Ability to Benefit from Financial Aid

Only students who were enrolled in an eligible degree program at CCD prior to July 1, 2012, are eligible to take these exams. The Ability to Benefit tests (Accuplacer ATB and the Combined English Language Skills Assessment - CELSA) are used to determine eligibility for financial aid.  Other students seeking eligibility for financial aid must take the GED or HiSET for high school equivalency. 

  • Accuplacer ATB is designed for native English speakers.
  • CELSA is designed for non-native English speakers.

Format of the ATB

Accuplacer ATB is a computer-based test consisting of three (3) sections: reading, English, and math.

  • 20 questions in reading comprehension
  • 20 questions in sentence skills
  • 17 questions in arithmetic

CELSA is a paper/pencil test that consists of 75 multiple-choice questions.


  • Accuplacer ATB has no time limit. The average time to complete is about 30-45 minutes per section or about 2 ½ hours for the full assessment.
  • CELSA is a 45-minute timed test.

How to Schedule

Candidates must first visit the financial aid office to determine whether they are eligible to take the Accuplacer ATB exam or the CELSA exam. Proof of eligibility must be presented upon check-in for your appointment. Please schedule your appointment at least 24 hours in advance (please note: this link will take you to an external scheduling website).

ID Requirement

A valid government-issued photo ID is required. Upon request, an additional form of identification must be shown. 


There is a $10 fee for the Accuplacer ATB or CELSA exam, payable during check-in at the Testing Center. 


Accuplacer ATB

  • Results are available immediately upon completion of the exam
  • Passing Accuplacer ATB scores consist of a 34 in arithmetic, 55 in reading comprehension, and 60 in sentence skills.


  • Students will receive their scores in the mail within 7-10 business days of completion of the exam.
  • A passing CELSA score is 97.

Retest Information

One retake is permitted within a three-month period and must be taken at least two weeks after the first attempt. Retesting carries a $10 fee.