Preparing for the Placement Test: Accuplacer

Students studying

For most majors offered at OCC, students need to take English and Math courses. In order to make sure students register for the correct English and Math classes, they are required to take a Placement Test. The test we use at OCC is the Accuplacer, a computerized set of tests developed by The College Board. The OCC Placement Test includes the Writeplacer Essay, Reading Comprehension, Sentence Skills (for grammar, punctuation and spelling), and  Elementary Algebra. 

Students who need to take the Placement test (because they do not have PARCC, PSAT, SAT, or ACT scores OR those scores are not high enough to qualify for college-level courses) can prepare for the test by practicing their writing, reading and algebra skills and by taking practice tests, using FREE websites. Since the test is given on the computer, it's best to practice on the computer.  There are plenty of free practice opportunities available online, and no need to spend money on Placement Test preparation!  Here are some great FREE websites which offer both practice and preparation for the various sections of the Placement Test:

  • The College Board site provides a great overview of the whole test and describes all of the different sections of the test. Sample test questions are also available at this site. Who better to describe the test and provide practice questions than the folks who develop the test, right?
  • The ACCUPLACER® Web-based study app is now free! This app features practice tests in arithmetic, elementary algebra, college-level math, reading comprehension, and sentence skills. You can access the site from a computer, tablet, or smartphone.  The app features sample tests that present the types of questions that will be asked on the test; a "Learn As You Go" feature that provides immediate feedback after each question is submitted and includes an explanation for the correct response; the ability to save work in progress and resume practicing at a later time; and a review of score history to help you identify areas of strength and weakness.
  • Don't be fooled by this Test Prep Review site; it does offer study materials for a fee, but there are also FREE self-assessment modules, which provide great practice questions. Just scroll down a little ways, and you'll find lots of free practice sections as well as links to additional free subject resources…everything from Algebra to Verbs!
  • Lots of free practice is available at this Accuplacer Test Success site, and there's even a set of practice tests in PDF format if you have a burning desire to print out hard-copy and practice on paper rather than online. You can even practice while you're on a road trip.
  • Study Guide Zone. This is another site offering practice in PDF format. Practicing with paper and pencil tests is not as good as online practice tests, but this site includes another excellent overview of the test.

In addition to the websites listed above, there are hosts of other FREE websites available to you for Placement Test preparation. Finally, here a couple of great test-taking tips that will certainly help you:

  1. DON'T RUSH!  There's only one part of the Placement Test that's timed:  The Writeplacer Essay. You'll have 50 minutes to write a well-organized, well developed, grammatically correct, properly spelled and punctuated essay on the computer WITHOUT the use of Spell Check. You'll have paper and pencil to jot down your thoughts, so you'll have plenty of time. All of the other sections of the test are multiple-choice, with no time limit, so TAKE YOUR TIME!
  2. Practice, practice, practice!  The Placement Test measures your skills, and if you don't use them, you do lose them. The more you practice, the better you'll do.
  3. Call us at The Testing Center, 732.255.0401, if you have any questions. We're here to help.

If you’re looking for more intensive prep, whether it’s before you take the Accuplacer for the first time or to improve your scores before your retest, OCC offers the Placement Test Prep program.  Although there is a small fee for this course, it is extremely thorough, and you can take advantage of a personalized learning path, developed just for you to concentrate on the skills YOU need to improve. Some of the features of this program include diagnostic testing to identify your specific strengths and weaknesses, 10 weeks’ access to an online skill-building software program that will provide you with a personalized set of practice modules, and weekly lab sessions with OCC English and math coaches to help answer all of your questions and provide you with advice and guidance beyond what is available online.  Contact the Testing Center for more information or CLICK HERE to schedule your Placement Test Prep Orientation session.