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Placement Testing

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What Is A Placement Test?

Placement tests help ensure that students enroll in the courses that best match their academic skills, especially during their first year of college.

LSC administers the TSI Exam (Texas Success Initiative) a state program designed to help determine if a student is ready for college-level courses. Students who meet the placement exam criteria listed below are considered "TSI Complete".

Who Needs to Take A Placement Test?

Not all incoming LSC students will need to take the TSI Exam:

  • Students enrolled in Associate of Arts (AA) degrees, Associate of Science (AS) degrees, Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degrees, or a Level II certificate programs DO need to meet the TSI Exam requirement.
  • Students enrolled in Level I certificate programs and fast-track certificates DO NOT need to meet the TSI Exam requirement.
  • A student is EXEMPT from the TSI Exam requirement if they have recently taken an approved college assessment test such as the ACT, SAT, STAAR, TAKS, or TAAS. More information on exemptions is listed below.

The TSI Exam

While the TSI Exam is not pass/fail, a minimum score is needed to register in most college-level courses. Alternatively, completion of all appropriate developmental coursework with a C or better can serve as the prerequisite for course registration.

Prior to taking the TSI Exam, incoming students must:

  1. Apply to Lone Star College before scheduling any assessments.
  2. Complete Pre-Assessment Activity.
  3. Visit the campus Advising/Counseling Office to determine what placement tests are needed. Obtain a testing ticket for needed assessments and pay the $29 (or $10 per section) fee to the campus Business Office prior to testing.
  4. Refer to the Testing Center website to find out which campuses offer walk-in testing, or to learn how to schedule a time to complete any needed assessments.

"TSI Complete" Status

Meeting any of the following criteria will allow students to be considered "TSI Complete". Students meeting TSI exemption criteria may submit evidence of eligibility for exemption to a Lone Star College campus.

  • Students who transfer to Lone Star College from a private or independent institution of higher education, or an accredited out-of-state institution of higher education, and have satisfactorily completed college-level coursework.
  • Students who have previously attended any institution and have been determined to have met readiness standards by that institution.
  • Students who have graduated with an associate or baccalaureate degree from an institution of higher education.
  • Students who are enrolled in a certificate program of one year or less (Level-One certificates, 42 or fewer semester credit hours or the equivalent at a public junior college, a public technical institute, or a public state college).
  • Students serving on active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States, the Texas National Guard, or as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States, serving for at least three years preceding enrollment.
  • Students who on, or after August 1, 1990, were honorably discharged, retired, or released from active duty as a member of the armed forces of the United States or the Texas National Guard or service as a member of a reserve component of the armed forces of the United States.

TSI Exam Exemptions

Students who have recently taken approved college assessment tests may be exempt from all, or part of, the TSI Assessment.

  • SAT, ACT, STAAR, TAKS and TSI scores are valid for 5 years, if the student has enrolled in any institution of higher education during that time period.
  • TAAS scores are valid for 3 years if the student has enrolled in any institution of higher education during that time period.

Use the listings below to determine the scores needed for TSI Exemption:

Testing Accommodations

Students with disabilities who have been approved for testing accommodations can take advantage of testing accommodations in the  Lone Star College Testing Centers.

For more information about specific accommodations at Lone Star College, visit the Disability Services website.

Other Placement Testing Options

Accuplacer Math

Accuplacer may be taken to place in higher level math courses, such as trigonometry, pre-calculus, and calculus. These options are only available for those who have completed and placed into College Algebra on the TSI Assessment or those who are exempt from TSI Math. These are computerized, non-timed exams. Students receive their scores immediately after testing.

NOTE: Prior COMPASS Math scores can still be used for placement into higher level math courses. However, this exam is no longer offered.


Accuplacer/ESL is used for placement into ESOL courses. It is a computerized, non-timed placement test. It consists of three multiple choice sections: Listening, Reading, and Language Usage. Students receive their placement scores immediately after testing.



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