your first semester. Second, this test will help Mills to better understand the level of mathematics preparation of entering students as a group. We will use this knowledge to guide the development of courses and other programs in this area to serve best our students' needs. This is why the College would like for you to take the test even if you have fulfilled this requirement. You may use a calculator.

When should I take the test?
This test may be taken before your arrival for Orientation, but must be completed by 11:59pm (PDT) Monday, August 25, 2014.

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Modern Languages

French Placement Test

The French placement test is designed to help you and the French faculty to determine your appropriate level in French. All students who have already taken some French in high school or at another institution, and are interested in continuing French at Mills (at any level) should take this test.

When should I take the test?
This test is generally only conducted in the Fall.

The French placement tests are held in the Fall semester. If a student needs a placement test for the Spring semester a more informal one-to-one placement assessment can be arranged. Please contact the department for more information.

A. The written part is a series of short questions that you can complete online at any time using the instructions above. You must take the written portion before you come in for the oral interview during orientation. It should take you between 30 and 45 minutes.

B. The oral part is a short interview (10 minutes) with the Mills French faculty to see how well you speak and understand spoken French. This is important because all French classes at Mills are taught exclusively in the language. Your speaking ability may not be the same as your writing.  You must sign up for one 10-minute slot during interview times that will be on Monday, August 25  from 10:30 am to 12:30 PM in Mills Hall room 326. The sign-up sheets will be posted in Mills Hall, third floor, outside the door of office 326.

For any questions regarding the placement test or oral interview of French Studies at Mills, please contact Professor Brinda Mehta, MH 326
510.430.2212, mehta@mills.edu 

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Spanish Placement Test

If you are new to Mills and are interested in enrolling in a Spanish course other than SPAN 001, you should take the Spanish Placement Test. You do not need to take the test if you are enrolling in SPAN 001.

When should I take the test?
This test may be taken before your arrival for Orientation. Please contact Dr. Mena Borges at mborges@mills.edu or 510.430.2199 if you have questions.

If you received 48-57 points in the placement test, you must come for an oral interview in Spanish with the Spanish and Spanish American Studies Program Faculty to see how well you speak and understand spoken Spanish. This is very important because our Spanish classes at Mills are taught exclusively in Spanish.

You must sign up for one 10-minute slot during interview times that will be on Monday, August 25 from 10:30 AM to 12:30 PM in Mills Hall 333 & 334. The sign-up sheets will be posted in Mills Hall, third floor, outside the doors of offices 333 & 334. For any questions relating to the oral interview in Spanish, please contact Professor Carlota Caulfield at amach@mills.edu, 510.430.2356 or Dr. Mena Borges at mborges@mills.edu, 510.430.2199.

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How to access the placement tests in Blackboard

If you have never accessed the Mills Portal you will need to set your password first. Please follow the directions on the Set Your Password for the First Time page.

If you have never accessed Blackboard, but have accessed the Mills Portal, you may need to reset your password. First login to the Mills Portal and then click on the "Change Your Password..." link in the lefthand area of the portal homepage and follow the rules for changing your password.

  1. Tests become available after June 1, 2014.
    Launch Internet Explorer on a PC or Safari or Firefox on a Mac.
  2. Go to http://portal.mills.edu and login using your Mills username (You can also login via your SSN or Banner ID).
  3. Click on the “Blackboard” link under the "Featured Services" area of the portal homepage.
  4. Click on the Blackboard "Courses" tab in the new window that opens up.
  5. Type "placement" in the "Course Search" field and click “GO!”
  6. Select the placement test you wish to access by clicking on the "Enroll."
  7. On the Self-Enrollment page, click "Submit."
  8. Click "OK" to continue to the Placement Test homepage.
  9. After reading all the information regarding your test, click on the "Take the Assessment" link in the left navigation area to access the test.
IMPORTANT: Be sure to click the “Save” button at the bottom of the quiz when you are finished. Then click the “Submit” button.

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Last Updated: 5/23/14