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Exam information

What you need to know about the ACCUPLACER Test

The ACCUPLACER test is a set of reading, math, and writing tests that help determine college-level course placement. It is different from many other tests in that the level of difficulty changes according to your performance on each item. The test attempts to pinpoint exactly where your skill level is by altering the difficulty of each succeeding question based on your responses. It is important to do your absolute best and carefully answer each test item for the results to be accurate.

Next Generation ACCUPLACER Tests

In 2016, the College Board introduced an updated version of the ACCUPLACER test. These are called Next Generation ACCUPLACER tests and are composed entirely of multiple-choice questions. All of the Next Generation tests are computer-adaptive, meaning that the computer assigns you the next question or question set based on your response to the previous question. The number of questions you receive is defined for each test, however, most tests contain 20 questions.

The most current version of the test has been designed to better identify student skill levels with regard to college-level abilities. This means that the Next Generation tests should be more effective at identifying actual remediation needs and moving all students into credit-bearing courses at a more appropriate pace.

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Exam facts

Answers to all your questions about the ACCUPLACER Test

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What are the costs?

Any cost associated with taking the ACCUPLACER test will be determined by the administering institution. Some colleges include the fee in registration costs, but there may be an extra charge for it, usually ranging from about $15 to $50. For the most up-to-date and accurate information, it is best to check with your institution.

What should I bring?

Again, your institution may have different, or additional, requirements, but most sources indicate that you should know your Social Security number and bring a government photo ID with you. Also, technical devices such as calculators are usually not permitted, while pencils and scratch paper are usually provided.

How is it scored?

ACCUPLACER test scoring uses “cut scores.” This means that you need to score a certain level to be admitted to credit-bearing college courses in that subject, without having to take a remediation class first. Students scoring below the “cut score” for a test are directed toward remediation classes in the tested subject. These classes do not offer college credit and students must complete them before enrolling in college classes in the subject.

What kind of job can I get?

Many of today’s better-paying job opportunities require a college degree because employers count on workers with a wide and varied background of studies, as well as expertise in a particular field. Your best college preparation happens when you study at an appropriate level and the ACCUPLACER can help ensure that is the case. This way, your path to a higher-paying job can be enhanced by using college time appropriately.

Am I eligible?

The ACCUPLACER is taken at the recommendation or requirement of an institution of higher learning (college, technical school, etc.), so you will be informed if you need to take it. Some colleges accept a certain score on other tests (SAT, ACT, etc.) as a replacement for certain sections of the ACCUPLACER. In other words, you can “test out” of all or parts of it.

Why does it matter?

The ACCUPLACER test is used to determine your readiness for study beyond high school. It evaluates your competency in three subject areas: Reading, Math, and Writing. College counselors and instructors can use your scores on the test, along with your other academic records, to ensure that you are enrolled in classes that are appropriate for your learning level. If there are one or more areas in which you have difficulty, these professionals can steer you toward sources of support, such as classes to strengthen your skills in those areas. In other words, the ACCUPLACER test is not so much a test of what you know now, but a test of what you are ready to learn. You cannot fail the test, as its purpose is to provide the best possible learning plan for you, so that you will be successful in future studies.

What salary can I expect?

While the ACCUPLACER test does not directly contribute to earning a Bachelor’s degree, it is certainly a stepping stone to earning one. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has stated that the annual income for those holding a Bachelor’s degree is 63% higher than those who have only earned their high school diploma.

When is it available?

The test is normally administered at the institution you will be attending, with some colleges even offering satellite testing centers in other locations. If you will be attending college far away, you may be able to take it at a testing center closer to home before you leave for school. An appointment is required to take the test, so make sure to contact your college level advisor to most accurately determine where and when you may take the ACCUPLACER.

How much time is allowed?

Though most sources indicate that you should allow yourself 2 hours to take all parts of the test, the time allotted to take the ACCUPLACER test depends on how many of the tests you need to take. Allow yourself plenty of time so you can give your best and take your time on each section.

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