ACCUPLACER

Testing & Study Guide

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Contents

ACCUPLACER Overview ................................................................................................................................. 5

Problems with Computers ............................................................................................................................... 8

Students with Disabilities ................................................................................................................................ 8

General Test Taking Tips ................................................................................................................................. 8

Remediation Programs .................................................................................................................................... 9

Elementary Algebra ....................................................................................................................................... 10

Overview .................................................................................................................................................38

Testing Tips ............................................................................................................................................38

Algebra Tips ...........................................................................................................................................38

Practice Questions ................................................................................................................................. 39

Answers .................................................................................................................................................. 41

Arithmetic ..................................................................................................................................................... 20

Overview ................................................................................................................................................. 27

Testing Tips ............................................................................................................................................ 27

Arithmetic Tips ...................................................................................................................................... 27

Practice Questions & Answers .............................................................................................................. 23

Reading ........................................................................................................................................................... 32

Overview ................................................................................................................................................... 9

Testing Tips .............................................................................................................................................. 9

Concepts & Practice Questions ............................................................................................ 10

Sample Test Questions .......................................................................................................................... 15

Sentence Skills ............................................................................................................................................... 45

Overview ................................................................................................................................................. 21

Testing Tips ............................................................................................................................................ 22

Sample Questions .................................................................................................................................. 22

Practice Questions ................................................................................................................................. 24

Resource Guide ............................................................................................................................... 48

References .......................................................................................................................................................... 53

Compiled and Created by Andrea Sutton & Ciara Marable, Johnston Community College June 2010 Adapted by Angie Uhl-Kalev, Haywood Community College, June 2011

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ACCUPLACER OVERVIEW

What is ACCUPLACER?

The College Board ACCUPLACER is an assessment known as a placement assessment. Placement tests are used to assess a student’s level of skill and readiness for a certain educational course path. At Haywood Community College, ACCUPLACER is used as a part of the admissions process to determine a student’s level of readiness for college level courses in the areas of English and math. A student taking the assessment will be tested on math, reading, and sentence skills. The test has the following characteristics:

Computer based Multiple choice Untimed Computer adaptive or based on the student’s level of ability

How ACCUPLACER works

As mentioned, ACCUPLACER is an untimed, computerized multiple choice test. The test presents one question per test screen with a set of answer choices. After choosing an answer, the test will immediately move to the next question. ACCUPLACER grades each question after it is answered. Therefore, once an answer has been selected, the student will not be able to go back and change an answer. The test is also computer adaptive, meaning that the test administers questions based on how the student performs on each question. This allows ACCUPLACER to accurately score and provide a placement based on your results. The ACCUPLACER is required as part of HCC‟s admissions process. Students who enroll in a degree or diploma curriculum program, must take all parts of the placement test (reading, sentence skills, arithmetic, and elementary algebra). Some certificate programs may require the placement test for admission. Some continuing education courses require the ACCUPLACER. EMT-Basic requires the reading section only. EMT-Intermediate and EMT-Paramedic require the reading, sentence skills, and arithmetic.

ACCUPLACER test setup

At HCC, students generally take the following sections: Reading Comprehension, Sentence Skills Arithmetic, and Elementary Algebra. Below is a breakdown of the sections:

Reading Comprehension - 20 questions Sentence Skills - 20 questions

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Elementary Algebra - 12 questions Arithmetic - 17 questions

ACCUPLACER is graded on a scale of 20-120. Because the test helps determine whether a student is ready for college level courses, a student cannot “pass‟ or “fail‟ the examination. Keep in mind however, that depending on how one scores, he/she may be required to take developmental courses to help adequately prepare him/her for college level courses. Taking developmental courses may extend the time it takes for a student to complete a degree.

When do I take ACCUPLACER?

Students take the ACCUPLACER as a part of HCC’s admissions process. In order to be admitted into HCC:

1. Complete an application online at www.haywood.edu. Under Quick Links click on Apply Online.

2. Submit an official high school or GED transcript to the Enrollment Management Office located in the 1500 Building.

3. Complete the ACCUPLACER test in the Testing Center located in the 1500 Building. For an appointment, call 828.627.4607.

Exemptions from placement testing

The following scores/courses may substitute for the ACCUPLACER.

SAT score of 500 or better on the Reading and/or Math sections. o Official scores must be submitted to Enrollment Management.

ACT composite score of 21 or higher. o Official scores must be submitted to Enrollment Management.

ACCUPLACER, ASSET, or COMPASS scores from one’s high school or another college

o Official scores must be submitted to Enrollment Management. College level courses in English or math with a grade of “C” or higher at an

accredited college. o An official transcript from the college must be submitted to Enrollment

Management.

What do my scores mean?

The following chart explains placement into courses at HCC. A member of the counseling staff will explain the scores to students.

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READING

Score Range Course Placement

0-34 AE-Reading

35-79 RED 090

60-79 Eligible to retest

80+ Reading requirement met

SENTENCE SKILLS

Score Range Course Placement

0-29 AE-English

30-64 ENG 080

65-85 ENG 090

64-85 Eligible to retest

86+ ENG 111

ARITHMETIC

Score Range Course Placement

0-24 AE-Math

25-54 MAT 060

41-54 Eligible to retest

55+ MAT 060 requirement met

ELEMENTARY ALGEBRA

Score Range Course Placement

0-54 MAT 070

41-54 Eligible to retest

55+ MAT 115, 120, 121, 140

For programs that require MAT 151 or higher

55-74 MAT 080

75+ MAT 151, 171

What to expect on test day

When you arrive for your testing appointment, you will need to:

1. Show a picture ID. 2. Put personal belongings in a safe cabinet, including cell phones. 3. Listen to pre-test instructions given by the proctor before the start of testing.

Calculators and electronic devises are prohibited in the Testing Center.

What to expect after testing

After completing the ACCUPLACER, students meet with a member of the counseling staff for test interpretation and program requirements.

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Problems with Computers?

In order to complete the ACCUPLACER placement test, knowledge of how to use a

computer mouse and keyboard is required. If a student feels that his/her computer skills

will inhibit his/her ability to successfully complete the ACCUPLACER, please contact

the Testing Coordinator prior to test day so that options for testing can be discussed. In

most cases, the Testing Coordinator may be able to provide a short tutorial on use of the

mouse or keyboard prior to your test examination.

