Assessment Tests

Contact Information

Charlotte McGowan
Director of Academic Assessment and Testing Services

Testing Center Hours

Dowagiac Campus
David C. Briegel Building,
Room 1105

Summer Hours

9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Southwestern Michigan College requires all students who plan to complete a certificate or associate degree to take the college’s assessment tests.

A computer literacy assessment test is also recommended for all students who have had computer training. Those individuals who do not take and pass the computer literacy assessment test will be required to pass a basic computer literacy course before earning an SMC degree.

COMPASS Basic Skills Assessment

COMPASS®/English as a Second Language is a comprehensive, computerized adaptive testing system. Students new to SMC who are pursuing certificates and associate degree programs take the basic skills assessment tests in reading, writing, and math before registering for classes. These tests help ensure that students are placed in courses that best suit their present skill level. Basic skills assessment testing is free of charge. However, in some circumstances you may take the test a second time. At the time of the second session there is a $20 fee.

For sample test questions, go to

ACT & SAT Score Requirements

Southwestern Michigan College accepts the following standardized test scores:


Reading – 19+ (Critical Thinking & Analytical Reading not required)
English – 18+ (English 101 not required)
Math - 16+ (Math 102 required)
Math -18-20 (Math 101 required)
Math - 21-23 (Math 127, Math 128, Math 150 or Math 153 required)
Math – 24-26 (Math 129, Math 131 or Math 136 required)
Math – 27+ (Math 141 required)


Writing or S01 Verbal – 470+ (English 101 not required)
Critical Reading – 370+ (Critical Thinking & Analytical Reading not required)
Math -370+ (Math 102 required)
Math- 440+ (Math 101 required)
Math – 510+ (Math 127, Math 128, Math 150 or Math 153 required)
Math - 560+ (Math 129, Math 131 or Math 136 required)
Math – 610+ (Math 141 required)
** Test scores older than 5 years will not be accepted for Reading and English and older than 2 years for Math.

Challenge Tests

There are three Challenge Tests that allow you to test out of a basic level course in order to schedule for the next level course. There is no fee for the first test. There is a fee of $20 to take the test a second time.

Fundamentals of Chemistry     CHEM 100

Provides a basic overview of chemical principles for students with little or no background in chemistry, includes fundamentals of general chemistry, organic chemistry, and biochemistry.

  • Prerequisite: CRIT 100 or Co-requisite of CRIT 103 and Co-requisite of Math 101 or math 102 or satisfactory test score
  • 45 minutes, 44 multiple-choice questions, 21+ correct to pass
  • Calculators are allowed but not necessary
  • A periodic table is included
  • Must wait 24 hours before retesting

Pre-Calculus Trigonometry     MATH 131

Provides an introduction to trigonometry, including trigonometry of triangles and circles, trigonometric functions and inverse functions, identities, trigonometric equations, graphing, Law of Sines and Law of Cosines, polar coordinates, DeMoivre’s theorem, an introduction to vectors, and applications.

  • Prerequisite: minimum grade of C in Math 127 or satisfactory test score
  • Computerized Trigonometry test
  • Calculator available on computer
  • Must wait 24 hours before retesting

Pre-Calculus – Algebra     MATH 136

Provides a review of the fundamentals of algebra and analytic geometry, emphasizing calculus-oriented concepts, functional notation, graphing, and the applications of functions. Explores the behavior of algebraic, exponential, logarithmic, and conic sections with the aid of graphing calculators.

  • Prerequisite: satisfactory test score of Math 127 or higher
  • 90 minutes, 28 multiple-choice questions, 21+ correct to pass
  • Graphing calculator allowed
  • Must wait 24 hours before retesting

Students must have a passing score in the challenge test pre-calculus-Trigonometry (Math 131) and pre-calculus Algebra (Math 136) to take Math 141 and/or PHYS 101.

College-Level Examination Program (CLEP)

Southwestern Michigan College is a testing site for CLEP. You do not have to be a student at SMC to take a CLEP test. If you are planning to send your scores to another institution, it is important that you contact the school and ask if they accept credit for the tests, what course it is for, and what score they consider as passing. If you are planning on attending SMC, we accept CLEP credit for all 34 CLEP tests.

Study guides are available at both the Dowagiac campus and Niles Area Campus testing centers. They are also available at public libraries and bookstores. CLEP fees are $80 per test and a $20 SMC service charge for each test taken. For more information, visit the CLEP website at