How We Use Testing to Help You
Texas law requires that you complete assessments in reading, writing, and mathematics before you enroll in college. The Texas Success Initiative (TSI) mandates that any new undergraduate student entering a public institution must be assessed for readiness to enroll in college coursework.
Students registering for Palo Alto College are required to take the TSI Assessment to satisfy both TSI and placement requirements. Students must pay for the TSI prior to making an appointment. To pay for the TSI, please follow either the option of either paying by cash/money order or by credit card/debit card/check: Test fees for the TSI is $12.00 for one section, $24.00 for two sections, and $32.00 for the full test.
Paying for the TSI Exam by Cash/Money Order:
1. Obtain a Payment Receipt form (this is picked up at the Assessment Center and/or Welcome Advisement Center).
2. Pay at the Bursar's Office located in the Palomino Center. You will be issued a receipt of payment.
3. Proof of payment is required in order to test.
Paying for the TSI Exam by Credit Card/Debit Card/Check:
1. Once you have scheduled an appointment http://pacweb.alamo.edu/cals/ , you may pay online with credit/debit card or check.
2. Go to Palo Alto’s College's Virtual Business Office. https://www.alamo.edu/district/virtual-business-office/
3. Select "1" Quantity and "Add to Cart" for the PAC TSI Exam.
4. Enter your Full Name and Banner ID, and the last 4 of your Social Security Number, and select the number of parts of the test you are taking. If you are taking more than 2 parts, select "Full TSI Exam" and "Continue".
5. Choose to continue unregistered and enter your email address.
6. Enter your credit/debit card information or checking information and address.
7. A confirmation of payment will be provided. Print a copy and bring with you the day of the test. Students without proof of payment will not be allowed to test.
Your test scores are used to determine:
- What courses you are eligible to enroll in
- How much time it will take to complete your degree
- How much your college education will cost
Students who fall below the minimum placement scores in reading, writing, and mathematics will be placed in developmental education courses for each subject area in which college readiness is not demonstrated. This results in you spending more semesters in college.
Who Must Take Tests?
The following students must take basic assessment tests in reading, writing and mathematics prior to being able to register for classes:
- First-Year-Experience-in-College - any student enrolling in college for the first time.
- Transfer - if you do not have placement for one or more areas
- Military Personnel - Not required but may take for placement purposes only
- Certificate Level 1- Must take Accuplacer for diagnostic purposes only and not for course placement.
Who is Exempt from Testing?
The following students are exempt from testing if:
- Transfer Student - has met college readiness standards in all areas from a private or out-of-state College or University.
- ACT - scores must be 23 in COMP, with a minimum of 19 in both Read and Math and no more than 3 years old at the time of enrollment
- SAT - scores must be 500+ Critical Reading and 500+ Math with a total of 1070 or higher and can be no more than 3 years old at the time of enrollment
- Students with degrees or have earned a degree or from a regionally accredited institution higher from a Texas College or University.
- Military Personnel - with DD214 copy 4.
- TSI Complete Via TAKS (exit) Scores
- Students with Accuplacer scores locked in by way of marticulation.
Contact the Testing Center to see if you meet one of these exemptions.