Students with Disabilities

Individuals with disabilities who wish to request testing accommodations should contact

the Disability Counselor at 828.627.4504. All requests for accommodations for testing

should be made in a timely manner prior to testing, as the student will be required to

provide current documentation to verify a disability. For additional questions regarding

required documentation or other disability services, please contact the Disability

Counselor.

General Test Taking Tips

Get enough sleep the night before the test. Plan to arrive on time. Know what items you can and cannot bring with you. To avoid experiencing test anxiety, approach the test with a positive attitude. Use

positive self-talk. Prior to entering the Testing Center, locate the bathroom and/or break areas that

can be utilized during testing. Listen carefully to all pre-test instructors prior to starting your test. Carefully read all test questions and instructions presented. Ask questions if you do not understand what is required. Utilize materials given during the test such as scratch paper and pencils. Deal with test anxiety by preparing in advance, taking your time, and pacing

yourself throughout the assessment. During testing, read the entire question and all choices before attempting to

answer. ACCUPLACER is a multiple choice test. For multiple choice questions, eliminate

choices that you know are incorrect first. Then attempt to find and choose the answer.

If you are unsure of the answer, make an educated guess.

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Usually your first choice of the answer is the right one. Don’t second guess yourself.

Development Courses and Remediation

Students who score within the AE (Adult Education) range will be referred to HCC’s Adult Education program to brush up on their skills before retesting. Students can call 828.627.4643 for an appointment. Students who score in the retest range are encouraged to study before retesting. The Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) offers remediation to students free of charge. Additional resources are listed at the end of this study guide. READING

Overview

The Reading Comprehension section of ACCUPLACER contains 20 multiple choice

questions that fall into two categories:

1. A reading passage followed by a question based on the text. Both short and long

passages are provided.

2. Sentence relationships presenting two sentences followed by a question about the

relationship between these two sentences.

Testing Tips

Do not rush. Take your time and make sure you understand what you are

reading.

Read carefully. Sometimes, one word in the passage can change the entire

meaning.

Double check your answer before moving to the next question.

Understand what the test question is asking about the passage before attempting

to answer. In many cases, reviewing the passage and answer choices will help.

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Concepts & Practice Questions

Six skills prepare students to become better readers and for reading in college-level

courses:

recognizing main ideas

identifying supporting details

recognizing implied main ideas and the central point

understanding relationships that involve addition and time

understanding relationships that involve illustration, comparison or contrast,

and cause and effect

understanding purpose and tone

Main idea

In order to become a better and faster reader, recognizing the main idea is the most

important skill you can develop.

Think of the main idea as an umbrella--it is the author’s primary point about a topic.

All other material in the paragraph fits under the main idea. In a paragraph, authors

often present the main idea to readers in a single sentence called the topic sentence.

Consider this example:

TV violence does affect people in negative ways. Frequent TV watchers are more fearful

and suspicious of others. Heavy TV watchers are less upset about real-life violence than

non-TV watchers. TV violence increases aggressive behavior in children.

You will see the word topic used in two different ways. First, topic can be used generally

to mean the subject of the reading. Second, it can be used as a part of the phrase ‘topic

sentence.’ In this example, the first sentence tells the reader the general subject, or

topic, of the passage. The second sentence is the topic sentence, and in this case also

gives the author’s main idea. This sentence tells the reader what the passage is about

and gives the main point the author is making.

Supporting Details

Supporting details are reasons, examples, steps, or other kinds of factual evidence that

explain a main idea.

Consider this example:

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Main idea: Our government should phase out the penny in the economy.

Supporting detail 1: Pennies take up more space than they are worth.

Supporting detail 2: Pennies are a nuisance to the business community.

Supporting detail 3: Pennies cost the nation as a whole.

In this case the supporting details give reasons to support the main idea.

Recognizing Implied and Stated Ideas

Sometimes a selection lacks a topic sentence, but that does not mean it lacks a main

idea. The author has simply decided to let the details of the selection suggest the main

idea. You must figure out what the implied main idea is by deciding upon the point

made by all of the details when they are all added together.

Passages that imply an idea give supporting details first. The reader must make an

educated guess in order to understand the main idea. In these sorts of passages, the

main idea is the general statement that all of the details make when they are considered

as a whole. The main idea must be general enough that all of the details fit into it.

Consider this example:

1. The smaller a group is, the more opportunities we have to get to know other

people well and to establish close ties with them.

2. Two-person groups are the setting for many of our most intense and influential

relationships.

3. In three-person groups, coalitions become possible, with two members joining

forces against a third member.

4. Five-person groups are large enough so that people feel they can express their

emotions freely and even risk antagonizing one another, yet they are small

enough so that members show regard for one another’s feelings and needs.

Which statement best expresses the unstated main idea of the above sentences?

a. Two-person groups are an important part of our lives.

b. A five-person group is better than a two-person group

c. The number of people in a group affects relationships within the

group.

d. Groups play a central part in every human activity, within family, the workplace,

and the government.

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Explanation:

a. Answer a is too narrow to be the implied idea. It is based on only one of the four

supporting details, statement 1.

b. Answer b covers only statements 2 and 4; therefore, it is too narrow to be the

implied main idea. In addition, it is a conclusion that is not based on the given

facts, which say nothing about one group always being better than another.

c. Answer c is a general statement about the number of people in a group and how

that number affects a group. It is illustrated by all four of the supporting details.

The answer c is the implied main idea.

d. Answer d is true, but it is not what the supporting details are discussing. The

supporting details do not address the part that groups play in society.

The topic of the supporting ideas above is the number of people in a group. Ask yourself

the question, “What are the supporting details saying about the number of people in a

group?” As you think about the four statements, try to find a point about the number of

people in a group that is general enough to cover all of the specific details.

Understanding Relationships That Involve Addition and Time

To help readers understand the main points, authors use two common methods to show

relationships among ideas and to make ideas clear: transitions and patterns of

organization.

Transitions are words or phrases (ex: first of all) that show relationships between

ideas. Two types of transitions are words that show:

addition, contrast, exception

time or sequence

Addition words tell you that writers are adding to their thoughts. The writers are

presenting one or more ideas that continue along the same line of thought as a previous

idea. Addition words include: furthermore, additionally, next, in addition, etc.

Contrast words show differences between two or more items being compared. Contrast

words include: on the other hand, in contrast, despite.

