3 Keys to ACCUPLACER Test Success

Welcome to the Mometrix Academy ACCUPLACER page. Are you getting ready to take the ACCUPLACER, and you want to find some resources to help you do your very best on it? Or possibly you’ve just been informed by your college or university that you’ll need to take the ACCUPLACER, and you’ve never heard of this test before, and you’re looking for more information? Whichever of these situations you find yourself in, this is the page you need. If you’re new to the subject, keep reading; we’ll give you all the important ACCUPLACER facts and figures you need to get up to speed. If you’re looking for help reviewing for the ACCUPLACER exam, follow the links below, and you’ll find a lot of free ACCUPLACER practice test questions, along with excellent teaching videos to help you prepare.

ACCUPLACER Test Prep Course

Free ACCUPLACER Practice Test


Mometrix Academy is a completely free resource provided by Mometrix Test Preparation. If you find benefit from our efforts here, check out our premium quality ACCUPLACER study guide to take your studying to the next level. Just click the ACCUPLACER study guide link below. Your purchase also helps us make even more great, free content for test-takers.

What is the ACCUPLACER?

You’re probably wondering: What exactly is the ACCUPLACER, and why does my college want me to take it? These are great questions. They’re also very common ones, because the ACCUPLACER isn’t nearly as well-known as other standardized tests such as the ACT and the SAT. ACCUPLACER has many traits in common with these more famous exams, but there are many differences, too. For one thing, unlike the ACT or SAT, it’s not an admissions test which you take as part of the application process. In other words, your ACCUPLACER results will not be a factor in whether or not you are granted admission to a college or university. Another difference is that the ACCUPLACER is actually a group of several different tests, and your college probably won’t require you to take all of them. On most standardized tests, there are several different sections, and test takers are required to take all of them, not just some.

The ACCUPLACER isn’t an admissions test; it’s a diagnostic tool for students who have already been admitted. Colleges and universities need a tool like this because the academic abilities and backgrounds of their new students can vary wildly. Some high schools are very lax when it comes to grading, and getting good grades at one of these schools is easy, and therefore isn’t much of an indicator of academic accomplishment or potential. Other high schools are quite a bit stricter, and an A from one of these schools is harder to come by. Still other high schools are extremely rigorous, and getting good grades at these schools is very difficult. Students from all of these different kinds of high schools will be showing up for college at the start of the school year, and not all of them will be ready for all freshman level classes, while others won’t need the standard freshman level classes.

Accuplacer Study Guide
Of course, standardized admissions tests help to demonstrate which students have actually acquired a lot of knowledge, but they aren’t very precise. Another factor is that not only does the academic difficulty of high school vary from one school to another, it also changes from class to class within the same school. Even at high schools with reputations for academic toughness, some classes and teachers will be easier than others, and the opposite will be true at some of the less challenging high schools – some classes and teachers will be much tougher on students than others. You can see how this would make it hard for colleges to know exactly which students were ready for which classes. The ACCUPLACER helps schools have a better idea of exactly where a student stands when it comes to proficiency in math and English.

What’s on the ACCUPLACER?

There are actually ten different ACCUPLACER tests. There are four English as a Second Language ACCUPLACER tests for people whose first language isn’t English: ESL- Language Use, ESL- Listening, ESL – Reading Skills, and ESL – Sentence Meaning. The other six exams are the standard ones that most people will be required to take – Arithmetic, College Level Math, Elementary Algebra, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Skills; and WritePlacer, which involves writing an essay. Except for WritePlacer, all of the tests are multiple-choice. Let’s look at each one separately:

ACCUPLACER Arithmetic:

This test contains 17 questions testing your grasp of basic mathematics in three areas – whole numbers and fractions, percents and decimals, and applications and problem solving. Questions can cover adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing whole numbers, fractions, and decimals; how to convert between whole numbers, fractions, and decimals; estimating; mixed numbers; basic geometry; measurements; rate; and percentages.

