What's the Accuplacer?

  • The Accuplacer test determines how you start your college career – which can affect how and even whether you finish! Yet many students have never heard of it. By familiarizing yourself with the Accuplacer now, you can prepare to enter college at the highest level you can to increase your odds of college success.

    What is the Accuplacer?

    The Accuplacer is a test that determines whether you are ready for college-level courses in different subject areas. Unlike other exams, this test is not "pass/fail." Instead, the Accuplacer generates scores that reflect how prepared you are in subject areas like math, reading and writing. These scores are used to place you in the appropriate level of classes at the start of college.

    Why does the Accuplacer matter?

    The Accuplacer determines whether you can start taking college-level courses, which can affect how long it takes to complete your education. For example, if your Accuplacer score places you in a developmental math class, you will get to brush up on your math skills but you won't get college-credit for the class. This means it will take you longer to finish college than it would for someone who started a college-level math class right away.

    The length of time it takes to finish college is an important factor for many students. The longer you take to graduate, the longer you must pay for college-related expenses (like books and transportation) and the longer it will take to start working full-time. For some, this waiting game can be discouraging.

    The best way to start and finish college on-time is to do your best on the Accuplacer. Studying for the Accuplacer may take some time – but not nearly as much time as the weeks spent in a developmental class you could have placed out of! You will be glad to start college as far ahead as you can get.

    Who takes the Accuplacer? 

    Most new students who enter a public college in Massachusetts will have to take at least some portion of the Accuplacer as part of college placement testing. Some colleges make exceptions for students based on SAT scores, GPA or Advanced Placement classes.

    What does the test look like? 

    The Accuplacer is a computer-based untimed test, meaning you can complete it at your own pace. Your answer to each multiple-choice question determines the next question's level of difficulty. Different colleges may administer different parts of the test. But the three main subject areas are reading, writing, and math.

    How do I take the Accuplacer? 

    Once you are admitted, you will need to set up an appointment with your college to take the Accuplacer and/or any other college placement testing the school requires.

    How do I prepare for the test?

    There are many resources available to you. The College Board, which administers the Accuplacer, offers free online prep materials, which include an app and a downloadable practice test.  BHCC has a page of sample questions on its website while MassBay offers free test workshops in math, reading and writing.