Exception words point out an unusual or unique feature of one item that is otherwise

part of the same main category. Exception words include: however, nevertheless, with

the exception of, in the case of.

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Time words provide chronological organization to writing. Time words include: later, a

decade, a year, a month, a week, a century such as the 90’s, the nineteenth century.

Sequential words provide step-by-step organization to writing. Sequential words

include: next, first, second, after, before.

Understanding Relationships That Involve Illustration, Comparison or

Contrast, and Cause and Effect

Illustration is one method of clarifying our ideas. Writers often use examples and

illustrations introduced by a phrase such as for example or for instance to demonstrate

the point they are trying to make.

Which of these two statements is easier to understand?

1. Even very young children can do household chores. They can run a duster along

baseboards or fold napkins for dinner.

2. Even very young children can do household chores. For instance, they can run a

duster along baseboards or fold a napkin for dinner.

The second item is easier to understand because the phrase “For instance” tells the

reader that there is a relationship between the first and second sentence. The second

sentence offers an example of the point the author makes in the first sentence.

Comparison and Contrast

Comparison shows similarities. Contrast shows differences. Writers often use

comparison and contrast together as a way of explaining and/or analyzing the

relationship between or among items, ideas, or people.

Consider the relationship among these sentences as an example of how comparison and

contrast can be used together and notice the role that the underlined transitions play in

making this relationship clear to the reader:

1. Advertising is part of the strategy manufacturers use to sell their products.

2. Manufacturers use advertising as a way to market established products as

well as new products.

3. New products are generally advertised differently from established

products.

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4. New products are often introduced with “informational” advertising telling

what the products are, why they are needed, and where they are available.

5. Established products on the other hand can rely on “reminder”

advertisem*nts, which provide little hard information about the product.

The first sentence gives the general, or main, idea. The second sentence uses “as well as”

to signal that the writer is showing a similarity between the way new and established

products are advertised. The word “differently” in the third sentence and “on the other

hand” in the fifth sentence shows that the writer is also demonstrating differences in the

way these two types of products are advertised.

Cause/Effect

Information that falls into a cause-effect pattern addresses the question “Why does an

event happen?” and “What are the results of an event?” Often, authors try to tell about

events in a way that explains both what happened and why.

Consider how this passage reflects the relationship between cause and effect:

In 1970, about sixty small and medium-sized factories in the United States adopted a

four-day workweek. According to the plan, workers work forty hours but instead of the

usual five-day week, they now work only four days. Workers are enthusiastic about the

three-day weekly vacation. According to management, productivity has increased about

18% since the inception of the new plan. Absenteeism has dropped by 69% and lateness

is almost non-existent.

What are the effects being discussed in this passage?

A. shorter work weeks

B. sixty small and medium-sized factories decided to try the four-day work week

C. the seventies were a time of change

D. increased productivity and decreases in absenteeism and tardiness

Explanation:

a. Answer a gives the topic of the passage but does not discuss cause or effect.

b. Answer b explains who was involved in this experiment, but does not show a

cause/effect relationship.

c. Answer c is true, but is not discussed in this passage.

d. Answer d explains the results of the four-day workweek.

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Tone

A writer’s tone reveals the attitude he or she has toward a subject. Tone is expressed

through the words and details the author selects. Just as a speaker’s voice can project a

range of feelings, a writer’s voice can project one or more tones or feelings: anger,

sympathy, hopefulness, sadness, respect, dislike and so on. Understanding tone is an

important part of understanding what an author has written.

To illustrate the difference a writer can express in tone, consider the following

comments made by workers in a fast food restaurant.

“I hate this job. The customers are rude, the managers are idiots, and the food

smells like dog chow.” (Tone: bitter, angry)

“I have no doubt that flipping burgers and toasting buns will prepare me for a top

position on Wall Street.” (Tone: mocking, sarcastic)

“I love working at Castle Burger. I meet interesting people, earn extra money, and

get to eat all the chicken nuggets I want when I go on break.” (Tone: enthusiastic,

positive)

Words that express tone reflect a feeling or judgment. Some words that describe tone

include: amused, angry, ashamed, praising, and excited.

Sample Test Questions

Answer each of the following 10 questions. To review the questions you missed, return

to the reading strategies area in parentheses following the correct answers on the

answer key.

1. Read the statements below and then choose the best answer to the question from the

list of lettered choices that follow.

Sometimes when we don’t get enough sleep we become very short-tempered.

It is important to set a time to go to bed that is realistic.

How are these two sentences related?

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A. The first sentence explains the meaning of the second.

B. The second sentence explains why a lack of sleep affects us.

C. The second sentence contradicts the first.

D. The second sentence proposes a solution.

2. Read the statements below and then choose the best answer to the question from the

list of lettered choices that follows.

Most people collect Star Wars toys for sentimental reasons.

Some people collect them strictly to make money.

What is the relationship between the two sentences?

A. cause & effect

B. contrast

C. repetition

D. statement & example

3. Answer the question based on what is stated or implied.

There are two kinds of jewelry that I do. There is commercial jewelry - class rings,

necklaces, the kinds of things most people wear. I sell these items to meet my expenses

for raw materials, supplies, and to make my living. The other more creative work I do,

makes me feel that I am developing as a craftsperson.

The author of this passage implies that:

A. artists are poor.

B. there is no market for creative work.

C. rings and necklaces cannot be creative.

D. commercial and creative work fulfill different needs for the artist.

4. Read the statements below and then choose the best answer to the question from the

list of lettered choices that follows.

Jenny does not like cake.

She does not like to bake it, to ice it, or to eat it.

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What does the second sentence do?

A. It states the cause of the first.

B. It emphasizes what is stated in the first.

C. It compares the three things Jenny does not like about cake.

D. It draws a conclusion about Jenny.

5. Read the sentences below and then choose the best answer to the question from the

list of lettered choices that follows.

When we write a check that we know is going to “bounce,” we are in fact

performing a criminal act.

It is a crime to knowingly write a “hot” check, one in which we know we don’t

have sufficient funds to cover.

What does the second statement do?

A. It provides supporting evidence for the first statement.

B. It draws a conclusion from the first sentence.

C. It restates the central idea of the first sentence.

D. It provides a contradictory point of view.

6. Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question from the list

of lettered choices that follows.

Scuba diving is the most exhilarating experience I have ever had. The first time I

went, the dark mirror of the water beckoned me to drop from the side of the boat.

