Online GS Admissions Exam

Online GS Admissions Exam

When to Take the Exam

After submitting an application for admission, applicants will see a link to pay the online exam fee of $50. Upon receipt of payment, the Office of Admissions will process the fee and send the applicant an email with the subject of Remote Voucher Notification, which will include information about registering for an online exam at the time of the applicant’s choice. Please note that the Office of Admissions requires seven business days to process the exam payment and issue a voucher.

Disability Accommodations

Applicants seeking exam-related accommodations for the Online GSAE must register with Disability Services (DS). To register with DS, you must submit a registration form and disability documentation. To initiate the registration process and for more information about the required documentation, contact DS via or 212-854-2388 (voice/TTY).

DS reviews accommodation requests and determines an applicant's eligibility for accommodations on the exam. The review process does not begin until your completed registration form and disability documentation are received by their office. The review process takes approximately three weeks. Do note if an applicant provides DS with less than three weeks to complete the review process, the implementation of any approved accommodations cannot be guaranteed.

Exam Sections

The Online GS Admissions Exam (with sections derived from the College Board’s Next-Generation Accuplacer) is designed to test an applicant's skills in reading, critical thinking, and writing. Please note that there is no math section on this exam. 

Next-Generation Reading assesses the test taker's ability to derive meaning from a range of texts and to determine the meaning of words and phrases in short and extended contexts. Passages on the test cover a range of content areas, writing modes, and complexities. Both single and paired passages are included. Four broad knowledge and skills categories are assessed:

  • Information and Ideas
  • Rhetoric
  • SynthesisVocabulary

Next-Generation Writing evaluates a test taker's ability to revise and edit multi-paragraph text. Questions cover two broad knowledge and skills categories, each containing three subcategories:

Expression of Ideas

  • Development
  • Organization
  • Effective Language Use

Standard English Conventions

  • Sentence Structure
  • Usage
  • Punctuation

The final portion of the exam is a written essay; please note that unlike the previous sections, which do not have a time limit, the essay section is timed and limited to one hour.

Practice Questions

Practice questions for the Reading and Writing sections of the examination can be found on the Next-Generation Accuplacer website.


Please note that test-takers will not receive a score report, as the exam is for internal use only.

Test Guide

Please refer to the test guide for more information regarding the Online GS Admissions Exam.

Payment Policies for the Online GS Admissions Exam

There is a cost of $50 for applicants to take the Online GS Admissions Exam. Applicants should be aware of the following policies regarding online payment:

Refund/Cancellation Policy

No refunds will be given for cancellations.

Privacy Policy

The School of General Studies of Columbia University keeps all information in your registration and payment transactions confidential. Information will not be distributed to third-party entities.