When students enroll in community college, they first must take an assessment test to determine their ability to succeed in college-level courses. If a student doesn't achieve a certain score on these assessment tests, he must take remedial courses, which are designed to give students the knowledge and skills they need to enroll in the college-level courses. Some students can bypass remedial courses if they score well on Advanced Placement exams, the SAT or the ACT.
The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education estimates that 60 percent of new college students need remedial courses, despite meeting all the other requirements for enrollment. Some students may need remedial courses because they were not adequately prepared for college study through their high-school curriculum. Older students may need remedial courses because they need a refresher on information they may have learned years ago. Some community colleges do not offer credit for these courses. Even if schools do offer credit, students may not be able to transfer the credit to a four-year university. However, the remedial courses will allow them to take the next appropriate level of coursework without having to retest.