Helps for Taking ACCUPLACER

From "," maker of the ACCUPLACER exam:

You can also download the PDF of this information.

Computer Adaptive Testing

ACCUPLACER is an adaptive test. This means that the questions are chosen for you on the basis of your answers to previous questions. This technique selects just the right questions for your ability level. Because the test works this way, you must answer every question when it is first given. Each test is untimed so that you can give each question as much thought as you wish. You can change your answer to a particular question before moving on to the next question, but you cannot leave a question out or come back to it later to change your answer.

If you do not know the answer to a question, try to eliminate one or more of the choices. Then pick from the remaining choices.

Testing Time

The multiple-choice tests are untimed

Tips for Taking ACCUPLACER

1. Relax! ACCUPLACER was designed to help you succeed in college. Your score helps you and your advisor determine which courses are most appropriate for your current level of knowledge and skills. Once you identify your academic strengths and needs, you can get the help you need to improve underdeveloped skills before they can interfere with your learning.

2. You will be able to concentrate better on the test if you get plenty of rest and eat properly prior to the test. You should also arrive a few minutes early so you can find the testing area, bathrooms, etc., and gather your thoughts before the test begins.

3. Pay careful attention to directions, and be sure you understand the directions before you begin each test.

4. 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; you may change the answer on a particular question before you have moved ahead to another question.

5. If you do not know the answer to a question, try to eliminate one or more of the choices.

6. Remember to bring a picture I.D.


The placement tests may consist of:

  • Answering questions covering reading, mathematics, writing and language use skills
  • Writing an essay on a familiar topic
  • All questions are multiple choice, except the essay

Sentence Skills

There are 20 Sentence Skills questions of two types.

  • The first type is
    • sentence correction questions that require an understanding of sentence structure. These questions ask you to choose the most appropriate word or phrase to substitute for the underlined portion of the sentence.
  • The second type is construction shift
  • questions. These questions ask that a sentence be rewritten according to the criteria shown while maintaining essentially the same meaning as the original sentence.

Within these two primary categories, the questions are also classified according to the skills being tested. Some questions deal with the logic of the sentence, others with whether or not the answer is a complete sentence, and still others with the relationship between coordination and subordination.

Reading Comprehension

There are 20 questions of two primary types on the Reading Comprehension test.

  • The first type consists of a reading passage followed by a question based on the text. Both short and long passages are provided. The reading passages can also be classified according to the kind of information processing required including explicit statements related to the main idea, explicit statements related to a secondary idea, application, and inference.
  • The second type of question, sentence relationships, presents two sentences followed by a question about the relationship between these two sentences. The question may ask, for example, if the statement in the second sentence supports that in the first, if it contradicts it, or if it repeats the same information.

Arithmetic Test

This test measures your ability to perform basic arithmetic operations and to solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts. There are 17 questions on the Arithmetic tests divided into three types.

  • Operations with whole numbers and fractions: topics included in this category are addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, recognizing equivalent fractions and mixed numbers, and estimating.
  • Operations with decimals and percentages: topics include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with decimals. Percent problems, recognition of decimals, fraction and percent equivalencies, and problems involving estimation are also given.
  • Applications and problem solving: topics include rate, percent, and measurement problems, simple geometry problems, and distribution of a quantity into its fractional parts.

Elementary Algebra

A total of 12 questions are administered in this test.

  • The first type involves operations with integers and rational numbers, and includes computation with integers and positive and negative rational numbers, the use of absolute values, and ordering.
  • A second type involves operations with algebraic expressions using evaluation of simple formulas and expressions, and adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials. Questions involve multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, the evaluation of positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring.
  • The third type of question involves the solution of equations, inequalities, word problems, solving linear equations and inequalities, the solution of quadratic equations by factoring, solving verbal problems presented in an algebraic context, including geometric reasoning and graphing, and the translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions.

College Level Math Test

There are 20 questions on the College-Level Mathematics.

The College-Level Mathematics test assesses from intermediate algebra through precalculus.

  • Algebraic operations include simplifying rational algebraic expressions, factoring, expanding polynomials, and manipulating roots and exponents.
  • Solutions of equations and inequalities include the solution of linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, equation systems and other algebraic equations.
  • Coordinate geometry includes plane geometry, the coordinate plane, straight lines, conics, sets of points in the plane, and graphs of algebraic functions.
  • Applications and other algebra topics ask about complex numbers, series and sequences, determinants, permutations and combinations, fractions, and word problems.
  • The last category, functions and trigonometry, presents questions about polynomials, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic, and trigonometric functions.

Cost: Cost is free the first time you take the exam and $10 per each section you retake. You may retake it one week after the first time you have taken it. You may take it only once a semester after that.

You may take each section separately, but you will have to ask to do so. Generally, the Reading and Sentence Skills portion will be given together. You may opt to also take the Math portion at the same time, or come back and take it later.

Helpful Materials:


ACCUPLACER Exam Secrets, Study Guide: The Reserve Library (first floor of the library) has 4 copies that may be checked out from 4 hours – 48 hours. There are copies inside the Math Lab, our office (LC-405Q) that can be used inside the math/peer tutoring lab or our office. There will soon be more. It can be purchased at UVU bookstore for about $48 + tax.

The copy center: The copy center has materials for the old DRP and COMPASS writing exams that are helpful.

Study Guide:

  • Free Download: 50-page study Guide: (We think this study guide is very helpful.)

Practice Tests: