ACCUPLACER Test Preparation
ACCUPLACER tests are a series of computer based placement tests designed to assist college authorities in assessing the test-taker’s academic skills. These tests are known as placement tests because they provide the necessary input to college authorities for placing a candidate in an appropriate course that corresponds to his level of academic skills in Reading, Writing and Math. The performance of a test-taker also helps the college admission committees to decide if he needs to attend a developmental course before starting his college or he is ready for taking on the college program immediately.
Why Should You Prepare for ACCUPLACER
Learning the test format is an inherent part of your ACCUPLACER preparation plan. You will not be able to study for the test effectively if you are not aware of the test format in detail. Most students are aware that this examination is untimed and the questions asked are multiple choice items (except for the Written Essay test) in which they have to choose the correct answer from the given options. Additionally, one cannot ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ the ACCUPLACER as there are no specific ‘passing standards’. In spite of these facts, doing well in this exam is not as easy as it seems. One cannot hope to do well in the it by simply walking into the test center and answering the questions as they appear on the computer screen. The following reasons make it apparent that taking the test without adequate preparation can have drastic repercussions:
- 1. Even though the correct answer is right in front of you and you have to just identify it, you will need to be proficient in the subject that is being tested or else you will choose the wrong option. This is because the multiple options presented will only confuse you further as the answer choices can be quite similar to the actual answer and some of them may deliberately mislead you into choosing the wrong answer option.
- 2. The computerized format of the ACCUPLACER is such that it will not allow you to return to a particular question to amend the answer once you have already moved on to the next question. Therefore, you will need to concentrate and think hard before choosing the answer because there is no turning back after you have moved on to the subsequent question.
- 3. The computer-adaptive format of the examination is designed in such a way that the questions asked will be adjusted according to the answering ability of the test-taker. In other words, the difficulty level of the questions asked will depend on whether you were able to answer questions correctly or not. If you answer a question correctly, then the next question asked will be of a higher difficulty level or else it will be an easier question. At the end of a test, the average difficulty level of the questions that you have answered correctly gives an exact measurement of your skill level in the subject area being assessed. The catch here is that questions of a higher difficulty level carry more weightage as compared to the easier questions. Therefore, if you answer questions incorrectly, you will keep getting easy questions and this will affect your ACCUPLACER scores negatively.
- 4. The exam will require you to recall important formulae for solving the problems presented. One cannot hope to score high in the section without spending time in reviewing the important formulae and concepts of Math and Grammar.
- 5. Despite the fact that one cannot ‘fail’ the test, your scores will be crucial in determining how things shape up as you prepare yourself for the college. If you have low scores, you may be required to attend developmental classes before commencing your regular college course. For most college programs, the college authorities would have laid down the minimum scores required. Therefore, do not make the mistake of not bothering with your ACCUPLACER preparation because of the ‘cannot fail’ clause. You will definitely need good scores if you wish to enroll in a college program of your choice.
How to Prepare for ACCUPLACER
Your scores are an exact representation of your skill levels. Inadequate preparation and avoidable mistakes while taking the tests may lead to low ACCUPLACER scores and this will affect your skill levels as presented to the college authorities. Therefore, it is evident that one does need to prepare for the tests diligently in order to score well and to demonstrate a high level of academic skills. The basic concepts of grammar, trigonometry, geometry, algebra and arithmetic are such that one tends to forget them very easily, if you has not reviewed them before taking a test based on these concepts. The importance of preparing for the ACCUPLACER increases manifold if you have been out of touch with your studies for more than a year.
You will need study materials for preparing for the ACCUPLACER tests. Your study materials should include either all or at least some of the study materials listed below:
- Important web links: You need to have the addresses of important websites that will assist you in your preparation. Two such most important web links are the official website, www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ACCUPLACER and the website of the college which you wish to join. Make the best use of the information available at these websites and incorporate the same in your study plan. You will learn the test format of the ACCUPLACER from the official website and the college website will provide you with important information about the admission policies. You can even go to your desired colleges to get the same information from their campuses.
- Study Books: Some students find it useful to study from SAT study books as they contain an extensive review of the content being tested by ACCUPLACER. These books are easily available in local bookstores and you can also place an order for them on the internet. You will find your high school books to be equally useful for reviewing the basic concepts of Math and Grammar.
- Flashcards: These hand held cards are a time tested method for memorizing formulae and concepts. Ensure that you have a set of flashcards for reviewing important formulae, concepts, facts and figures. Go over the cards whenever you have some free time at hand. This could be when you are travelling or just before taking the test.
- Prep Assistance: You can take the assistance of a prep course or you can get in touch with students who have already attained high ACCUPLACER scores to offer you useful information that will help your preparation for the ACCUPLACER . This way you would get first hand information on how to prepare for the test and you will also be acquainted with tips and techniques for doing well in ACCUPLACER.
Success always comes at a price! You cannot expect to succeed in a test without having to toil for it. You will be making a mistake if you underestimate the effort that is needed to be put in for doing well in the ACCUPLACER tests. Remember that low scores will make you spend more time in developmental classes which will not earn you any credits. Therefore, you need to prepare well for excelling in the tests so that you are able to start your college work at the earliest.