I jumped feet first and entered a brightly colored world populated with fish,

plants, and objects I had never dreamed of.

Which of the following best describes the mood of the author after having this

experience?

A. Bored

B. Anxious

C. Excited

D. Serene

7. Read the passage below and then choose the best answer to the question.

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Huge beasts such as the dinosaur have never really become extinct. Mothra, a

giant caterpillar who later becomes a moth, destroys Tokyo, and stars in the 1962

Japanese film named for him. Mothra is born, dies, and reborn regularly on

classic movie channels. In Japan, Mothra is one of the most popular films ever

made. Mothra has survived the creation of more current scary creatures such as

giant apes, extraterrestrial beings and swamp creatures. More than 30 years after

his creation, Mothra still lives.

The main subject of the passage is:

A. the reasons that fads do not endure.

B. the lasting appeal of Mothra.

C. the difficulty of marketing good horror movies.

D. old models for creatures are still used because making new monsters is

expensive.

8. Two underlined sentences are followed by a question or statement. Read the

sentences, and then choose the best answer to the question or the best completion of

the statement.

Anxious to ensure that America would depart from European traditions

regarding religion and royalty, the early U.S. could be described as a place that

focused more on work than on the entertainment offered by spectacle and

ceremony in the Old World.

However, national celebrations such as the lighting of the White House

Christmas Tree and the ceremonies used to swear in new federal officials give the

American people some experiences that are based upon national tradition.

What does the second sentence do?

A. It cancels the meaning of the first sentence

B. It provides an example of the first sentence.

C. It adds more detail to the first sentence.

D. It offers an exception to the information given in the first sentence.

9. Two underlined sentences are followed by a question or a statement. Read the

sentences, and then choose the best answer to the question or the best completion of

the statement.

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Public speaking is very different from everyday conversation.

First of all, speeches are much more structured than a typical informal

discussion.

How are these sentences related?

A. Sentence two offers support for the statement made in the first sentence.

B. Sentence two contradicts the statement made in the first sentence.

C. Sentence two shows an exception to the first sentence

D. Sentence two compares two kinds of speeches.

10. Read the passages below, and then choose the best answer to the question. Answer

the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in these passages.

Many people who have come close to death from drowning, cardiac arrest, or

other causes have described near-death experiences - profound, subjective events

that sometimes result in dramatic changes in values, beliefs, behavior, and

attitudes toward life and death. These experiences often include a new clarity of

thinking, a feeling of well-being, a sense of being out of the body, and visions of

bright light or mystical encounters. Such experiences have been reported by an

estimated 30 to 40 percent of hospital patients who were revived after coming

close to death and about 5 percent of adult Americans in a nationwide poll. Near-

death experiences have been explained as a response to a perceived threat of

death (a psychological theory); as a result of biological states that accompany the

process of dying (a physiological theory); and as a foretaste of an actual state of

bliss after death (a transcendental theory).

The primary purpose of this passage is to:

A. entertain

B. persuade

C. inform

D. express disbelief in the afterlife

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ANSWER KEY - READING

Review the questions you missed in the Reading Strategies sections indicated in

parentheses following the correct answer.

1. D (Cause/Effect)

2. B (Comparison/Contrast)

3. D (Implied and Stated Ideas)

4. B (Supporting Details)

5. C (Main Idea)

6. C (Tone)

7. B (Main Idea)

8. D (Exception)

9. A (Supporting Details)

10. C (Main Idea)

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SENTENCE SKILLS

Overview

The Sentence Skills section of ACCUPLACER contains 20 multiple choice questions that

fall into two categories.

The first category involves sentence correction questions that require an

understanding of sentence structure. These questions ask you to choose the most

appropriate word or phrase to substitute for the underlined portion of the sentence.

If no changes need to be made to the sentence, the answer choice would be A.

Example: Ms. Rose planning to teach a course in biology next summer.

Select the best version of the underlined part of the sentence above.

a. planning

b. are planning

c. with a plan

d. plans *

If necessary, rewrite the sentence on your scratch paper, substituting each choice

for the underlined part of the sentence. The correct answer is d. plans. The

sentence should be "Ms. Rose plans to teach a course in biology next summer."

The second type involves construction shift questions. These questions ask that a

sentence be rewritten according to the criteria shown while maintaining essentially

the same meaning as the original sentence.

Example: Being a female jockey, she was often interviewed.

Rewrite the sentence, beginning with:

She was often interviewed…

The next words will be:

on account of she was

by her being

because she was

being as she was

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As in the previous section, rewrite the sentences on your scratch paper, substituting

each choice to create a sentence that is well written and has the same meaning as the

original sentence. The correct answer is because she was. The sentence should be “She

was often interviewed because she was a female jockey.”

Testing Tips

Familiarize yourself with basic grammar rules.

Reread the sentence with the answer you chose to make sure it sounds correct.

Utilize scratch paper to write out the sentence.

Remember: You should answer the question using proper grammar and English

language skills, not how YOU would necessarily write or speak informally.

Sample Questions

The following questions ask you to rewrite sentences. You will be given information

regarding what changes should be made to form your new sentence. The new sentence

should be grammatically correct and have essentially the same meaning as the original.

1. Writing a best seller had earned the author a sum of money and had freed him

from the necessity of selling his pen for the political purposes of others.

Rewrite, beginning with

The author was not obliged . . .

The new sentence will include

A) consequently he earned

B) because he had earned

C) by earning

D) as a means of earning

Analysis of #1: In the above sample, you must rewrite the sentence to begin The

author was not obliged... To decide what to do, look at the meaning of the original

sentence: What was the author “obliged” to do? The sentence says he was faced with

“the necessity of selling his pen,” etc. Therefore, this necessity was his obligation.

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To retain this main idea, your new sentence must begin with “The author was not

obliged to sell his pen for the political purposes of others...” But you must now complete

the sentence to explain why he was not so obliged. To do so, test all four options (A--D)

to see which fits your main clause best in both grammar and meaning. Write your

options out! Don’t jump at the first version you think sounds good!

A. The author was not obliged to sell his pen for the political purposes of

others [consequently he earned] a sum of money by writing a best seller.

Note that this sentence makes little sense because his earning the money is not a

consequence of his lack of obligation but rather the cause of it. Besides, the structure

creates a run-on sentence, which is grammatically incorrect.

