Midwest Skills Development Center


ACCUPLACER is an assessment developed to help students entering community college achieve their educational goals. ACCUPLACER will give you information about your skills in writing, reading, and mathematics, and will tell you at what level you need to begin your college studies.

ACCUPLACER is administered on a personal computer. You will read the instructions and questions on the computer monitor and will select your answers using the computer keyboard or mouse.

What kinds of questions are on ACCUPLACER?

Reading Comprehension

This test is designed to measure how well you understand what you read. It contains 20 questions. Some are of the sentence relationship type in which you must choose how sentences are related. Other questions refer to reading passages of varying lengths.

Sentence Skills

Two kinds of questions are given in this test. Sentence correction questions ask you to choose a word or a phrase to substitute for an underlined portion of a sentence. Construction shift questions ask that a sentence be rewritten in a specific way without changing the meaning. A broad variety of topics is included here. You will be presented a total of 20 questions.


The arithmetic test measures your skills in three primary categories. The first is operations with whole numbers and fractions. This includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and recognizing equivalent fractions and mixed numbers. The second category involves operations with decimals and percents. It includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as well as percent problems, decimal recognition, fraction and percent equivalences, and estimation problems. The last category tests applications and problem solving. Questions include rate, percent, and measurement problems, geometry problems, and distribution of a quantity into its fractional parts. A total of 16 questions are asked.

Elementary Algebra

There are also three categories in the Elementary Algebra Test. The first category, operations with integers and rational numbers, includes computation with integers and negative rationals, the use of absolute values, and ordering. The second category is operations with algebraic expressions. It tests your skills in evaluating simple formulas and expressions, and in adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials. Both of these categories include questions about multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, evaluating positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring. The third category tests skill in solving equations, inequalities, and word problems. These questions include solving systems of linear equations, quadratic equations by factoring, verbal problems presented in algebraic context, geometric reasoning, the translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions, and graphing. Twelve questions are presented.

College-Level Mathematics

The College-Level Mathematics test assesses proficiency from intermediate algebra through precalculus. Six categories are covered. The first category, algebraic operations, includes simplifying rational algebraic expressions, factoring, expanding polynomials, and manipulating roots and exponents. The category, solutions of equations and inequalities, includes the solution of linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, equation systems, and other algebraic equations. Coordinate geometry asks questions about plane geometry, the coordinate plane, straight lines, conics, sets of points in the plane, and graphs of algebraic functions. Applications and other algebra topics asks about complex numbers, series and sequences, determinants, permutations and combinations, fractions, and word problems. The last category, functions and trigonometry, presents questions about polynomial, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions. Twenty questions are asked.

Tips for Taking ACCUPLACER

  1. Relax! ACCUPLACER was designed to help you succeed in school. Your score helps you and your advisor determine which courses are most appropriate for your current level of knowledge and skills. Once you identify your academic strengths and needs you can get the help you need to improve underdeveloped skills before they can interfere with your learning.
  2. You will be able to concentrate better on the test if you get plenty of rest and eat properly prior to the test. You should also arrive a few minutes early so you can find the testing area, bathrooms, etc., and gather your thoughts before the test begins.
  3. Pay careful attention to directions and be sure you understand the directions before you begin each test.
  4. You should understand that this is an adaptive test. Questions are chosen for you on the basis of your answers to previous questions. Because the test works this way, you must answer every question when it is first given. You cannot omit any question or come back to change an answer. You may change your answer on a particular question, but you must do so before continuing on to the next question. If you do not, the answer is accepted and you cannot return to the question.
  5. If you do not know the answer to a question, try to eliminate one or more of the choices. Then pick one of the remaining choices.
  6. Textbooks, notebooks, dictionaries, calculators, or other paper of any kind (except scratch paper provided by the Test Administrator for use with the mathematics tests) are not allowed in the testing room. Further, anyone who gives or receives help during the test, or uses notes or books of any kind, will not be allowed to continue the test. Following the test period, no test materials or notes may be removed from the room.
  7. Remember to bring your social security number and some form of picture I.D.