Student Guide and Sample Questions
The Purpose of the Tests
The Computerized Placement Test (CPTs) were developed by the College Board, with the help of committees of college professors, to provide information about your level of skill accomplishment in reading, English, and mathematics that is required for success in college. By assessing your ability levels in these areas, the CPTs helps to determine the English, mathematics, and reading courses most appropriate for you at this time.
When you have completed all the tests, you will be given a printed report of your scores. These scores are part of your permanent college record. Keep these scores and bring them with you whenever you come for advising and registration. They are good for three years from the date of the test at this college. Other colleges may request scores from time to time, and you may request a copy of your scores by providing a signed release statement including your printed name, your student ID number, and when you last tested at the college.
The Total Right Score shows how many of the questions you could expect to answer correctly if you took a test made up of 120 questions. Any test score is an estimate, not an exact measure of your skills (see Range, below).
The Range (SEM) tells you how accurate your score is. If you took the test a second time you could expect your new score to fall somewhere within the same Range that is shown.
The Percentile Rank compares your score with the scores of typical students entering college who completed tests composed of similar questions. For example, a Percentile Rank of 70 means that your score is higher than those of 70 percent of the students who completed the test.
Special Arrangements for Students with Disabilities
If you have a disability or temporarily disabling condition that will prevent you from taking the tests under standard conditions, inform the Test Administrator before taking the test. Accommodation requests should be made directly to the Disability Support Services (DSS) office at in Building 27. The accommodations specialist with will work with the Test Administrator to ensure that your needs are met.
Textbooks, notebooks, dictionaries, calculators, or other papers of any kind (except scratch paper provided by the Test Administrator for use with the tests) are not allowed in the testing room. Further, anyone who gives or receives help during the test, or uses notes or books of any kind, will not be allowed to continue the test. Following the test period, no test materials or notes may be removed from the room.
Your test scores and the information you provide when taking the tests will be used by your college for advising and placement purposes. It may also be used by your college and The College Board or Educational Testing Service for research purposes. Your test information will not be released for any other reason without your permission. If the data is used for research purposes, special precautions will be taken to ensure that your identity is kept confidential.
About The Tests
What kinds of questions are on ACCUPLACER?
Reading Comprehension This test is designed to measure how well you understand what you read. Some are of the sentence relationship type in which you must choose how sentences are related by comparing and contrasting information in each sentence. Other questions ask you to analyze reading passages of varying lengths, often involving the author’s perspective as well as college level vocabulary. You will be presented a total of 20 questions.
Two kinds of questions are given in this test. Sentence correction questions ask you to choose a word or a phrase to substitute for an underlined portion of a sentence. Construction shift questions ask that a sentence be rewritten in one of about three ways, depending on the directions given, without changing the meaning of the original sentence. The test is checking your ability to construct a logical sentence. A broad variety of topics is included here. You will be presented a total of 20 questions.
The arithmetic test measures your skills in three primary categories. The first is operations with whole numbers and fractions. This includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and recognizing equivalent fractions and mixed numbers. The second category involves operations with decimals and percents. It includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as well as percent problems, decimal recognition, fraction and percent equivalences, and estimation problems. The last category tests applications and problem solving. Questions include rate, percent, and measurement problems, geometry problems, and distribution of a quantity into its fractional parts. You will be presented a total of 17 questions.
There are also three categories in the Elementary Algebra Test. The first category, operations with integers and rational numbers, includes computation with integers and negative rationals, the use of absolute values, and ordering. The second category is operations with algebraic expressions. It tests your skills in evaluating simple formulas and expressions, and in adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials. Both of these categories include questions about multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, evaluating positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring. The third category tests skill in solving equations, inequalities, and word problems. These questions include solving systems of linear equations, quadratic equations by factoring, verbal problems presented in algebraic context, geometric reasoning, the translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions, and graphing. You will be presented a total of 12 questions.
The College-Level Mathematics test assesses proficiency from intermediate algebra through precalculus. Six categories are covered. The first category, algebraic operations, includes simplifying rational algebraic expressions, factoring, expanding polynomials, and manipulating roots and exponents. The category, solutions of equations and inequalities, includes the solution of linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, equation systems, and other algebraic equations. Coordinate geometry asks questions about plane geometry, the coordinate plane, straight lines, conics, sets of points in the plane, and graphs of algebraic functions. Applications and other algebra topics asks about complex numbers, series and sequences, determinants, permutations and combinations, fractions, and word problems. The last category, functions and trigonometry, presents questions about polynomial, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions. You will be presented a total of 20 questions.
Answering the Questions
Because you take the CPTs on a computer, you don't have to answer as many questions as on traditional paper and pencil tests. The number of questions on the eight tests range from 12- 25. The questions will appear one at a time on the computer screen. Most questions are multiple-choice and all you will need to do is use the mouse to select the desired answer. When you have completed the question and verified your answer, a new screen will appear with your next question.
Each test is designed using adaptive techniques. This means that the computer automatically determines which questions are presented to you based on your responses to prior questions. This technique "zeroes-in" on just the right questions to ask you without being too easy or too difficult. The greater your demonstrated skill level, the more challenging will be the questions presented to you.
Each test is untimed so that you can give each question as much thought as you wish. However, once you have verified your answer, you cannot return to that question.
You should understand that this is an adaptive test. Questions are chosen for you on the basis of your answers to previous questions. Because the test works this way, you must answer every question when it is first given. You cannot omit any question or come back later to change an answer.
You may change your answer on a particular question, but you must do so before continuing on to the next question. Once you go on to the next question, the answer is accepted and you can not return to the question.
If you do not know an answer to a question, try to eliminate one or more of the choices. Then pick one of the remaining choices.
If you would like to review some of your basic skills before taking the placement test, below are three websites with practice questions and helpful information about taking the ACCUPLACER. You will need Acrobat Reader to download some of the practice pages. If you don't have Acrobat Reader, there are instructions on the site for downloading it to your computer.