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Assessment Services

Assessment Services is committed to promoting access to education. The following services are available year-round at most NIC campuses/centres:

Placement Assessment

On campus placement assessment fee, NIC applicant (including retests): $15

Off campus placement assessment fee, NIC applicant: $20

Non-applicant placement assessment fee (only available on campus): $40

What is placement assessment?
Many of NIC's courses and programs accept the English and Math assessments administered through Assessment services as a way for students to show that they have the sufficient academic skills for admission. Each program/course has a specific reading, writing, and math assessment that can be taken.

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 their…

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

Please Note:

  • If you have a medical condition or a disability that requires accommodation to write your assessment, please let us know when you first make contact with the college.
  • If English is not your first language or if you have studied ESL, or transitional English, please let us know when you first make contact with the college.

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Math Assessment: 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 should not try to "cram" for the Math Assessment as it is designed to determine a student's current understanding of mathematics.
  • Students start with adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing whole numbers, fractions, decimals, ratio and proportion, percentage problems, reading graphs and metric questions. These are completed without using a calculator.
  • 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.

Math Assessment: Online: ACCUPLACER


  • The ACCUPLACER system is an online assessment tool that North Island College added in 2011. Many students will use the ACCUPLACER system for the assessment of their mathematics skills. North Island College will regularly be using two of the ACCUPLACER assessments; Arithmetic and Elementary Algebra. Occasionally, the College Math Assessment will be used.
  • 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.
  • Students receive immediate feedback of testing results as ACCUPLACER prints a results sheet which provides a placement, based on NIC courses. Students can proceed directly to registration after testing.
  • For more information book an appointment with an NIC advisor.

What do I need to know before trying an online assessment?

The ACCUPLACER online assessment is best suited for students who are comfortable working on a computer. The assessment is multiple choice and all answers can be figured out using paper and pencil, which are supplied. If, however, a student is not comfortable doing an assessment on a computer there are paper and pencil versions available.

To get ready for either Math Assessment we have made the following chapters of the 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 elementary algebra. For review material that prepares students specifically for the ACCUPLACER math assessments see the links below:

  • For ACCUPLACER Sample Questions: prepared by ACCUPLACER, see pages 8 - 12 for Math Placement Testing and up to page 14 if challenging Math 060. Answers are available on pages 24 and 25 pdf

Information on the ACCUPLACER Arithmetic Assessment

The arithmetic assessment asks 17 questions 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.

Information on the ACCUPLACER Elementary Algebra Assessment

The Elementary Algebra Assessment asks approximately 12 questions, divided into three types:

  1. The first type involves operations with integers and rational numbers, and includes computation with integers and negative rational numbers, the use of absolute values, and ordering.
  2. A second type, which involves operations with algebraic expressions, tests minimal skill levels using evaluation of simple formulas and expressions, and adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials. At all skill levels, questions are provided involving multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, the evaluation of positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring.
  3. The third type of question involves the solution of equations, inequalities, and word problems. Questions from this category may include solving linear equations and inequalities, the solution of quadratic equations by factoring, solving verbal problems presented in an algebraic context, including geometric reasoning and graphing, and the translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions.

Have More Questions?

If you have questions please either contact an NIC advisor or the Coordinator of Assessment Services at 250-334-5065.

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English Placement Assessment

North Island College now offers English Placement Assessment in both online and paper and pencil formats.

North Island College has introduced Accuplacer Online English Assessments. Students will complete three assessments; an assessment of knowledge of grammar (Sentence Skills), an assessment of reading comprehension, and a writing sample, that can by typed onto the computer. In order to prepare for this assessment please refer to the online Study Guide Sample Questions leave site prepared by ACCUPLACER. Refer to pages 1-6 in the Study Guide. Accuplacer also offers this same info as a free app. To register for the app go to leave site.

Paper and Pencil English Assessments will continue to be available in some instances. Speak to an NIC Advisor for more information. Below is a resource to use to prepare for an English Assessment.

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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
Elec. Foundation Mechanical Reasoning Mechanical and Spatial Reasoning Information Sheet
Hospital Unit Clerk Math Math Review - Fundamental Level A
Log Scaling: Log Scaling Assessment Log Scaling Assessment Study Information
Metal Fabrication: Metal Trades Assessment (all) Metal Fabrication Assessment Study Information
Prep Cook Certificate: Prep Cook Assessment Prep Cook Assessment Study Guide
Plumbing: Plumbing Skills Assessment Plumbing Assessment Study Information
Welding: Math and English Assessments Welding Assessment Study Information

How to Book an Assessment

Placement Assessments can be completed at any NIC campus/centre or testing can be completed off campus. Testing usually takes place twice a week, once in the daytime and once in the evening. We suggest you do the testing over two sessions if you need to write both the English and the Math Assessments. Please contact the NIC location closest to you for more information.

