Welcome to the Accuplacer Workshop

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Welcome to the Accuplacer Workshop

  • Tutoring and Learning Center
  • University of Texas at El Paso

The Accuplacer Workshop

  • This workshop provides a quick introduction to the Accuplacer, the test used at UTEP for course placement and to satisfy the requirements of the Texas Success Initiative.
  • It has been designed for students who are about to take the Accuplacer for the first time and who have time to study and prepare before actually taking the test.
  • Attendees will learn about the test format, the types of material that will be covered on the test, test taking strategies, and resources that can assist students preparing for the test.
  • Students may also wish to enroll other Accuplacer workshops offered by the Tutoring and Learning Center: Math 0300 (formerly BASK 0306), Math 0301 (formerly Math 0300), Math 0310, Math 0311, Math 1508/1320, Writing, and Reading.

Testing Protocols

  • First - All incoming freshmen students at UTEP must take the Accuplacer test first, unless the Admissions Office has determined otherwise.
  • Your Accuplacer scores are used to meet the Texas Success Initiative pre-enrollment assessment requirement for entering students.
  • If you do not pass all portions of Accuplacer the first time you take it, then you will continue to take it until you have passed all portions or until it has been determined by UTEP’s Academic Advising Center that you are compliant with the Texas Success Initiative.
  • Should you decide to also take classes at EPCC, then your UTEP Accuplacer scores will count at both institutions. This way you don’t have to retest.
  • Your Accuplacer scores are also used to determine into which courses you place at UTEP (or EPCC).


  • Apply for admission to UTEP. The Office of Admissions will determine which Accuplacer tests you need to take. Only the Office of Admissions can determine if you are exempt from taking the Accuplacer tests.
  • Reserve a seat online at http://testing.utep.edu, or in person at the Student Assessment and Testing Office, Education Building Room 210, or by calling the Test Reservation line at (915) 747-5009.
  • Report to the Student Assessment and Testing Office at least 15 minutes early to check in. If you are late, you will not be allowed to take the test.
  • You must present an acceptable form of identification.

Acceptable Forms of ID

  • US Driver’s License
  • UTEP ID Card
  • Passport
  • US Military ID Card
  • US Alien Registration Card
  • US Department of Public Safety ID Card
  • Notarized letter with notary stamp on the document & photo
  • US High School Yearbook

Register Early!!!!!

  • Register early – space is limited. If you have not pre-registered, you may test on a “standby” basis – but you will be admitted only if space is available.

Test Placement

  • Your Accuplacer scores will determine into which courses you will place.
  • Know This/Believe This: You need to take the Accuplacer tests seriously and do your very best work as your test results will impact on how much your college education costs and how much time it takes to complete your degree.

Test Placement

  • Reading:
    • Depending on your Accuplacer reading score you may place into one of the following courses:
      • READ 0307 – a pre-college reading course taught by EPCC (formerly BASK 0323).
      • READ 0308 – a pre-college reading course taught by EPCC.
      • ENGL 0310 – Reading & Communication Skills. A student who places at this level or below is not eligible to take reading-intensive courses, for example HIST 1301, PSYC 1301, POLS 2310.

Test Placement

    • Writing:
    • Depending on your Accuplacer writing score you may place into one of the following courses:
      • ENGL 0300 – a pre-college writing course taught by EPCC (formerly BASK 0303).
      • ENGL 0311 – Basic English Composition.
      • ENGL 1311 – Expository English Composition AND ENGL 0111 – Expository Composition Workshop.
      • ENGL 1311 – Expository English Composition.

Test Placement

  • Math
    • The Elementary Algebra test is administered first to determine which math placement test the student will take.
    • If your Elementary Algebra score is 20-62 you will take the Arithmetic Test.
    • If your Elementary Algebra score is 63-120 you will take the College Level Math Test.

Test Placement

    • Math:
    • Depending on your Accuplacer math score you may place into one of the following courses:
      • Math 0300 – a pre-college math course taught by EPCC (formerly BASK 0306)
      • MATH 0301 – a pre-college math course taught by EPCC (formerly Math 0300)
      • MATH 0310 – Introductory Algebra.
      • MATH 0311 – Intermediate Algebra.
      • MATH 1320 – Math for Social Sciences or MATH 1508 – Precalculus.
      • MATH 2301 – Math for Social Sciences II or MATH 1411 – Calculus I.

The Texas Success Initiative

  • Reading students who score 78-120 have satisfied the requirements of the Texas Success Initiative.
  • Writing students who score 6-8, and those who score 5 combined with a Sentence Skills score of 80-120, have satisfied the requirements of the Texas Success Initiative.
  • Math students who score 63 or higher on the College Level Math section have satisfied the requirements of the Texas Success Initiative.

Talk to Your Academic Advisor

  • For specific questions about your scores, class placement, and requirements of the Texas Success Initiative, contact your academic advisor.
  • The Academic Advising Center is located in the Academic Services Building, Room 201 Telephone (915) 747-5290 www.utep.edu/advising/

Taking the Test

  • The Accuplacer Test:
  • The only section that is timed is the essay for the writing test. You will have one hour.
  • For all other sections which are multiple choice, you take as much time as you need.
  • You take the test on computer.
  • You branch to harder or easier questions depending on the answers you give.
  • You may use a standard four-function calculator which will be supplied by the testing office.

