ACCUPLACER Test FAQ's

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is the ACCUPLACER Placement Test?

  • The ACCUPLACERPlacement Test is designed to assist the institution in placing students into appropriate math & English courses and, if necessary, into developmental or preparatory courses.

2. Who must take the ACCUPLACER Test?

Students will need to take all or part of the Accuplacer test if:

  1. They have not taken the ACT within five years from date of enrollment and have not taken and passed any college level English or math courses.
  2. They have a Math Index Score below 1150.
  3. They have a Math Index Score of 1150 or higher and are seeking higher math placement than College Algebra.
  4. They have a Math Index Score of an 1150 or higher and want to challenge their course placement. Students are permitted to take Accuplacer twice and have the option of taking the higher of the two scores. Be advised that a deficiency warrants serious contemplation and students should consider the class that best reflects the requirements of math success. At School of Mines, advanced math, especially calculus, is a mainstay in the curriculum, regardless of major.
  5. They scored 17 or less on their ACT English.

Accuplacer results are designed to assist the institution in placing students into appropriate math and English courses or, if necessary, into developmental or preparatory courses. We caution students that successful completion of a high school course (e.g., trigonometry) does not guarantee that this course has been mastered at the college level. Placement is confirmed by passing the appropriate Accuplacer test area. See section on Math Index Score and math placement below.

Math Index Score

3. Why is the ACCUPLACER Test required?

  • The ACCUPLACER test assists the school in placing students in the most appropriate classes that lead to success in a field of study.

4. How do I best prepare for the ACCUPLACER Test?

  • Become familiar with the high school math (such as algebra, geometry and trigonometry) and English grammar/punctuation skills.
  • Review the College Board/ACCUPLACER website which has sample questions and test items. Additional information regarding the ACCUPLACER test is available on the website for placement and diagnostic purposes.
  • Stay calm and do not rush through the test. The ACCUPLACER is not timed.
  • Be reasonably comfortable in test taking situations (do not experience above normal test anxiety).
  • Sleep well the night before the test.

The math portion of the test does not allow a calculator. One is embedded in the test program. It is a continuum of tests, beginning with pre-algebra and continuing on to algebra, college algebra, trigonometry & pre-calculus. If it has been a couple of years since you took algebra or if you are rusty in trigonometry, you may want to review these subjects so you will perform better on the test.

5. If I am a transfer student, do I have to take the ACCUPLACER Test?

  • If you have completed and passed calculus I, but have not taken a trigonometry course, you still must be trigonometry proficient to take Calculus II. This requires that you take the ACCUPLACER test. If you have a grade of C or better in college algebra, you may take trigonometry without taking the ACCUPLACER test. If you have a grade of C or better in college trigonometry, you may take Calculus I, without taking the ACCUPLACER test.

6. If I have taken AP Calculus do I need to take the ACCUPLACER Test?

  • Students who complete an AP Calculus class and score a “3” or higher on the placement test will be placed in the next higher Calculus class (Calc II for AP-AB; Calc III for AP-BC); an ACCUPLACER test is not required.
  • Students who complete an AP Calculus class, but fail to score a “3” or higher on the placement test, must take the ACCUPLACER test to determine proper Math class placement.
  • Any student may voluntarily request to enter a lower level math class than determined by placement method if he/she is not comfortable with the higher level of placement.

7. What happens if I think the results of the ACCUPLACER Test are not an accurate reflection of my abilities?

  • You have one opportunity to challenge your ACCUPLACER test score and retake the exam; however, there is an administrative cost of $17.00.

8. How do I make arrangements to take the ACCUPLACER Test?

  • Arrangements can be made by going to the new student checklist on the SDSM&T homepage or by calling the Tutoring and Testing Coordinator's office at (605) 394-2428 (605) 394-2428
  • It is given at all SD Regental intuitions, and they will administer the test for the students coming to the School of Mines. Contact the School of Mines for further information.
  • However, students are not enrolled in Fall classes until after the ACCUPLACER is taken, so they are encouraged to take the ACCUPLACER as soon as possible rather than postponing the test for a later date. Contact the Tutoring and Testing Coordinator's office at (605) 394-2428 or (605) 394-2400. .
  • The ACCUPLACER is a national test used by many technical and community colleges, as well as universities. If you do not live close to a South Dakota university, and want to take the test without traveling to the area, you may contact Thomas Mahon at thomas.mahon@sdsmt.edu or (605) 394-2428 or the Registrar and Academic Services office at (605) 394-2400 to find a school closer to your home. The school would have to send the School of Mines the scores via fax at (605) 394-1268.

9. Is there a cost to take the ACCUPLACER Test?

  • No, unless you are challenging a course placement based on an ACT of 24 or less or placement by a previous administration of the ACCUPLACER test. If you are challenging a prior placement, the fee is $17.00.

10. What happens after I take the ACCUPLACER Test?

  • With your ACCUPLACER test scores and utilizing registration information, the School of Mines will construct a unique semester schedule just for you. You will be given an opportunity to choose general education classes by going to a course registration webpage and to discuss your scores and courses with a professional from Registrar and Academic Services.

11. Is there a chart that shows how ACCUPLACER test scores impact math and English placement?

12. Who and how do I contact someone if I have questions about the COMPASS Test?

Testing at Mines

Need placement testing help or information?
Contact Tom Mahon
Tutoring and Testing Coordinator
(605) 394-2428
Thomas.Mahon@sdsmt.edu  

TLC (Tech Learning Center)
South Dakota School of Mines & Technology
501 E. St. Joseph St.
Rapid City, SD  57701-3995 

Visit our Exams and Testing website for more information on testing for college credit, exam proctoring, and more.