To book a placement assessment at your local NIC campus/centre:

  • Apply to NIC
  • For information of application and assessment fees - check out Assessment Service Fees pdf
  • Attend a placement assessment information session with an advisor. You will be told how to prepare for the assessment session and your appointment will be booked.

To book your placement assessment(s) off campus:

  • Apply to NIC
  • For information of application and assessment fees - check out Assessment Service Fees pdf
  • Complete the Application for Off-Campus Assessment pdf form
  • Contact your local community college Assessment Department or a local high school to find an invigilator
  • Have the invigilator fill out the assessment supervisor section
  • Return the Application for Off-Campus Assessment pdfform to NIC
  • Include the Off-Campus Assessment fee - $20 - with the completed form
  • NIC will send the assessment information to your invigilator and you and the invigilator will arrange a suitable time
  • The invigilator may charge for this service
  • The invigilator will return the assessment(s) to NIC and you will be contacted to discuss your testing results

What happens after my placement assessment is complete?

Once assessment is complete, the student will be given the choice to book an appointment to meet in person or to have a phone appointment with the assessment faculty. The assessment faculty will explain the result and explain next steps. Students are strongly encouraged to meet in person with faculty.

Assessment faculty will give the student a written summary of the results. The results are entered into the NIC data system so that the results are shared with Admissions and Registration.

Once students have their results they are strongly encouraged to meet with an advisor to plan next steps.

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Recognition for Prior Learning

What is Prior Learning Assessment?

Prior Learning Assessment and Recognition (PLAR) is a process that allows students to get credit for learning. Through this assessment process students match NIC courses or program outcomes to learning that has been acquired elsewhere- courses, workshops, employment, volunteering, etc.

North Island College uses several formal assessment options to help students to gain recognition for their learning. The assessment method is set by each department. It is important to note that all assessment options require the student to submit evidence. The evidence of the student's knowledge, skills and abilities will be assessed for possible academic credit.

For more information on PLAR policy, see NIC policy 4-10.

Before PLAR

Before proceeding with PLAR a student will want to consider investigating whether or not Transfer Credit is a possibility. After Transfer Credit has been thoroughly explored and if a student still feels they have additional learning that may be eligible for credit then the PLAR process can be looked into.

Transfer Credit

Students who have completed course work that is equivalent to NIC course objectives can apply to have the credit recognized at NIC. To apply for transfer credit the student will need to provide an official transcript, and complete the Application for Transfer Credit form pdf. Sometimes the student will be asked to provide a detailed course outline in order to determine if the course objectives match.

There is no fee for Transfer Credit unless the courses were taken outside of BC. For an out of province Transfer Credit Evaluation there is a $20 fee.

The PLAR Process

PLAR is available for many NIC courses. When a student is considering PLAR the first step is to meet with an educational advisor and gather information on the availability of PLAR, the timeline and the fees. Each course that is available for PLAR already has an established PLAR process. It is important that students acquire information on the Learning Outcomes of NIC courses so that a comparison can be made between their own learning and the learning that a student completing the course is expected to demonstrate. This will help in the decision whether to move forward or not with PLAR. At this time, PLAR at North Island College is evaluated in one of two ways; Portfolio/Flexible Assessment or Challenge Exam, often combined with personal interviews.

Portfolio/Flexible Assessment

The Portfolio Assessment process usually involves a combination of documentation, skill demonstrations, assignments and, sometimes, tests. The program PLAR advisor/Department Chair will provide written authorization to proceed by signing the Application for Prior Learning Credit form pdf.

Challenge Exam(s)

Challenge exams recognize a student's prior learning through a formal examination. Students write one or more examination to prove their knowledge in an academic subject. The course Faculty will provide written authorization to proceed by signing the Application for Prior Learning Credit form pdf.

How long will it take?

The time to complete the PLAR process will vary according to the assessment measure used. Applicants for PLAR credit have one regular college semester to complete the process.

What will it cost?

The cost for the PLAR process is determined by the number of credits being requested. Fees are calculated at 75% of the tuition for each course. If any additional costs are required they will be explained by the PLA Coordinator or the Department contact.

PLA fees are due prior to an assessment occurring.

