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Accuplacer Guide


All students accepted into a degree or certificate program at the Community College of Rhode Island are required to complete the mandatory ACCUPLACER assessment in order to ensure appropriate placement in classes. Students not enrolled in a degree or certificate program are encouraged to complete the ACCUPLACER assessment.

The ACCUPLACER test assesses students’ skill levels in writing, reading, and mathematics. The results of the assessment, in conjunction with a student’s academic background, goals and interests, are used by academic advisors/counselors to determine course selection.

Inside you will find answers to many commonly asked questions regarding placement testing including:

What is the test about?

How long does it take?

How can I prepare for the test?

How do I schedule a test?

Mandatory Course Placement

Community College of Rhode Island is committed to student success. It is the policy of CCRI to utilize mandatory placement testing in writing, reading, and mathematics. Mandatory course placement helps ensure that each student is appropriately advised regarding course registration. The benefit of mandatory placement testing is that Academic Advisors/Counselors are better equipped to place students into courses that will strengthen their academic potential, challenge their abilities, and maximize their academic success.

Type of Test

The placement test consists of four parts. The first part of the test requires you to write an essay. Upon completion of the essay, you will use a computer for the remaining three parts of the ACCUPLACER Assessment. The computerized tests are multiple choice and cover the areas of reading comprehension, mathematics, and sentence skills. A test administrator will be present throughout the testing session to answer any questions you may have.

Written Essay

The ability to write effectively is critical to academic success. You will be given 45 minutes for the writing portion of the placement test, and you will have several topics to respond to in writing a 5 paragraph essay.

Sentence Skills Test

There are two kinds of questions given in the Sentence Skills test: Sentence correction questions ask you to choose a word or a phrase to substitute for an underlined portion of a sentence; Construction shift questions ask that a sentence be rewritten in a specific way without changing the meaning. This test has 20 questions.

Reading Comprehension Test

This test measures your analytical and comprehensive reading skills and your ability to effectively apply what you have read. This test consists of 20 questions.

Arithmetic Test

This test measures your ability to perform basic operations and solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts. This test contains 17 questions.

Elementary Algebra Test

This test measures your ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems that involve elementary algebraic concepts. This test contains 12 questions.

College Algebra Test

Depending on your score in the Elementary Algebra Test, you may be required to complete the College Algebra Test. This test measures your ability to perform college-level algebraic operations and to solve problems that involve college-level algebraic concepts. This test contains 20 questions.

Computer Skills Placement (CSP)

CSP assesses student competency in basic computer skills. CSP helps schools place students in appropriate computer skills courses. In addition, the increasing use of distance learning and online courses requires computer skills that CSP can assess.

Computerized–Adaptive Testing

ACCUPLACER is an adaptive test. This means that the computer automatically determines which questions are presented to you based on your response to prior questions. This technique selects just the right questions for your level of ability. Each test is un-timed so that you can give each question as much thought as you wish. However, once you have selected and confirmed your answer, you cannot return to that question. The greater your demonstrated skill, the more challenging the questions will become.

Testing Time

You are given 45 minutes to complete the written essay. The computerized reading, sentence skills, math and computer skills tests are un-timed. Generally, students take 2 ½ - 3 hours to complete the full test.

Test Preparation

A student cannot "pass" or "fail" the placement tests. To ensure that test scores accurately represent their skill levels, students may wish to review basic concepts in reading, grammar, arithmetic, and algebra before taking ACCUPLACER, especially if they have been away from school for more than a year. Many students find that a GED or SAT review book (available at local bookstores and public libraries) is helpful in refreshing their basic skills.

CCRI has also developed a helpful review packet that can assist you in preparing to take the ACCUPLACER tests. The review packet contains a number of sample questions for each of the tests, as well as suggested resources for review of basic arithmetic and algebra concepts. To obtain a copy of the review packet, you can either download and print a PDF* version here or stop by the Advising and Counseling Office at any of the campuses.

Students may also prepare for the ACCUPLACER Assessment by downloading and printing the "Accuplacer Sample Questions for Students" - 26 page PDF*

Testing Regulations

Calculators, textbooks, protractors, notebooks, dictionaries or other papers of any kind (with the exception of scratch paper provided by the Test Administrator) will not be allowed in the testing room. Additionally, anyone who gives or receives help during the test, or uses notes, books or calculators of any kind will not be allowed to continue the test. The College will disregard a test score if there is reason to question its validity.

Making an Appointment for Testing

To schedule your ACCUPLACER appointment, please contact the Advising and Counseling Office at:

401-825-2301 - Warwick Campus

401-333-7159 - Lincoln Campus

401-455-6149 - Providence Campus

401-851-1631 - Newport County Campus

Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

If you require test accommodations due to a documented disability, please contact the Office of Disability Services prior to your appointment at:

401-825-2164 - Warwick Campus

401-333-7329 - Lincoln Campus

401-455-6064 - Providence Campus

401-851-1650 - Newport County Campus

Waiver of the Test

Students may qualify for a waiver of the ACCUPLACER Assessment if they have completed ACCUPLACER at another facility within the past year, or have transfer credits in college-level English and math classes. Please see a representative from the Advising and Counseling Office for details.

IMPORTANT: Mandatory Placement Information

Mandatory placement means that your scores will be used to determine your first semester classes. Please note that should your scores result in the need to take developmental or prerequisite classes, your graduation and/or transfer to other four year colleges or universities may be delayed.

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Last Updated: 12/27/16