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Application assessment

For programs that start in fall, assessment begins the previous November and continues until a program fills.

After applications and transcripts are reviewed, some applicants require additional assessment.

Who needs additional assessment?

You need to complete supplementary testing if you:

  • Lack proof of secondary education
  • Have been homeschooled (i.e., you’ve not graduated from an accredited high school)
  • Had an individual program plan (IPP) in grade 12 English and/or your highest level math course
  • Are a mature applicant
    • If you’ve not completed a high school diploma or equivalent, have been out of high school for at least one year, and are at least 19 years old (age requirements may vary; check program requirements), you must undergo additional assessment.
    • You must also provide an official high school transcript, as well as any subsequent post-secondary transcripts, at the time of application.

High school equivalency and upgrading

High school equivalency - If you don’t have a high school diploma, you can enrol in our Adult Learning Program (ALP) or complete the Canadian Adult Education Credential (CAEC). For information about the CAEC, contact the Nova Scotia Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration

Academic upgrading - Specific program pre-requisites – such as the need for academic English, math, chemistry, biology, and physics – can’t be waived. If you need to upgrade those subjects, our Academic and Career Connections program and our Adult Learning Program - Academic Upgrading program offer pre-requisite courses throughout the year; many can be completed online. 

Assessment test (TOWES)

If you require additional assessment, you’ll be given the option to schedule a Test of Workplace Essential Skills (TOWES), which assesses the skills necessary to be successful in college and in the workplace. The TOWES measures your ability to read text, use forms and documents and solve problems using numbers. Test length: 3:15 hours.

Measuring Literacy and Essential Skills - Preparing for TOWES Sample Questions

Testing accommodations

If you have a diagnosed physical, mental health, chronic health or learning challenge, you can request accommodations for your TOWES assessment. You can ask for:

  • Extra time to complete the test
  • A computer to read the test questions to you
  • A test supervisor to write out your spoken answers on your behalf

Please send your accommodation request and documentation to . Requests must be received two weeks before your test day.

We’ll let you know, in advance, which accommodation(s) you’re eligible for. When you arrive on test day, the test administrator will review your accommodation(s) with you.

Rewrite policy

Ask for details before you write your first test; rewrites are only permitted under certain circumstances. If you are granted a rewrite, that will be your new application date.