After all those years of demanding classes, studying and research, along come the slew of college placement exams a student must score fairly well on to gain acceptance to a school of higher learning. The stress can be too much. However, if you don’t do well on a college placement test on the first try, it isn’t necessarily a big deal.

College Placement Exams

Most college placement exams are not pass or fail. They are a snapshot of your level of knowledge in certain areas. If you don’t do well the first time, there is room to improve by retaking most exams.

Taking the time to take college placement test prep courses either online or in the classroom can increase your chances of doing well in the first round of tests. Often, a student can retake the test and score significantly higher. Everybody has a bad day, and admissions officials rely on more than one number from a specific test when considering your college application.

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Accuplacer Exam for College Entrance

AccuPlacer measures all you know, particularly in math. There is actually no such thing as a failed Accuplacer math test because the test is based on what you know. The test includes elementary algebra, reading comprehension, sentence skills, ESL segments and the written essay portion titled WritePlacer.

The arithmetic test measures your skills in performing basic math operations as well as how you solve problems that use basic math concepts. The college-level math test has five types of questions, including:

  • Algebraic Operations
  • Functions and Trigonometry
  • Coordinate Geometry
  • Applications and Other Algebra
  • Solutions of Equations and Inequalities

The Accuplacer allows you to demonstrate your specific knowledge and skills and may be retaken once, depending on the college admissions office. The multiple-choice test has no time limit. The test is given based on your response to each question, so the difficulty level is set on how well you answer each question. Since it isn’t timed, the key to doing well on this test is to take your time.

SAT Exam Specifics

The SAT is a timed test that takes 80 minutes and contains 58 questions. It is a five-part college placement test that measures writing, critical reading and mathematics. The SAT is heavy on the math skills, with both the third and fourth sections covering math a student should have mastered in their high school classes.

A good score on the SAT can help a student get through a rigorous college admission process. The highest score on the SAT is a 1600 while a score above 1200 is considered above average for college applicants. Students can retake the test as often as they wish with the most recent six scores the only ones that an admissions board will see.

ACT for College Entrance

If you score less than a 21 on the ACT, you may retake the ACT up to 12 times within a year. It is only administered seven times a year, September through July.

There are four sections on the ACT:

  • Math
  • Reading
  • Science
  • English

College placement test prep books or online exams are highly recommended for students taking the ACT for the first time.

GED for College Placement

If you haven't graduated high school, don't let a college placement test unnerve you. Depending on how high you score on the General Education Diploma, you can use this high school equivalency test to gather college credits and gain admission to a college.

If you score above 175 on any of the four subjects of the GED, you can gain college credit. If you score below 144 on any part of the test, there is good news. Retaking the GED is a relatively simple process. Start early in studying for this standardized test to ensure you get the best score.

You can take the GED test online at an official test center on a date that works best for you. Before planning the date of your test, make sure you have secured time off of work, have no family obligations and have transportation to the test center.

About the Author

Kimberley McGee is an award-winning journalist with 20+ years of experience writing about education, jobs, business trends and more for The New York Times, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Today’s Parent and other publications. She graduated with a B.A. in Journalism from UNLV. Her full bio and clips can be seen at www.vegaswriter.com.