Pre-Test Resources

  • Know This: The language used in the study guides, the test bulletins, and on the tests themselves is generally very formal, very academic sounding, and very intimidating. If you’re familiar with the language before you test, then you’ve already dealt with these issues, and you’re ready to do your best on the test.
  • Websites
  • www.utep.edu/testing - offers sample test questions for you to review and information about registration and costs.
  • http://www.milwaukee.tec.wi.us/profile/studentserv/admiss/Accu_Sample_Questions.htm - a sample test.
  • http://www.Accuplacer.nesinc.com - offers another sample test for you to take
  • http://www.tlc.utep.edu/fallmathworkshops.htm - offers a “Quick Basic Math Review”
  • www.mymathtest.com – offers help with preparing for standardized math tests
  • Study Guides
  • The Official TASP Test Study Guide by NES
  • Any study guide for the SAT or ACT tests
  • Software
  • The Princteon Review “Inside the SAT & ACT 2003 Deluxe”

Practice Venues

  • The Tutoring and Learning Center (Library 300)
  • Computer Access
    • If you don’t have a computer at home, you can come to the TLC and use one of the computers in the Learning Assistance Lab (Room 326). You can access the Web sites in this manner.
    • We also have some SAT software that you can work with if you wish.
  • Practice Accuplacer Tests
    • You can come to the TLC and take a practice diagnostic Accuplacer test. We will then grade it or let you grade it.
    • Once you know the areas on which you need to work, then you can go to either the Math Room or the Writing Room and ask for help with the specific problems that you got wrong.
  • Study Guides
    • If you don’t wish to buy a study guide, then you may come to the TLC and work with one of ours.
    • If you have questions, then you can go to the Writing Room or the Math Room and ask for help.
  • Note: Check in with the front desk and get a temporary ID if you aren’t a registered UTEP student.

Before the Test

  • Do not party the night before. Get a decent night’s rest.
  • Eat something before the test. A nutritious breakfast would be best, but something in your stomach is better than nothing.
  • Don’t overdo the caffeine before the test.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to the Testing Center. Arriving late will mean that you are not allowed to enter and take the test.
  • Do not buy a study guide the night before the test and try to cram 600 pages of information into your brain. You’ll just make yourself a nervous wreck.

During the Test: Anxiety Control

  • Spend a couple of minutes monitoring your breathing: In through your nose for the count of five and out through your mouth for the count of five.
  • Try some isometric exercises in your seat. Tighten various muscle groups throughout your body starting with your feet for a count of five, then release.

General Test Taking Strategies

  • Read the directions—even if you think you know what they say. Read them anyway.
  • Since the Accuplacer is a computer adaptive test, there is no test to write on. But you can use scratch paper to jot down key words, make notes, work out problems, and so on.
  • Do double check your answers before you submit them.

More Test Taking Strategies

  • If you don’t know an answer, then GUESS. Guess smart, but guess. Accuplacer is computer adaptive. This means that you must answer each question in order to move on and once you have moved on you cannot go back.
  • If you don’t KNOW the correct answer to a question, try to eliminate the obviously wrong answers. Use the process of elimination to make it easier for you to make an educated guess.

Testing Room Rules

  • The majority of national and institutional tests (including Accuplacer) discourage test-takers from leaving the testing room. You are allowed to leave the test room only under the most urgent of circumstances.
  • If you do leave the room, be sure not to take any of your scratch papers with you.
  • Also, you MUST receive the room proctor’s permission before leaving the room. Be sure to follow the rules about where you may go and where you may not go. You don’t want to get kicked out of the test just because you felt the need to stretch your legs.

More Testing Room Rules

  • Leave and re-enter the room quietly so as not to disturb the others taking the test.
  • Do not bring pagers, beepers, cell phones, CD players, or other electronics into the Testing Room. Be sure to turn off any noise makers on your watch.
  • Try not to not leave the room if you can possibly help it as it is usually a form of avoidance. Most people do NOT come back more focused and better able to perform.
  • Know This: Are these all of the rules associated with Accuplacer? No, there are many more. Pay attention to your room proctor.

Accuplacer Reading Comprehension

  • The Skills:
  • Identify word or phrase meanings through the context in which they are presented
  • Understand literal and interpretive meaning
  • Understand the writer’s assumptions, opinions, and tone
  • The Format:
  • You will read either sentences or short reading selections and then answer questions based on the information read.

Sample Questions for Sentence Skills

  • Question 1: Select the best version of the underlined part of the sentence. The first choice is the same as the original.
  • 1. Ms. Rose planning to teach a course in biology next summer.
  • a) planning
  • b) are planning
  • c) with a plan
  • d) plans

Question 2: You are asked to rewrite a sentence in your mind. You will be told how to begin your new sentence. Your new sentence should be well written and should have essentially the same meaning as the original sentence.