B. The author was not obliged to sell his pen for the political purposes of

others [because he had earned] a sum of money by writing a best seller.

This version makes more sense because earning the money is in fact the cause of his not

needing to sell his pen, and the sentence is grammatically correct.

C. The author was not obliged to sell his pen for the political purposes of

others [by earning] a sum of money by writing a best seller.

At first glance, this sentence may seem to make sense, but “was not obliged...by

earning” makes little sense and only clumsily conveys the idea.

D. The author was not obliged to sell his pen for the political purposes of

others [as a means of earning] a sum of money by writing a best seller.

This sentence also makes no sense because not selling his pen is not a means of earning

money but rather a result of such earning.

Therefore, of the four choices, B is clearly the best.

2. Jose wanted to study he tried to keep his roommates quiet; but he did not succeed.

A) Jose wanted to study he tried to keep

B) Jose wanted to study, he tried to keep

C) Because he wanted to study, Jose tried to keep

D) Jose wanting to study, and trying to keep

Analysis of #2: In this sample, you must examine four versions of the same sentence

to determine which one is grammatically correct.

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A: Jose wanted to study he tried to keep his roommates quiet; but he did

not succeed.

This version places two independent clauses together with no separating

punctuation. Therefore, version A is a run-on sentence, which is not correct.

B: Jose wanted to study, he tried to keep his roommates quiet; but he did

not succeed.

This version places two independent clauses together with only a comma to separate

them, creating a comma splice, which is grammatically incorrect.

C: Because he wanted to study, Jose tried to keep his roommates quiet; but

he did not succeed.

In this version, the opening clause has been changed from an independent (main)

clause to a dependent (subordinate) clause introduced by the subordinating conjunction

"Because". Therefore, we no longer see two main clauses strung together incorrectly.

The subordinate clause is correctly separated from the following main cause by a

comma, so this version of the sentence is correct.

D: Jose wanting to study, and trying to keep his roommates quiet; but he

did not succeed.

You notice that in this version, the past tense verbs "wanted" and "tried" have been

changed to -ing verbs. But "wanting" and "trying" by themselves do not create a definite

time frame for the actions. The word "trying" could be taken to mean "is trying," "was

trying", "has been trying," "will be trying," etc. Each of these verb structures indicates a

different time frame. So, an -ing verb form by itself is not a COMPLETE verb; it

requires a helping verb to fix the time of the action. Therefore, the verb structures in

version D are incomplete, and the sentence is thus an incorrect fragment.

Therefore, answer C is the only correct choice here.

Practice Questions

3. In the modern world, groups of people living thousands of miles apart may still be

dependent on each other politically, culturally, and economically.

Change people living to people may live.

Your new sentence will include

25

A) apart and still be dependent

B) apart so as to be dependent still

C) apart, they are still dependent

D) apart, but would still be dependent

4. Predictions twenty years ago that the phonograph record was about to become

obsolete have proven to be true.

A) Predictions twenty years ago that

B) Predictions twenty years ago,

C) Twenty years ago, predictions that

D) Predictions, twenty years ago

5. When you move out of an apartment before the contract expires, this is an example

of breaking a lease.

A) When you move out of an apartment before the contract expires, this

B) You move out of an apartment before the contract expires, this

C) Moving out of an apartment before the contract expires

D) The fact that you move out of an apartment before the contract expires

6. Knocked to his knees, the quarterback looked as if he were in pain.

A) Knocked to his knees, the quarterback looked

B) The quarterback was knocked to his knees, looked

C) The quarterback looked knocked to his knees

D) The quarterback, looking knocked to his knees,

7. Yesterday the President announced that he would retire from political life, to amazed reporters.

A) Yesterday the President announced that he would retire from political life, to amazed reporters.

B) Yesterday the President announced that he would retire from political life,

26

amazing reporters.

C) The President, to the amazement of reporters, announced that he would retire from political life yesterday.

D) Yesterday the President announced to amazed reporters that he would retire from political life.

ANSWER KEY – SENTENCE SKILLS

1. B

2. C

3. A

4. A

5. C

6. A

7. D

27

ARITHMETIC

Overview

The Arithmetic section of ACCUPLACER contains 17 multiple choice questions that

measure your ability to complete basic arithmetic operations and to solve problems that

test fundamental arithmetic concepts. A calculator is provided by the computer on

questions where its use would be beneficial. Expect to see the following concepts

covered on this portion of the test:

Operations with whole numbers and fractions such as addition, subtraction,

multiplication, division, recognizing equivalent fractions and mixed numbers, and

estimating.

Operations with decimals and percents, including addition, subtraction,

multiplication, and division with decimals. Percent problems, recognition of

decimals, fraction and percent equivalencies, and problems involving estimation are

also given.

Problems that involve applications and problem solving are also covered, including

rate, percent, and measurement problems, simple geometry problems, and

distribution of a quantity into its fractional parts.

Testing Tips

Start the solving process by utilizing basic Arithmetic skills and formulas. Then if

advanced mathematical skills are required such as Algebra, use those skills next.

Use resources provided such as scratch paper or the calculator to solve the

problem. DO NOT attempt to only solve problems in your head.

Try putting your answer back into the original problem to confirm that your

answer is correct.

Make an educated guess if you are unsure of the answer.

Arithmetic Tips

Test takers should be familiar with the following detailed list of concepts. For additional

practice exercises using these concepts, please utilize the resources listed at the end of

this guide.