ACCUPLACER College Level Math:

This test contains 20 multiple-choice questions in five areas – algebraic operations; solving equations and inequalities; coordinate geometry; applications and other topics in algebra; and functions and trigonometry. Question topics can include working with exponents and roots, factoring, simplifying algebraic expression, expanding polynomials, algebraic equations, solving quadratic and linear equations and inequalities, planes, points on a plane, plane geometry, graphs of algebraic functions, complex numbers, determinants, permutations, combinations, fractions, word problems, series and sequences, polynomials, exponential functions, algebraic functions, trigonometric functions, and logarithmic functions.

ACCUPLACER Elementary Algebra:

This test features 12 multiple-choice questions in three areas – solutions of equations, inequalities, and word problems; operations involving algebraic equations; and operations involving integers and rational numbers. Topics can include absolute values, ordering, computation with integers, computation with negative rationals, evaluating simple formulas and expressions, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing monomials and polynomials, positive rational roots and exponents, factoring, simplifying algebraic fractions, translating word problems into algebraic expressions, geometric reasoning and graphing, solving linear equations and inequalities, solving quadratic equations by factoring.

ACCUPLACER Reading Comprehension:

On this test, you’ll face 20 multiple-choice questions designed to measure your skills at understanding written English. You’ll read short a short passage, or two stand-alone sentences back to back, and then answer questions based on what you’ve read. Questions will test your ability to identify an author’s main idea and supporting (secondary) ideas, know when an author is stating a fact as opposing to stating a personal opinion, draw a logical conclusion, spot errors in reasoning, find important information in a written passage, recognize themes, identify parallel arguments, compare and contrast, and much more.

ACCUPLACER Sentence Skills:

This test also contains 20 multiple-choice questions, designed to see how well you understand sentence components and structures. In most questions you’ll be shown a sentence that has part of it underlined, and you’ll be asked if the underlined portion of the sentence is correct as written, or if another answer choice should replace it. In others you’ll be asked to rewrite sentences to make them clearer.


You’ll be given a short passage about an issue, and you’ll be required to write an essay about it. In your essay, you’ll need to take a definite position on the issue in the passage, and defend the position with supporting details and arguments. The essay will need to be at least 300 words in length, but no more than 600. The essay will be evaluated for several factors: correct spelling, correct grammar, correct sentence structures, effective use of sentence structures, how organized your essay is, how well you stay focused on making your point, and how well you use facts and figures and other supporting details to back up your position and defend it.


There are no passing or failing scores on the ACCUPLACER. Instead, your school will use your results to determine which classes would be most suitable for you in your first year of college in math and English. In most colleges, there are various options for math and reading classes for first year students. There is the standard class for the average high school graduate, then there is an advanced class for those students with more knowledge and abilities in the subject, and for students who aren’t quite ready for college level work in the subject, there are remedial or foundational classes.

It’s very important for colleges to match students with the right class, because no matter if a student is in over their head, or if they’re stuck in a class studying things they’ve already mastered, they’re at risk of dropping out. That’s the reason colleges use ACCUPLACER – to make sure incoming students start at an appropriate level.

Some college websites have charts showing the range of scores on a particular ACCUPLACER test that result in a student being assigned to a particular class. However, the vast majority of schools do not publish this information, and each school sets its own standards in these areas. Whether or not your school publishes this information, it’s in your best interest to do as well as possible on these tests.


There are two main reasons you’ll want to do your very best on the ACCUPLACER exams – to save time, and to save money. If you do poorly on a test and are placed in a class that’s beneath your abilities, not only will you be bored, but you’ll spend months taking a class that you didn’t need to take. As we all know, college tuition isn’t cheap, so this will be a costly mistake. It can also mean you won’t be able to graduate as soon as you had planned to.

You’ll want to avoid this at all costs, and the best way to do so is to be thoroughly prepared for the various tests when you sit down to take them, as you generally will only get one shot at taking them. A good ACCUPLACER study guide can work wonders when it comes to helping you make a great score. In addition, at the top of this page you’ll find links to lots of free ACCUPLACER practice test questions to help you get ready. Take advantage of them and you’ll greatly improve your chances of doing well on the ACCUPLACER.

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What's on the ACCUPLACER? - ACCUPLACER Test Breakdown

Provided by: Mometrix Test Preparation

Last updated: 03/13/2017
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