  • Being a female jockey, she was often interviewed.
  • Rewrite, beginning with “She was often interviewed…”
  • The next words should be
  • a) on account of she was
  • b) by her being
  • c) because she was
  • d) being as she was

Question 3: Reading Comprehension. You will read a statement or passage and then choose the best answer to the question. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage

  • There are two types of pottery that I do. There is production pottery – mugs, tableware – the kinds of things that sell easily. These pay for my time to do the other work, which is more creative and satisfies my needs as an artist.
  • The author of the passage implies that
  • a) artists have a tendency to waste valuable time
  • b) creativity and mass production are incompatible
  • c) most people do not appreciate good art
  • d) pottery is not produced by creative artists

4. In other questions, two underlined sentences are followed by a question or statement. Choose the best answer to the question, or the best completion of the statement.

  • The Midwest is experiencing its worst drought in fifteen years.
  • Corn and soybean prices are expected to be very high this year.
  • What does the second sentence do?
  • a) It restates the idea found in the first.
  • b) It states an effect.
  • c) It gives an example.
  • d) It analyzes the statement made in the first.

Accuplacer Essay Section

  • The Skills:
  • Demonstrate knowledge about using standard forms of written English
  • Connect ideas appropriately
  • Maintain consistency in writing
  • The Five Characteristics:
  • Focus – Keep your main idea clear
  • Organization – Your essay should follow a logical sequence and structure
  • Development and Support – Elaborate and provide supporting details
  • Sentence Structure – Sentences should be effective
  • Mechanical Conventions – Your writing should be free from mistakes in usage and mechanics

The Essay Section

  • The essay:
  • Must be multi-paragraph
  • Will always be persuasive
  • DO NOT skip the essay portion. Some people think that the Math and Reading Sections are all that they have to worry about. WRONG!
  • If you pass the Writing Section of the Accuplacer, then you will place into ENGL 1311 – Expository English Composition.
  • The Accuplacer is not looking for the best piece of writing you have ever done. It wants you to show that you can create a competently written, decently organized, nicely supported essay. Do not try to get fancy. Do not get overly creative. A plain Jane, by the book, five paragraph essay works.

Sample Essay Question

  • Some schools require each student to participate in an organized school sport chosen by the student. People at these schools argue that athletics is an important part of the educational experience and that there should be a rule requiring participation. Others argue that students should be free to decide whether or not they wish to participate in organized school sports.
  • Write an essay for a classroom instructor in which you take a position on whether or not participation in organized school athletics should be required. Be sure to defend your position with logical arguments and appropriate examples.

Del Valle’s Six Steps for Passing Accuplacer Essay

  • Analyze essay prompt. Identify SOAP elements and all specific instructions. SOAP = Subject, Occasion, Audience, Purpose
  • Turn essay prompt into THESIS STATEMENT that answers the prompt question.
  • Think of THREE POINTS to support thesis statement.
  • Turn essay prompt into INTRODUCTION that includes the thesis statement and demonstrates awareness of SOAP elements.
  • Turn each point into a well-developed PARAGRAPH.
  • Write a CONCLUSION which restates main point(s) in different words. Do not introduce a new point in the conclusion.

Math Section

  • The Accuplacer will test your knowledge of
  • Basic Math
  • Elementary Algebra
  • College Level Math
  • Know This:
  • Standardized tests are heavy on word problems. You will be asked to demonstrate not only that you can solve equations but that you can also create equations based on the information provided in a specific word problem. Your reading skills will be very important when taking this section of the test.
  • The test makers are tricky. For each question, they figured out the common mistakes that students make and included those wrong answers among the possible answers. Just because you can create an equation that delivers an answer that is listed as a possible answer, does not mean that you are then ready to cruise on to the next question. Be sure to double check that your answer is truly correct.

Sample Question for Arithmetic

  • 1. 10 + 3 =
  • a) 7
  • b) 13
  • c) 30
  • d) 40

Elementary Algebra Skills

  • The Skills:
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of algebraic operations
  • - factoring
  • - squaring binomials
  • - factoring polynomials
  • Find the solutions of equations and inequalities
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of basic geometry
  • Demonstrate your knowledge of applications in statistics, probability, and data interpretation

Sample Question for Elementary Algebra

  • 2. 2x + 3x + y =
  • a) 6x
  • b) 5x + y
  • c) 5(x + y)
  • d) 6x + y

Sample Question for College Level Math Skills

  • 3. If the 1st and 3rd terms of a geometric sequence are 3 and 27 respectively, then the 2nd term could be
  • a) 6
  • b) 9
  • c) 15
  • d) 18

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • How long will it take to get my scores from the Accuplacer Test?
  • Your scores will be available in about twenty minutes.
  • How much does it cost to retake the Accuplacer?
  • Math retake $20
  • Writing retake $20
  • Reading retake $10
  • When can I retake the Accuplacer?
  • Tests cannot be taken more than twice in 120 days. You must present the score reports from previous tests in order to retake Accuplacer.


  • Visit the Tutoring & Learning Center
  • 300 Library
  • http://academics.utep.edu/tlc

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