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In the U.S., incoming freshmen usually take one or more placement tests on various subjects to determine which class should be taken in the fall. Placement exams are also administered to fifth graders entering middle school. Exams are usually taken in the winter or the spring in the school the students are currently studying in. Test results are usually mailed to the student's home or are sent to the sender school.

Subjects that are given to students include, but not limited to and not necessarily, mathematics, English (including literature, language, and foreign language). Placement in schools may also depend on the grade of the student in previous educational experience. In some cases, grades from placement exams from other classes, such as math and English, may affect placement in some subjects, such as science.

Students may enter college preparation, accelerated, or honors classes. They may also volunteer to enter Advanced Placement classes.

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