How to Study for a Placement Test for College

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Find out how you can get ready for college placement tests with this article. Get information about different types of placement tests and learn how to master them.

Check Out Your Test

Colleges and universities use different types of placement exams to test skills and effectively enter students into appropriate classes. Finding out which kind of test you're going to face should be your first step. Once you've identified the test you're going to take, you should find out what kind of questions you'll need to answer, the length of the exam, if it is timed or untimed and if you're allowed to bring any study aids with you. Some specific placement tests include:

Accuplacer Exams

Accuplacer tests can be used to test your understanding of arithmetic, math, algebra, reading comprehension, sentence skills, written essay skills and ESL skills. All of the Accuplacer exams are multiple-choice, except for the exam that focuses on written essays. You will have no time limit on these exams. Keep in mind that no two Accuplacer exams are exactly alike, because the test will adapt to the questions you answer, raising the difficulty level if you answer correctly and lowering it if you get a question wrong.

Study for the Accuplacer exams by checking out these study guides:

ACT Compass

The ACT Compass placement tests will no longer be used after 2016. If you need to take one before then, keep in mind that the mathematics, reading and writing skills tests include multiple-choice questions, while the writing essay exam will require you to complete an essay. You can practice for the individual ACT Compass placement tests with these courses:

Use School Resources

Most schools that offer placement testing also have studying resources available. These often include practice problems, review packets or workshops. Your school's resources may be accessible online, or you may need to visit a student learning center on campus to prepare.

Review What You Know

Take the time to go over the subject you're going to be tested on. You can look over notes you have from previous courses or any textbooks you may still have that are related to the subject. Apply the same studying routine that you would use for any other test:

  • Review important terms
  • Get familiar with any formulas you need to know
  • Work on practice questions

Get Additional Support

You can access additional study guides through that focus on helping you prepare for success on placement tests. These courses help you review the information that can appear on these exams. You'll also be able to access self-assessment quizzes and tests that allow you to track your progress. Each study guide is supported by expert instructors who are available to answer your questions. You can use the following courses to get ready for the PERT assessment, as well as placement tests at CUNY and California State University:

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Transferring credit to the school of your choice

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