November 19, 2013

Accuplacer Math

The math portion of the Accuplacer test consists of arithmetic, elementary algebra, and college level mathematics.


Arithmetic is the most basic form of mathematics. Arithmetic includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The arithmetic portion of the Accuplacer math test contains 17 questions. The student must know how to solve problems with the following:

  • Whole numbers (0, 1, 2, 3, etc.), also known as “counting” numbers.
  • Fractions or portions of numbers, such as 3/4 or 1/16.
  • Decimals, or numbers with a base of ten, written as 0.10, etc.
  • Percentages, or numbers as a fraction of 100, such as 34% or 34 out of 100.

Elementary Algebra

Elementary algebra is the building block of all algebra. Elementary algebra uses symbols (a, x, y, etc.) in place of numbers to solve equations for the unknown value. There are 12 elementary algebra questions on the Accuplacer math test. Students should expect problems involving the following:

  • Integers, or “natural” numbers like 1, 2, 3, along with the negative versions of these numbers (-1, -2, -3, etc.).
  • Rational numbers, or numbers that can be written as a fraction of integers; whole numbers are rational numbers (7/1 equals 7); other examples of rational numbers are -2/3 and 2.65.
  • Algebraic equations with one or more unknowns, such as 2y = x2 + 6.
  • Expressions with one factor (monomial, 3a or 2b) or more than one factor (polynomial, 5x + 1, x/4 + y/3).
  • Inequalities with the symbols < (less than), > (greater than), = (less than or equal to), = (greater than or equal to), and ? (not equal to).
  • Story problems that might involve more than one step to solve.

College level Mathematics

This section of the test has 20 questions. It consists of advanced algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and pre-calculus. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Algebraic operations such as factoring (numbers multiplied to get another number), exponents (numbers raised to a power, such as 52 or 5 x 5), and quadratic equations (ax2 + bx + c = 0).
  • Geometry with lines, intersections, and the coordinate plane.
  • Trigonometry, which consists of triangles and angles.
  • Functions with logarithms (x = logby) and complex numbers.