The Purpose of a College Placement Test

Skill levels of students entering college are highlighted through the College Placement Test. The Test is taken after you are admitted to the school. CPTs enable colleges to place all students at an appropriate course level. The Placement Test reflects the efforts of community colleges and universities to find the best fit between you and your classes as you begin your college education.

CPT Content

Various states, colleges and companies have developed different versions of the CPT. However, the Test generally covers three main areas including:

You may also encounter a Science Placement Test or a test written completely in a foreign language. Answering the call for appropriate placement of students who speak English as a secondary language, the ESOL Placement Test – English for Speakers of Other Languages - was established. There are two criteria for taking an ESOL Test:

  • English is not the student’s first language
  • ESOL preparatory courses may be needed

Before beginning your exam preparation, be sure to check with the admissions office of your college to determine which subjects are being tested.

Taking a College Placement Test

When participating in a CPT you can expect to encounter an untimed test that generally takes students between 1.5 and 2 hours to complete.

You may have the ability to take each test subject twice within a three-year period if attending schools such as Portland Community College (PCC). You may also discover that your math score remains valid for three years, while the results of your Reading and Writing Tests are valid indefinitely.

Some CPTs such as the Accuplacer Placement Test are administered by computer and contain flexible sets of questions. Therefore, you will find that questions increase or decrease in their level of difficulty depending on your answers to previous questions.

How to Prepare for CPTs

You have seen in high school that studying for an exam spells the difference between a positive result and a negative grade. The most effective means of studying for a Placement Test is working on a college placement practice test until you are comfortable with the question formats and content.

Carefully reading a CPT study guide such as the one provided by TestPrep-Online, also contributes to a successful test outcome. The goal is to achieve an in-depth understanding of the questions and thorough test practice.

The Advantage of College Placement Test Preparation

Your CPT result is a primary factor in determining which college courses you will take as you enter your first semester of college. The benefit of doing well on a College Placement Test is the opportunity to place out of various introductory courses. The end product is the establishment of a shorter and more affordable timetable within which to complete your degree.

On the other side of that same coin, is a Remedial set of courses that await students who exhibit a weakness in one or more subject areas. Since the CPT identifies the strengths and weaknesses in each student’s academic skills, it is essential to you that your CPT result shows a picture of strengths as you prepare your initial class schedule. An online College Placement Test practice program is well worth your time and effort.

Does the University you are applying to utilize the ACCUPLACER for placement evaluation? Check out our ACCUPLACER prep products!


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