28

Whole Numbers and Money

Rounding whole numbers and

dollars and cents

Adding (larger numbers, by

regrouping, dollars and cents)

Subtracting (larger numbers, by

regrouping, dollars and cents)

Regrouping/borrowing

Multiplying (larger numbers, by

regrouping, by zeros)

Dividing (using long division,

remainders, zero as a placeholder,

larger numbers)

Fractions

Like fractions and unlike fractions

Adding and subtracting like fractions

and unlike fractions

Lowest common denominator (LCD)

Estimating with mixed numbers

Adding and subtracting mixed

numbers

Subtracting fractions from whole

numbers

Subtracting mixed numbers by

regrouping

Multiplying and dividing fractions by

fractions

Canceling to simplify multiplication

Multiplying and dividing fractions by

whole numbers or mixed numbers

Multiplying mixed numbers by

mixed numbers

Percents

Changing a fraction to a percent

Changing a decimal to a percent

Changing a percent to a fraction

Changing a percent to a decimal

Finding the part, percent, and whole

Finding percent increase or decrease

Finding the original price

Understanding simple interest

Computing interest for part of a year

Decimals

Comparing/ordering decimal

fractions

Reading and writing mixed decimals

Estimating with mixed decimals

Rounding to a chosen place value

Adding and subtracting decimals

Using zeros as placeholders

Multiplying decimals by whole

numbers

Multiplying decimals by decimals

Multiplying by 10, 100, or 1,000

Dividing decimals by whole numbers

Dividing decimals by decimals

Dividing by 10, 100, or 1,000

29

Practice Questions & Answers

Fractions – Practice Questions & Answers

Numerator: tells how many parts you have (the number on top) 3

Denominator: tells how many parts in the whole (the number on the bottom) 4

Example: = 34

3 parts have a dot out of 4

Proper fraction: top number is less than the bottom number: 3

1,

1 0

7,

1 9

9

Improper fraction: top number is equal to or larger than the bottom number: ,2

3

8

8

Mixed Number: a whole number is written next to a proper fraction: 4

31 ,

5

22 ,

2

11 0

Common Denominator: a number that can be divided evenly by all of the

denominators in the problem

Ex: 4

3

3

3

1 2

9

3

2

4

4

1 2

8

2

1

6

6

1 2

6

Reducing Fractions to Lowest Terms

Example:

8

6

8

8

64

48

4

3

2

2

8

6

The common denominator for these

fractions will be 12. It also happens

to be the least common denominator.

Step 1: Find a number that divides evenly into the numerator and the denominator

of the fraction. With the fraction to the left, the number that will divide evenly is 8.

Step 2: Check to see whether another number divides evenly into both the

numerator and denominator. Stop when there are no more numbers that can

divide into the fraction.

In the example, the fraction can be reduced further by dividing it by 2.

30

Changing Mixed Numbers to Improper Fractions

Example: Change 4

32 to an improper fraction.

2 x 4 = 8

8 + 3 = 11

4

1 1

Adding and Subtracting Fractions with Different Bottom Numbers

Example 1: 3

2

4

3 Example 2:

1 6

3

4

3

1 2

9

3

3

4

3

1 6

1 2

4

4

4

3

1 2

8

4

4

3

2

1 6

3

1

1

1 6

3

1 2

51

1 2

1 7

1 2

8

1 2

9 *

1 6

9

1 6

3

1 6

1 2

*Remember to change improper fractions to a mixed number.

Multiplying Fractions

24

1 5

6

5

4

3

Step 1: Multiply the denominator by the whole number.

Step 2: Add the result to the numerator.

Step 3: Place the total over the denominator.

Step 1: Find the common

denominator for all

fractions.

Step 2: Then add or subtract the

fractions.

Multiply the numerators across. Then multiply the

denominators across. Make sure the product is in

lowest terms.

31

5

21

3

22

Multiplying with Mixed Numbers

Example

3

8

3

22

5

7

5

21

1 5

1 13

1 5

56

5

7

3

8

Dividing Fractions

Example: 2

1

4

1

2

1

4

2

1

2

4

1

2

1

4

1

Practice:

1. Change 6

14 to an improper fraction.

2. Change 1 6

42 to a mixed number.

3. 5

35 4.

2

15 5.

1 3

1 19 6.

8

71 0

3

22

3

23

2

12

7

32

Step 1: Change every mixed fraction

to an improper fraction.

Step 2: Multiply across.

Step 3: Then, change the improper fraction to a mixed number in lowest terms.

The fraction that is right of the division sign will be

multiplied by the reciprocal where 2

1 becomes

1

2

32

7. 9

5

7

13 8.

9

72

7

33

9. 1 41 1

6 10.

6

55

5

43

Decimals

Adding and Subtraction Decimals

Add: 28.5 + 44.47 + 3075.6 Subtract: 380.53 - 75

28.50 Step 1: Line up the decimal points. 380.53

44.47 - 75.00

+ 3075.60 305.53

3148.57 Step 2: Then add or subtract.

Multiplying Decimals

Multiply 1.89 x 5.03 = ___

Answers: 1) 6

2 5 2)

8

52 3)

1 5

48 4)

6

19 5)

26

97

6) 56

258 7)

63

471 8)

21

1 19 9)

7 7

3 10)

1 7 5

1 1 4

33

9.506794500

567 5.031 .89

Dividing a Decimal by a Whole Number

Example:

0 51 1 51 1

21 9

.037

2.7 017 3

Dividing a Decimal by a Decimal Number

Example: 4.374 .03 = __

4.37 4.03 437 .43

2 spaces

0 24 24 1 5 1 7

1 2 1 3 3

1 45.8

43 7 .43

Step 1: Multiply the decimals as you would do with whole numbers.

Step 2: Then, count the number of spaces of each factor being multiplied.

Decimal places are the number of spaces to the right of the decimal

point. There are two in the top factor and two in the bottom factor,

so the decimal is placed four spaces from the right.

Step 3: Show the total number of places in your answer.

Place the decimal point directly above its position in

the problem. Then divide the same way as you divide

whole numbers.

Move the decimal point of the divisor (outside the

bracket) as far right as you can go. Then move the

decimal point in the dividend (inside the bracket) the

same number of places as the divisor.

Place the decimal point directly above its

position in the problem. Then divide the

same way as you divide whole numbers.

34

Practice:

1. 18.1 2. .97 3. 123 + 2.6 + 9.04 = 4. 83.0097 + 124.9 + 9.043 =

x .04 x 5.6

5. .07 - .002 = 6. 96 - .3992 = 7. 27 .364

8. 0.2601 9 9. 7.055 0.83

10. 4.4662.03

Answers: 1) 0.724 2) 5.432 3) 134.64 4) 216.9527 5) 0.068

6) 95.6008 7) 6.84 8) 0.0289 9) 8.5 10) 2.2

35

Percents

Percents are used to describe a part of something. Percents are used to figure out sales

or the amount of interest someone will pay on a loan. When converting a percent to its

fraction form, it will always have a denominator of 100.

Changing Decimals to Percents or Percents to Decimals

The key to changing decimals and percents is knowing where to move the decimal

point. If changing from a decimal to a percent, move the decimal point two places to

the right and add the percent sign.