This fee is payable in person at any NIC registration office along with the SIGNED Application for Prior Learning Credit form pdf.

Take note!

  • Applicants for PLAR must have applied and been accepted to North Island College before applying for PLAR credit.
  • Once a student has decided to move forward with PLAR they will be matched with a faculty contact. The faculty member will discuss the PLAR evaluation methodology.
  • The faculty member must sign the Application for Credit for Prior Learning form in order for the student to be able to pay the PLAR fees.
  • Once PLAR fees have been paid faculty will retain the Application for Credit for Prior Learning as that is where final marks are recorded.
  • For more information on the PLAR process please contact either an educational advisor or the PLAR Coordinator, Marie Ducharme at 250-334-5065.

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Exam Invigilation/Proctor Services

Exam Invigilation fee: $35

Exam invigilation or proctor services are available to any individual requiring a supervised testing facility at all NIC campuses/centres. Invigilation services can accommodate individual or group requests for either online testing or pencil and paper test administration.

NIC Exams

Students wishing to write a NIC mid-term or final exam should contact the local campus Assessment Office to confirm space and time availability.

All Campus Open Exam Schedule 2018 pdf Document

NIC Students: Distance Exam Information

Please Note: In order for NIC students to complete an exam off campus, that they must complete the Off-Campus Exam Applicationpdf and submit it to Assessment Services in a timely fashion.

Pearson VUE Testing

North Island College is the only Pearson VUE test site on Vancouver Island offering a full range of Pearson Vue exams. The company is a global leader in computer-based testing and offers North Island businesses and organizations a wide range of IT certification, including Microsoft, CompTIA, Cisco Sytems, and IBM.

For a full list of available exams, see the Pearson Vue Exam List pdf icon.

Candidates interested in taking an exam at NIC's Comox Valley campus should schedule their exam through the Pearson VUE test takers webpage leave site.

For more information, or to contact an NIC representative, please call or call 250-334-5065.

Other Institution’s Exams

Students wishing to write another institution’s entrance exam, mid-term, final exam should contact the local campus Assessment Office to confirm space, time availability and Assessment Service Fees pdf.

Please Note: Students must contact the Institution that is supplying the exam and provide them with NIC Invigilation Services mailing address and contact information.

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How to Book an External or Hospital Unit Clerk Keyboarding Test

Keyboarding Assessment Fee (NIC Applicant): $15

Keyboarding Assessment Fee (External): $35 + tax

Typing/keyboarding assessments are administered through Assessment Services for all campuses except Mount Waddington. Mount Waddington keyboarding tests should be booked through the ABT instructor (contact information appears below). Please pay your keyboarding assessment fee at the Registration Office before your test date and bring the receipt together with a piece of picture ID to the test.


  1. Contact the nearest NIC Campus to book your typing test. For all campuses, except Mount Waddington tests can be booked by speaking to a Registration Assistant or an Assessment Clerk
  2. Bring picture ID and your assessment fee receipt to the testing. You may pay the assessment fee and do the testing on the same day.
  3. At the end of the testing, you will be given a letter with your average keyboarding speed.

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. According NIC Policy 4-13 pdf test results are valid for two years.

Registration Office Hours

Please see the Hours of Operation for the Registration Office your nearest campus.

For More Information:

Campus Contacts:

Campbell River Campus, Room A261
Irene Pullar, Assessment Clerk
T. 250-923-9715
Comox Valley Campus, Dis 222
Shelley McMillan, Assessment Assistant
T. 250-334-5014

Port Alberni Campus, Room N115
Mona Fournier, Assessment Clerk
T. 250-724-8741
Mount Waddington Campus
Naida Brotchie, Assessment Clerk
T. 250-949-7912 ext. 2811

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Assessment Services Directory

Marie Ducharme, Coordinator of Assessment Services

Comox Valley Campus

Campbell River Campus

Port Alberni Campus

Mount Waddington Regional Campus
250-949-7912 ext 2811

Hours of

Campbell River Campus
8:30 am-4:30 pm
Wednesday, 2-9 pm
Alternate Mondays,
9 am–1 pm

Comox Valley Campus
Monday & Tuesday, 8:30 am-4:30 pm
Wednesdays, 5:30–9 pm

Port Alberni Campus
Tuesday & Wednesday
8:30 am-4:30 pm
Except first Wednesday of the month, 12:30–8 pm

Mount Waddington Regional Campus
Weeks 1,2 and 4:
Monday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Tuesday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
Wednesday, 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
Week 3:
Wednesday, 4:45pm - 8:15pm