The Accuplacer® Next Generation Reading Test: What to Expect
Important: The Accuplacer® Next Generation Reading Test is being given at some testing facilities now and officially replaces the older version (the Accuplacer® Reading Comprehension test) beginning in January 2019. Some testing locations may still use the old Accuplacer® Reading Comprehension test until then. Be sure to carefully compare test names with the titles of any test preparation materials you use as the two tests differ considerably. Union Test Prep will have preparation materials for both tests until January 2019, at which time old materials will be deleted.
What Is It?
The ACCUPLACER® Next Generation Reading test is a computer-adaptive assessment that measures a student’s ability to gain meaning from a variety of text types and to determine the meaning of words and phrases in the context of a passage. Because it is a computer-adaptive assessment, the question complexity and levels change as the test progresses based on the test-takers’ responses as they answer each question. The reading passages range in complexity from early high school to early post-secondary reading levels, and most reflect the reading level necessary to be considered “college and career ready.”
What Types of Texts Will I See?
The passages included in the ACCUPLACER® Next Generation Reading test do not require prior knowledge about a particular subject, which is good because they cover a wide variety of content areas. Topics may be drawn from literature and literary nonfiction, the humanities, careers, history, science, or social studies. However, you won’t be asked to read any poetry or drama on this test. All the information you need to answer the questions is provided—the test is whether or not you can access and apply that information.
The passages can range in complexity from relatively easy to quite challenging and from “very short” (75–100 words) to “long” (350–400 words). Text types include narrative, argument, and informative/explanatory, so you should be familiar with each mode and understand their elements in terms of structure and purpose.
What Kinds of Questions Will I Have to Answer?
All 20 questions on the ACCUPLACER® Next Generation Reading test are in multiple-choice format, with four answer options each. There are four main question types:
1. Accessing Information and Ideas
Some questions will require you to identify the information presented and assess your ability to read closely, summarize, and understand the relationships between ideas in a text. These make up between 35% and 55% of the test.
2. Structure and Craft
You may be asked to analyze the author’s structure and the techniques he or she uses in the writing and then evaluate the effect of those techniques on the reader. These make up between 35% and 55% of the test.
Vocabulary-based questions gauge your ability to determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in context These make up about 10% of the test.
You may be asked to answer questions based on a single text, though there are some “paired passages” for which you will be asked to identify and integrate information and ideas between two texts. These make up about 10% to 20% of the test.
How to Tackle it
The best way to approach the ACCUPLACER® Next Generation Reading test is by familiarizing yourself as much as possible with the question types. Using online test prep questions, like those offered by Union Test Prep, will help you become more comfortable with the testing format and the types of passages and questions you are likely to encounter. This is really an assessment of your skills—can you read and critically analyze what you read?
Standardized tests of any kind can be daunting, and the ACCUPLACER® Next Generation Reading test is no exception. The key is to trust yourself. You couldn’t have gotten this far without some academic skills. Trust in those skills and apply them to the challenge of the test. You can do it!
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