The ACCUPLACER placement tests are designed to assist with the accurate placement of students into classes that appropriately match their skill level. The test content is reflective of relevant texts and tasks that would be encountered within a first-year college course. The ACCUPLACER is divided into the following subtests:

  1. Arithmetic
  2. Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, And Statistics (QAS)
  3. Advanced Algebra and Functions
  4. Reading
  5. Writing


Computer Adaptive Testing

Each ACCUPLACER test is computer adaptive. Unlike traditional tests, computer-adaptive testing is designed to select from a pool of questions and deliver them to test takers based on their proficiency and skill level. The questions presented each meet the specifications of the test and are intended to represent a wide range of difficulty to tailor the test to the individual test taker’s skill level based on their responses and yield the most information about them.

The difficulty is determined based on your response to each question you are given, and since the test is untimed you may take as long as you need to carefully consider your response before submitting. The number of questions on your test will vary, with as few as 12 or as many as 40 questions, and no two tests will be the same. The questions and the sequence in which they are presented will vary between students. The adaptive nature of the tests may reduce the effects of repeated practice but investing time into study resources for ACCUPLACER test prep such as ACCUPLACER study guides and practice tests can help prepare you for what to expect. It is important to keep in mind that no one passes or fails ACCUPLACER tests, instead they are designed to give you the opportunity to demonstrate your individual measure of academic skills.

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What to Expect on Test Day

The ACCUPLACER test is an untimed, multiple-choice computer-adaptive test, which allows you to work at a pace and level that are both comfortable for you and your capabilities. The exception, depending on your school’s policies, may be the WritePlacer test. Before you begin the test, you will be asked to provide a test administrator with your legal photo ID for safety and security purposes. Your college may ask you to bring special materials as well, so contact your test center for further details as part of your ACCUPLACER test prep. You will also need to contact the test center in advance if you will require any disability accommodations.

If Your School is in Another State

There may be remote testing options for the ACCUPLACER test, depending on your institution, if it is located in another state. You will first need to contact your institution’s test center to receive their permission, then a second, local institution to take the test with their supervision and guidance.

How to Make an Appointment

If you would like to schedule an appointment to take the ACCUPLACER test, you will need to contact or visit your college advising and counseling office. In the event your institution is in another state, they will be able to advise you further on options and alternatives.

ACCUPLACER Reading Subtest

On the ACCUPLACER reading subtest you will be presented with a series of 20 questions based on texts and passages designed to assess your ability to distinguish between direct statements and supporting ideas, identify main ideas, make inferences and understand what you read. The passages are either single or paired, and cover a range of complexities, content areas and writing modes.

Broad knowledge and skill categories on the ACCUPLACER reading subtest include:

  • Information and Ideas (7-11 questions)
    • Determining central ideas and themes
    • Reading closely
    • Summarizing
    • Understanding relationships
  • Rhetoric (7-11 questions)
    • Analyzing arguments
    • Analyzing point of view
    • Analyzing purpose
    • Analyzing text structure
    • Analyzing word choice rhetorically
  • Synthesis (2 questions)
    • Analyzing multiple texts
  • Vocabulary (2-4 questions)

Reading Passages

The reading passages presented on the ACCUPLACER reading test are single or paired passages from commissioned or authentic published texts of either the literary or informational genre. They will vary in length, falling between 75 and 400 words per passage, and complexity, ranging from early high school to first-year postsecondary levels. Each passage will represent one of the following three different content areas:

  1. Careers / History / Social Studies
  2. Informative / Explanatory
  3. Science

They will also represent one of the following three writing modes, or text types:

  1. Argument
  2. Informative / Explanatory
  3. Narrative

Online ACCUPLACER Test Prep Course

If you want to be fully prepared, Mometrix offers an online ACCUPLACER Test Prep Course. The course is designed to provide you with any and every resource you might want while studying. The ACCUPLACER Course includes:

  • 55 Review Lessons Covering all the Topics
  • 650+ ACCUPLACER Practice Questions
  • Over 170 Video Tutorials
  • More than 200 Electronic Flashcards
  • Money-back Guarantee
  • Free Mobile Access
  • and More!

The ACCUPLACER Prep Course is designed to help any learner get everything they need to prepare for their ACCUPLACER exam; click below to check it out.