Example: 0.35 = 35%

0.8 = 80%

To change from percent to decimal, need to move the decimal point two places to the

left and drop the percent sign.

Example: 30% = .3

0.9% = .009

Converting Fraction to Percent Form

Divide the bottom number of the fraction into the top number and move the point two

places to the right.

Example:4

3

.7 5

02020283.004 = .75 = 75%

-or-

Multiply the fraction by 100%

Example: 4

3

7 5%1

7 5%

1

1 00%

4

3

25

1

36

Percent to Fraction

Example: 85%

20

1 7

5

5

1 00

85

Percent of a Number

1) What is 25% of $6,500? 2) Change the percent to a fraction

n = 25% x $6,500 -or- 65004

1n

n = .25 x 6500 4

6,500n

n = $1,625 n = $1,625

Finding What Percent One Number Is of Another

There are key words to remember that will help you solve a problem involving percents.

The word ‘of’ in the sentence means to multiply.

The word ‘is‘ means it is equal to.

Example: 9 is what percent of 45?

9 = x times (x) 45

9 = 45x

45 45

x.20

9 is 45 of 20% e therefor20%.20

The variable ‘x’ is being multiplied by 45.

Divide by 45.

Write the percent as a fraction with 100 as the

denominator. Then reduce the fraction to lowest

terms.

37

Finding a Number When a Percent of It is Given

Example: 20% of (what number) is 16?

16x.2

.2016

=.20

.20x

x = 80

Practice:

Write the following in percent form.

1. 0.12 2. 8

6 3.

5

2 4. 0.233 5. 1.15

6. What is 11% of $3,000? 7. 60 is what percent of 1200?

8. 28 is 40 % of what number?

Answers: 1) 12% 2) 75% 3) 40% 4) 23.3% 5) 115% 6) $330

7) 5% 8) 70%

38

ELEMENTARY ALGEBRA

Overview

The Elementary Algebra section of ACCUPLACER contains 12 multiple choice Algebra

questions that are similar to material seen in a Pre-Algebra or Algebra I pre-college

course. A calculator is provided by the computer on questions where its use would be

beneficial. On other questions, solving the problem using scratch paper may be

necessary. Expect to see the following concepts covered on this portion of the test:

Operations with integers and rational numbers, computation with integers and

negative rationals, absolute values, and ordering.

Operations with algebraic expressions that must be solved using simple formulas

and expressions, adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials, multiplying

and dividing monomials and polynomials, positive rational roots and exponents,

simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring.

Operations that require solving equations, inequalities, and word problems, solving

linear equations and inequalities, using factoring to solve quadratic equations,

solving word problems and written phrases using algebraic concepts, and geometric

reasoning and graphing.

Testing Tips

Use resources provided such as scratch paper or the calculator to solve the

problem. DO NOT attempt to only solve problems in your head.

Start the solving process by writing down the formula or mathematic rule

associated with solving the particular problem.

Put your answer back into the original problem to confirm that your answer is

correct.

Make an educated guess if you are unsure of the answer.

Algebra Tips

Test takers should be familiar with the following concepts. For specific practice

exercises using these concepts, please utilize the resources listed at the end of this guide.

39

Understanding a number line

Adding and subtracting negative numbers

Using exponents

Finding a square root

Writing algebraic expressions

Using parentheses in algebraic expressions

Evaluating formulas

Multiplying binomials

Using proportions to solve problems

Combining like terms

Evaluating expressions

Solving linear equations

Solving equations ,,,

Practice Questions

Order of Operations

1. 273 2. 7523

3. 2

22

54

54

Scientific Notation

Write the following in Scientific Notation. Write in expanded form.

1. 0005230.00000000 111 06.02 2.

Simplify. Write answers in scientific notation.

61 0531 03 1. 4

9

1 03

1 06 .

2

Substitution

Find each value if 3x , 4y , and 2z .

4z xy z 1. xy

z5x

2.

Linear equations in one variable

Solve the following for x.

Please note: Multiplication signs

may take the form of an x , * , or

.

40

6486x 1 . 023xx50 2.

Formulas

1. Solve nRTPV for T. 2. Solve 4xhxy for x.

Word Problems

1. One number is 5 more than twice another number. The sum of the numbers is 35. Find the numbers.

2. Sheila bought burgers and fries for her children and some friends. The burgers cost $2.05 each and the fries are $.85 each. She bought a total of 14 items, for a total cost of $19.10. How many of each did she buy?

Inequalities

Solve and graph on the number line.

1. 372x

2. 1 21x4x3

Exponents & Polynomials

Simplify and write answers with positive exponents.

1. 44x5x65x3x 22 2. 2

234

8x

1 6x32x24x

3. 265a

Factoring

1. 65xx2 2. 16 4x2x2

3. 364x2 4. 3684y49y2

Quadratic Equations

1. 029a24a 2. 1 62

23x

Rational Expressions Perform the following operations and simplify where possible. If given an equation, solve for the variable.

41

1. a2a

3a

22a

4

2x4

82x2x

82x2x

2x1 6

2.

Graphing

Graph each equation on the coordinate axis.

1. 62y3x

2. 3x

3. 2y

4. 5x3

2y

Systems of Equations

Solve the following systems of equations.

1. 92yx

1 23y2x

2.

42xy

43y2x

Radicals

Simplify the following using the rules of radicals (rationalize denominators). All variables represent positive numbers.

1. 1 08 2. 1 6273251 82

3. 40

1 5

1 8

1 2 4. 24332532

Answers

Order of Operations

1. 147

2. 671 371 037523

3. -9

Rule 1: Simplify all operations inside parentheses. Rule 2: Simplify all exponents, working from left to right. Rule 3: Perform all multiplications and divisions, left to right. Rule 4: Perform all additions and subtractions, left to right. To help remember the order of operations, use the mnemonic PEMDAS, which stands for Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication & Division, Addition & Subtraction).

42

Scientific Notation

All numbers in scientific notation have the following form: powererrestofnumbitnonzerodig 10. .

121 05.230005230.00000000 1.

0,000602,000,00 2.

1 01 01 .59

1 01 561 031 05361 0531 03 1.

51 0241 0

91 0

3

641 03

91 06

2.

Substitution

32824242434z xy z 1.

1 2

1 3

1 2

1 3

43

235

xy

z5x

2.

