How to Prepare for Placement Exams

Whether you’re currently in high school, or you’ve been away from school for a while, review is critical to get a sense of your academic strengths and weaknesses. Practicing before an exam helps relieve anxiety about what to expect, and reminds you of skills you may not have used in a while.

Here are some suggestions and resources you can use to review and prepare before the placement exam.

Take practice exams and Study!

Use this link to connect to an Accuplacer study app - this site provides complete practice exams, study problems and feedback:

  • To use the site, choose the "Sign Up" option on the right side of the page to create a free account
  • Once you have an account, log in and choose which exam you want to study for - choose Reading Comprehension to study for the Reading exam or Elementary Algebra to study for the Math part of our exam.

Practice before the exam - even if you normally do well in the subject

This is critical - students who take the exam cold usually do not do well and then have to take summer programs or non-credit courses to demonstrate their skills.

Use our topic listing and sample problems to get an idea of what will be covered in the exam - then take sample exams to see how much you remember

Practice math without a calculator! There are NO calculators allowed in the placement exam - if you have always done math with a calculator you will need to practice without it!

Use materials from high school to practice:

Math: topics include: Linear equations and inequalities, Linear equations and inequalities with two variables, Systems of linear equations and inequalities, Exponents and polynomials, Factoring, Rational Expressions, Roots and Radicals, Quadratic equations, order of operations, fractions - all without a calculator!

Reading Comprehension: critical reading skills, cause and effect, identifying main idea, theme, strategies for multiple choice exams

Writing: you will need to write a well constructed essay on a topic provided; practice responding to passages, supporting an argument with information, using passage information in an argument

Visit the Accuplacer website to get more information about what to expect from the exams

If you’ve never taken an exam on a computer before, this is a good starting off point to understand how the program works. The exams are not long, some are as short as 12 questions - get used to not skipping questions and working through all problems.

Use Ed Ready to estimate your score and improve math skills 

Create a free account to track your progress and improve skills over time; use their practice Accuplacer math tools to practice and estimate your score.

Visit these other sites to practice specific skills: - algebra section - use the algebra crunchers for algebra practice problems

Contact us with additional questions

If you have questions about specific topics on the exam, or would like more details about what to expect contact Linda Refsland via email at