ACCUPLACER is a placement test administered by the College Board. The test results are used by several colleges and universities in course selection for the students. The college may also decide whether a candidate require a developmental course or not, on the basis of its test scores. The test assesses the academic skills in three areas- reading, writing and mathematics.
The test must be taken by the individuals entering post secondary education. The test scores are used by academic counselors to decide which course will suit student the most. The result helps in identifying the weaknesses and strengths of the student. Hence, the student gets an opportunity to improve and cultivate the lacking scholastic skills, before it becomes a hurdle in further learning.
The ACCUPLCER test examines language skills, reading comprehension and mathematical aptitude. First section is sentence structure consisting of questions based on sentence correction or construction. Next is a reading section. The questions in this section are also multiple choice types and are related to reading comprehension and sentence relationship. Mathematical section is derived from arithmetic, elementary algebra, and college level mathematics. Last section comprises of essay writing.
There is also an ACCUPLACER ESL test which examines the English language skills of non-native English speakers. ESL test consists of five sections- reading, language usage, sentence meaning, writing (known as Writeplacer) and listening.
There are 20 multiple choice questions in the sentence structure section. The questions on sentence correction are based on placement of relevant words or phrases for correcting given sentences. The questions on sentence construction deal with reformation of a sentence, according to a given situation. There are 20 questions in reading section. In this section, There are questions based on given reading passages and the questions which involve relating two or more sentences. The mathematical section comprises of 17, 12, and 20 questions belonging to arithmetic, elementary algebra, and college level mathematics respectively. The content of arithmetic includes whole numbers, fractions, measurements, decimals, geometry, percentage etc. The topics of elementary algebra covered in the test are number system and operations, polynomials and monomials, linear equations, algebraic expressions, geometric interpretations, and verbal reasoning. The algebraic expressions, linear and quadratic equations, straight lines, geometry, trigonometry, permutation, combination etc form the content of college level mathematics. The essay writing section may be taken on computer software or on paper. The time allotted for essay writing varies with the college administration. Mostly, all sections including essay writing are not timed. The candidate can manage time on his/her own to attempt different sections. Since, it is a computer adaptive test, it is more important that examinee answers the questions correctly.
ACCUPLACER is a computer based and computer adaptive test. The difficulty level of the questions changes according to the correctness of the previously answered questions. If the previous question is answered correctly, the difficulty level of next question is increased and if previous question is answered incorrectly, the difficulty level of next question is decreased. The score depends upon the number of questions answered correctly, questions answered incorrectly, and their difficulty level. The scores are released immediately after the test. The scores are also easily accessible for the colleges.
The test may be taken before applying to a college or after getting enrolled in a college, depending on the requirement of the particular institution. It is better to take the test before admissions, as that will be beneficial in selecting appropriate college program. The applicant needs to register for the test through a college which is an ACCUPLACER test center. The test can be taken anytime provided that the test center is operating on that day and time.
The exam fee varies with the test centers. It normally ranges from $5 to $10.