Linear equations in one variable

Formulas

1. TnR

PV

nR

nRT

nR

PVnRTPV

2.

x4h

y

4h

4hx

4h

y4hxy4xhxy

Word Problems

1. x = “another number” and 2x + 5 = “one number.” Remember, sum means to add. x + 2x + 5 = 35 therefore x = 10 which is “another number.” 2x + 5 = 25 which is “one number.”

1 2 x2.

9x6

54

6

6x546x 48648486x 6486x

1.

43

2. Let x = the number of burgers and 14 – x = the number of fries. To get the total amount of money spent, multiply the number of items by the cost of the item. 2.05 x = the total dollars spent on burgers and .85 (14 – x) = the total dollars spent on fries. The equation is: 2.05x + .85 (14 – x) = 19.10. Solving the equation, x = 6. Hence, she bought 6 burgers and 8 fries.

Inequalities

Solve inequalities the same as equations with one exception. When both sides are

multiplied or divided by a negative number, remember to switch the direction of the

inequality.

1. 5 x 2

1 0

2

2x 1 02x 7 377-2x 372x

2. 2

1x

Exponents & Polynomials

1. Add like terms: 2x28x44x25x65x23x

2. 24x23x28x

21 6x28x

332x28x

424x28x

21 6x332x424x

3. 3660a225a3630a30a225a65a65a2

65a

Factoring

Steps to factoring, the FOIL method:

1. Always factor out the Greatest Common Factor (if possible).

2. Factor the first and last term.

3. Figure out the middle term.

1. 65xx2 1x6x , to check, multiply back using FOIL method

2. 16 4x2x2

)82x2(x2

)4(x 2)-2(x

3. 3624x )924(x )3 (x 3)4(x

4. 267 y

5

2

1

44

Quadratic Equations

1. -2aor 4

1a 02a 014a 02a14a 029a24a or

2. The solution is given below:

-2 x 3

2 x 02x2-3x3 044x3x3

01 21 2x29x 1 61 61 641 2x29x 1 641 2x29x 1 62

23x

or

Rational Expressions

1. First, find a common denominator (factor denominators to see what you need), add, and then reduce (if possible) at the very end.

1a

5

1a2a

1 0a

1a2a

6a

1a2a

4a

2

2

1aa

3a

a

a

1a2

4

1aa

3a

1a2

4

a2a

3a

22a

4

2. Division is the same process with one extra step (invert & multiply): c

d

b

a

d

c

b

a

One other hint: 1xx1

12x4x

x22x

4x2x

x44x

2x4x

x22x

4x2x

x44x

2x4x

x2x2

4x2x

x4x4

x2x2

2x4x

4x2x

x4x42x4

82x2x

82x2x

2x1 6

Steps:

1. Get zero on one side of the equals

2. Factor

3. Set each factor to zero

4. Solve for your variable

If you cannot factor the equation and

the quadratic is in the form

0cbx2ax , then use the

quadratic formula.

2a

4ac2bbx

45

5x3

2y 4.

Graphing

1. 62y3x

3 x 2.

3. 2y

-3

2

46

2

Systems of Equations

The following are 2 dimensional linear equations. Each equation represents a line that

can be graphed on the coordinate plane. The ultimate solution to a system of

equations is for the lines to intersect in one point such as question #1 and #2.

1. The answer is x = 3 and y = 6. The work is below.

3 x 1 2632x

equation first theinto substitute Now, 6 y

1 8 4y2x- 2- by Multiply 92yx

1 23y2x 1 23y2x

2. x = 1, y = 2

Radicals

Think of the index ( index ) as a door person. If it is two, then two identical factors

inside become one outside. Also, remember these properties:

1. 54522522221 081 08

2. 2

1

44

1

24

6

40

1 5

1 8

1 2

1

83

32

8

3

3

2

Continue to reduce to yield the answer

3. Worked out below.

249

26322026

297245232

2721 6592

1 6273251 82

812

They all have as a factor

4. Worked out below.

4. 5x3

2y

n b

n anb

a

n abn bn a

47

67224061 5681 842061 5689624332532

**Use the FOIL method and multiply

Answers: 1) 12% 2) 75% 3) 40% 4) 23.3% 5) 115% 6) $330

7) 5% 8) 70%

48

Resource Guide

General Websites

www.studyguidezone.com/accuplacertest.htm

www.testprepreview.com/accuplacer_practice.htm

www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/ACCUPLACER/

www.google.com – in the search box, type “ACCUPLACER practice”

www.amazon.com – in the search box, type “ACCUPLACER”

www.sparknotes.com

www.cliffsnotes.com

Reading/Grammar Websites

www.chompchomp.com

www.dailygrammar.com

www.grammar-monster.com

Basic Math/Algebra Websites

ncc.mymathtest.com

www.purplemath.com

www.math.com

www.mathmix.com

www.algebrahelp.com

www.mathgoodies.com

Books/Study Guides

(available at libraries and major bookstores)

SAT/ACT/GED study guides (publishers such as Kaplan, Princeton Review,

CollegeBoard, Barron, McGraw-Hill)

Cliffs Quick Review book

49

References

Aims Community College. (1999). Arithmetic study guide. [PDF document].

Retrieved from http://www.aims.edu/student/assessment/studyguides/

Arithmetic.pdf

Aims Community College. (2002). Elementary algebra study guide for the ACCUPLACER

(CPT). [PDF document]. Retrieved from http://www.aims.edu/student/

assessment/studyguides/elemalg.pdf

Aims Community College English Faculty. (1999). Sentence skills study guide for the

ACCUPLACER (CPT). [PDF document]. Retrieved from http://www.aims.edu/

student/assessment/studyguides/engstudy.pdf

College Board ACCUPLACER (2007). ACCUPLACER sample questions for students.

[PDF document]. Retrieved from http://professionals.collegeboard.com/

profdownload/accuplacer-sample-questions-for-students.pdf

College Board. (2010). ACCUPLACER introduction for students. Retrieved from

http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/accuplacer/

College Board. (2010). ACCUPLACER Tests. Retrieved from http://www.collegeboard.com/

student/testing/accuplacer/accuplacer-tests.html

Oklahoma State University-Okmulgee. (n.d.). Reading comprehension study guide for the

ACCUPLACER (CPT). [PDF document] Retrieved from http://www.osuit.edu/

academics/forms/pretest_reading.pdf