ACCUPLACER Writing Subtest

The ACCUPLACER writing subtest will evaluate your ability to revise and edit multi-paragraph text with a series of 25 questions divided into two broad knowledge and skills categories and their respective subcategories:

Expression of Ideas (14-16 questions)

  • Development
    • Focus
    • Proposition
    • Support
  • Effective Language Use
    • Concision
    • Precision
    • Style and tone
    • Syntax
  • Organization
    • Introductions, conclusions and transitions
    • Logical sequence

Standard English Conventions (9-11 questions)

  • Conventions of Punctuation
    • End-of-sentence punctuation
    • Hyphenation conventions
    • Items in a series
    • Nonrestrictive and parenthetical elements
    • Possessive nouns and pronouns
    • Unnecessary punctuation
    • Within-sentence punctuation
  • Conventions of Usage
    • Conventional expression
    • Frequently confused words
    • Logical comparison
    • Noun agreement
    • Possessive determiners
    • Pronoun-antecedent agreement
    • Pronoun clarity
    • Subject-verb agreement
  • Sentence Structure
    • Inappropriate shifts in pronoun person and number
    • Inappropriate shifts in verb tense
    • Inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood
    • Modifier placement
    • Parallel structure
    • Sentence boundaries
    • Subordination and coordination

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Writing Passages

All writing passages are 300 to 350-word commissioned texts of the literary or informational genres. They reflect a range of complexities from early high school to first-year postsecondary. Each passage represented one of the following three content areas:

  1. Careers / History / Social Studies
  2. Humanities
  3. Science

They also represent one of the following three text types, or writing modes:

  1. Argument
  2. Informative / Explanatory
  3. Narrative

ACCUPLACER Arithmetic Subtest

On the ACCUPLACER Arithmetic subtest you will be presented with a series of 20 questions intended to assess your comprehension of fundamental arithmetic concepts through the following knowledge and skills categories:

  • Decimal Operations (3-5 questions)
  • Fraction Operations (3-5 questions)
  • Number Comparisons and Equivalents (3-5 questions)
  • Percent (3-5 questions)
  • Whole Number Operations (3-5 questions)

The Arithmetic subtest includes: computation (e.g. addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), comparing and ordering values in different formats, estimation and rounding, order of operations and recognizing equivalent values across formats (e.g. decimals, fractions, mixed numbers, percentages).

ACCUPLACER Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra and Statistics (QAS) Subtest

There are a total of 20 questions on the ACCUPLACER quantitative reasoning, algebra and statistics (QAS) subtest that assess your mastery of the following knowledge and skills:

  • Algebraic Expressions (2-3 questions)
  • Descriptive Statistics (1-3 questions)
  • Exponents (2-3 questions)
  • Geometry Concepts for Algebra I (1-2 questions)
  • Geometry Concepts for Pre-Algebra (1-2 questions)
  • Linear Applications and Graphs (2-4 questions)
  • Linear Equations (2-4 questions)
  • Probability and Sets (1-3 questions)
  • Ratio and Proportional Relationships (3-4 questions)
  • Rational numbers (1-3 questions)

ACCUPLACER Advanced Algebra and Functions (AAF) Subtest

As you take the ACCUPLACER advanced algebra and functions (AAF) subtest, you will be asked to respond to 20 questions representative of the following knowledge and skills:

  • Exponential and Logarithmic Equations (1-3 questions)
  • Factoring (1-2 questions)
  • Functions (2-4 questions)
  • Geometry Concepts for Algebra I (1-2 questions)
  • Geometry Concepts for Algebra II (1-2 questions)
  • Linear Applications and Graphs (2-3 questions)
  • Linear Equations (2-3 questions)
  • Polynomial Equations (1-3 questions)
  • Quadratics (2-3 questions)
  • Radical and Rational Equations (1-3 questions)
  • Trigonometry (1-3 questions)

Preparing for the ACCUPLACER Placement Tests

As you prepare to take any of the ACCUPLACER subtests, it is important to remember there are no passing or failing scores. Instead, you will receive a score reflective of your personal skill and knowledge level in order to accurately place you into classes appropriate for your level. As you prepare to take the placement test(s) to do the best of your abilities, take advantage of free resources available to you. Mometrix’s ACCUPLACER test prep library includes ACCUPLACER practice tests and ACCUPLACER study guides for you to review critical concepts prior to test day.

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by Mometrix Test Preparation | This Page Last Updated: October 3, 2022