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. Accuplacer 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 Accuplacer tests are conducted online. Most colleges provide test centers where students can go and take the Accuplacer tests. The performance of a test-taker in the Accuplacer tests also helps the college admission committees to decide if he needs to attend a developmental course before starting his college studies or he is ready for taking on college work immediately.





Skills being Tested by Accuplacer

The skills tested by Acuuplacer are related to the areas of Reading, Writing and Math. This assessment of academic skills is done by the following series of tests:

  • Sentence Structure
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Arithmetic
  • Elementary Algebra
  • College Level Math Test
  • Written Essay
The Accuplacer tests that you may have to take will depend on the requirements of the college that you wish to join. Most colleges have different policies with respect to the consideration of Accuplacer scores. Some colleges may not require Accuplacer scores if you have scored above a certain limit in SAT or ACT tests while other colleges may require you to take all the Accuplacer tests irrespective of how you have fared in SAT or ACT. Therefore, it is imperative that you get in touch with the college which you wish to join before commencing your preparation for taking the Accuplacer tests.

Why Should You Prepare for Accuplacer

Learning the Accuplacer test format is an inherent part of your Accuplacer prep plan. You will not be able to work out your prep plan if you are not aware of the test format in detail. Most students are aware that Accuplacer tests are untimed and the questions asked are multiple choice questions (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 tests as there are no specific ‘passing standards’. In spite of these facts, doing well in Accuplacer is not as easy as it seems. One cannot hope to do well in the Accuplacer tests 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 Accuplacer tests 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 with the subject being questioned or else you will choose the wrong option. This is because the multiple options presented will only confuse you further as they could be quite close to the actual answer and some of the answer options will be such that they will deliberately mislead you into choosing the wrong answer option.
  • 2. The computerized format of the Accuplacer tests is such that it will not allow you to come back to a 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 next question.
  • 3. The computer-adaptive format of the Accuplacer tests 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 depends upon whether you have been able to answer similar questions correctly or not. If you answer a question correctly, then the next question asked is of a higher difficulty level or else it is 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 Acuuplacer scores.
  • 4. Accuplacer tests for assessing your academic skills will require you to recall important formulae for solving the problems presented. One cannot hope to score high in Accuplacer tests without spending time in reviewing the important formulae and concepts of Math and Grammar.
  • 5. Despite the fact that one cannot ‘fail’ the Accuplacer tests, your Accuplacer scores will be crucial in determining how things shape up as you ready yourself for starting your college work. If you have low Accuplacer scores, you will be detailed for attending developmental classes before commencing your regular college work. For most college subjects, the college authorities would have laid down the minimum Accuplacer scores required in the related Accuplacer test. Therefore, do not make the mistake of completely relaxing in your Accuplacer prep because of the ‘cannot fail’ clause in the Accuplacer test format. You will definitely need good scores if you wish to enroll in a college program of your choice.

How to Prepare for Accuplacer

It is very important that your Accuplacer 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 Accuplacer 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 he has not reviewed them before taking a test based on these concepts. The importance of preparing for Accuplacer tests 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 of Accuplacer, 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 for working out your preparation plan. You will learn the Accuplacer test format from the official website and the college website will provide you with important information about the admission policies and the conduct of the Accuplacer tests. 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 for Accuplacer 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 help you in preparing for 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.

Study Hard!

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 Accuplacer tests so that you are able to start your college work at the earliest.




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