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Studying for College Placement Tests

Last updated August 12, 2020

Are you ready to take your college placement tests?  And maybe, it’s been a while since you’ve taken a comprehensive test and need some studying tips. Don’t worry. Here are 5 actionable steps to help with college placement tests.

Determine if you are exempt from placement tests

Check with your school’s registration office or placement test center to see which, if any, placement tests you need to take. If a placement test is required, ask how to register. You may find that you are exempt from some placement tests. An exemption might be: an adequate SAT/ACT score, a transcript from a previous college/university, or recent placement test scores.

Prepare by determining the format of the test

Visit the registration office or the placement test center to get information about the placement test format. Will they be using a testing platform such as ACCUPLACER, COMPASS, or ASSET? How long will it be? What tool(s) are you allowed to use and bring (calculator, scrap paper, etc)? What material will be covered? How will it be graded?

Gather practice tests and resources to study

While at the registration office or placement test center, ask for any practice tests and a list of suggested resources to help you prepare and study. Take one or two practice tests without studying to identify your strong and weak knowledge areas.

Practice, study, practice

Prioritize your studying by doing practice problems in the weak areas you identified. Create a schedule to go over these areas and commit to this schedule. Use any suggested resources and supplement your studying with Khan academy to help study concepts you are rusty on. Also, go to any campus workshops or study groups for the placement tests. Remember, a high score can save you both money and time! (will link to What are college placement tests which addresses this)

Do this the day before the test

Get a good night’s sleep, prepare the materials you’ll need for the test, and confirm how and when you’ll get to the test location. Give yourself enough time to get to the test location in case of unforeseen delays by leaving 30 minutes earlier or taking an earlier bus.

Learn more:

How to Answer Multiple Choice Questions

Succeed in College

First-Year Orientation

Connecting to Your College Community

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