Pre-Assessment Activity

Pre-Assessment Activity

Preparation Guide

Taking Your Placement Test

Are you prepared?

The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) requires that incoming students, unless exempt, be assessed for college readiness in the areas of reading, mathematics, and writing. The assessment instrument used at San Jacinto College is the TSIA (Texas Success Initiative Assessment). The TSI further states that students who do not pass an area of the assessment are not allowed to enroll in college-level classes requiring skills in the unmet area until those college readiness skills are achieved. Students can meet the skills requirement by successfully completing the sequence of college preparatory courses for that area or by passing a retest of the assessment instrument. Students should meet with an educational planner/counselor to develop an individual education plan that will include the following: when/if college preparatory students must begin the sequence of required college preparatory courses, possible required retesting, study skills, and other options for developing college readiness.

The assessment and placement policies of San Jacinto College have changed beginning August 26, 2013. Placement testing is still mandatory for all new students at San Jacinto College. Unless exempt, students enrolling in the college on or after August 26, 2013, will take the TSIA. Lists of exemptions are available in the college catalog.  Preparing for the test in advance can help a student achieve a more accurate placement and using this Placement Test Preparation Guide will help in the following ways: 

  • Become ready to take the Math, Reading and Writing TSI assessment.
  • Improve the accuracy of results that will be used for placement in courses.

This means

  • A correct placement in courses that match the student’s skill level and
  • Possibly reducing the need for unnecessary coursework leading to a more direct line of attaining educational goals.

There are some initial steps that will help students before they begin the assessment process and enroll in college.

Important Things For Students to Remember

  • Remember, testing must be finished before a student can enroll in courses.
  • Understanding the information in the guide and practicing the material before testing may improve test scores and place a student in higher skill levels.
  • Complete the guide, and then take the test in the campus testing center.
  • Take testing seriously. This will affect placement in course work.
  • Attend orientation.
  • Meet with an educational planner or counselor on one of the  campuses to review scores and develop an educational plan.
  • Information and Testing Request Forms can be obtained from the Educational Planning & Counseling office or the Enrollment Services office on each campus.  Testing Centers are located on each campus in the following locations.

Testing Centers:

Central Room C3.133 Phone: 281-998-6150   x2025
North Room N6.220 Phone: 281-998-6150   x2347
South Room S6.220 Phone: 281-998-6150   x3433

Placement Test Preparation

TSI placement tests are mandatory unless a student qualifies for an exemption (see college catalog for a list of exemptions). The TSIA is very important in a student’s academic career and helps determine the individual education plan for each student.  It is important that students take the assessment seriously because proper placement will save the student time and money and may reduce the required number of courses. The State of Texas requires all entering students to be assessed with the same instrument. Placement scores are determined by the state. Also, the State of Texas requires students to prepare before testing by completing a pre-assessment activity. This document is part of that pre-assessment activity.

The TSIA is a computer delivered and untimed assessment. While the assessment is untimed, students should allow approximately four (4) hours to complete the test. Students will receive scores for mathematics, reading, and writing, as well as a diagnostic report to assist in placement. After a student completes the assessment, he or she will meet with an educational planner or counselors to review the scores. Educational planners and counselors can assist in advising for proper placement and with the development of an individual education plan.

To prepare for the assessment, review the following General Test Taking Tips; then for practice questions:

Additional mathematics and reading/writing practice can be obtained at the following websites:

General Test Taking Tips for Students


The TSI Assessment is designed to determine a student’s starting point for his or her pathway to educational goals. There is not a correct or wrong starting point. Each student is individual and the outcome of this assessment will help in designing an individual educational plan.

Start the Night Before

Students will test better if they get a good night’s sleep and eat properly prior to testing.

Be Prepared

Work through the practice available on the websites above. A student may also visit any of the tutoring centers on each campus to clarify any material.

Allow Enough Time

The test is designed to be completed in four hours. Students are able to come back later to finish, if necessary. Students should give themselves enough time to complete the tests, but do not rush. If students have practiced, time should not be an issue.


Students should turn off the cell phone, forget issues that may be distracting in the testing area, and ignore other students who will be testing at the same time. The most effective approach is to practice the concepts, focus on taking the test, and do the best once the test has begun.

Read Carefully

  • Students should be sure they read and understand the directions for each test.
  • Students should read each question, passage, and problem carefully until they understand what the question is asking. If answering an item requires several steps, students should be sure to consider all of them.
  • If a student has a problem or question during the test, he or she should ask the test proctor for help. Although proctors cannot answer specific test questions for students, they can help with other types of problems.
  • After answering a question, the assessment moves on, and students will not be able to return to that question.

Answering Questions

  • Read the question carefully. Think of an answer before looking at the possible answers.
  • Read all of the answer choices. Students should eliminate answers they know are not correct.

Practice the Test:

Link to attachment with sample test questions:

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