We want you to succeed. Assessments help you understand if your academic history has prepared you to succeed in our programs and courses or will guide our advice on how you can upgrade to become prepared to meet entry requirements. Most programs and courses accept English and math assessments in lieu of transcripts. Costs for placement assessments can be found in Tuition & Costs.

Who needs a placement assessment?

Students can either provide a high school transcript or take a placement assessment to ensure that they have the English and/or math skills necessary for their studies. Students should do a placement assessment if:

  • your high school transcript is not available
  • your high school grades do not meet the course or program academic pre-requisites
  • your high school grades are older than admissions requirement states, or
  • you are interested in knowing their current English and math skills

Steps of assessment

The assessment process involves four steps:

  1. Meet with an advisor to determine your goals and assessment needs and prepare for your assessment
  2. Complete the assessment
  3. Receive feedback on your assessment from NIC faculty or the assessment clerk
  4. Work with your advisor to develop a plan to move forward

If you need to do an off-site assessment, fill out the application for off-campus assessment.

Types of Assessments

Math Assessments

Math assessments are available both online and paper and pencil formats. Assessments are available up to and including Grade 12 Math.

Study Guides

To get ready for either Math Assessment we have a Math Review Book available to you. Begin by previewing the Study Guide for the Math Review Book.

This book is also available for purchase at all NIC bookstores or for review at all NIC libraries.

The Level A Book would prepare students for the ACCUPLACER arithmetic assessment, while the Levels B and C will prepare students for ACCUPLACER advanced mathematics. For review material that prepares students specifically for the ACCUPLACER math assessments, use the links below or sign up for the ACCUPLACER Study App.


Online math assessments are done using the ACCUPLACER online assessment tool. ACCUPLACER is an adaptive assessment. This means that the questions are chosen for you on the basis of your answers to previous questions. This technique selects just the right questions for your ability level. Because the assessment works this way, you must answer every question when it is first given. You can change your answer to a particular question before moving on to the next question, but you cannot leave a question out or come back to it later to change your answer.

The arithmetic assessment questions are divided into three types:

  1. Operations with whole numbers and fractions: topics included in this category are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, recognizing equivalent fractions and mixed numbers, and estimating.
  2. Operations with decimals and per cents: topics include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with decimals. Per cent problems, recognition of decimals, fraction and per cent equivalencies, and problems involving estimation are also given.
  3. Applications and problem solving: topics include rate, per cent, and measurement problems, simple geometry problems, and distribution of a quantity into its fractional parts.

The Advanced Math Assessment is divided into three sections; Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra and Statistics.

Paper and Pencil

The paper and pencil Math Assessment covers a range of math functions presented in several subsections, presented as both equations and word problems.

  • Students start with adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing whole numbers, fractions and decimals. This part must be done without a calculator. A calculator is allowed for the section on ratio and proportion, percentage problems, reading graphs and metric questions.
  • Students may move on to questions using algebra, factoring, quadratic equations, trigonometry and geometry. For these questions students are provided with a scientific calculator.
  • The paper and pencil Math Assessment is not timed, but generally takes about 2-3 hours to complete all sections. Some programs do not require the completion of all sections. Check with the program requirements to see what materials will be evaluated. If additional time is needed another session can be booked at no further expense.

English Assessments

North Island College offers English Placement Assessments in both online and paper and pencil formats. Online assessments are done with the Accuplacer Online English Assessments. Students will complete three assessments; an assessment of knowledge of grammar (writing skills), an assessment of reading comprehension, and a writing sample. Speak to an NIC advisor for information on doing your assessment on paper, rather than online.

Study Guides

To prepare for your English assessment, see the English Placement Assessment Study Guide. To prepare for the Accuplacer online English Assessment, refer to the following materials:

For reading: Accuplacer reading sample questions

For writing: Accuplacer writing sample questions

Study materials are also available through the Accuplacer app.

Keyboarding Assessments

Available at campuses in Campbell River, Comox Valley, Port Alberni and Port Hardy.

To book a keyboarding assessment, please contact the campus closest to you:

Campbell River 250-923-9715 ext 7715 assessmentcr@nic.bc.ca
Comox Valley 250-334-5014 assessmentcvc@nic.bc.ca
Port Alberni 250-724-8741 assessmentpa@nic.bc.ca
Port Hardy 250-949-7912 ext 2811 assessmentph@nic.bc.ca

Keyboarding Assessment Fee (NIC Applicant): $15

Keyboarding Assessment Fee (External): $35 + tax

  • Bring picture ID and your assessment fee receipt to the testing session. You must pay the assessment fee at Student Services. Assessment clerks cannot accept payment. Payment can be done on the day of your assessment provided Student Services is open.
  • A letter indicating your words per minute on one acceptable timing is provided at the end of the testing session.
  • Please note that 50 wpm with three errors or less is required for the Hospital Unit Clerk keyboarding assessment.

Testing Details

The testing consists of producing one acceptable three or five-minute timed writing from a book of timings (time depends on your speed goal - five minutes for anything over 40 wpm).

An "acceptable attempt" must have three or fewer errors to calculate your speed.

You may make as many attempts as you wish in one hour and the backspace key may be used during the testing.

Test results are valid for two years, as per NIC Policy 4-13.

Trades and Other Assessments

All programs listed below have either compulsory assessments or assessment as an alternative for program entry. Contact an Educational Advisor for additional information.

Program Assessment Assessment Preparation Information
Animal Care Aide Math Math Review – Fundamental Level A
Culinary Arts; Culinary Arts Assessment Culinary Arts Assessment Study Information
Hospital Unit Clerk Math Math Review – Fundamental Level A
Log Scaling: Log Scaling Assessment Log Scaling Assessment Study Information
Metal Fabrication: Metal Trades Assessment Metal Fabrication Assessment Study Information
Prep Cook Certificate: Prep Cook Assessment Prep Cook Assessment Study Guide