Placement Test Preparation

Your scores on the placement test will be used to determine which classes you will register for in your first semester. It's important to prepare for the test so that your scores accurately place you in courses that are appropriate for your skills and challenge you to learn more. You cannot "fail" the placement test. However, if your scores on the placement test are lower than your actual skill level, you may end up taking more courses than necessary. To help you prepare, we've put together some materials you can use to review your writing, reading, and math skills.

Taking the time to prepare for your placement test may result in a higher placement, which means the opportunity to complete your degree quicker and more affordably. We recommend that you take time before your test to review our placement test preparation tips.

Writing Test

You will be given three questions concerning current issues. You will be asked to select one of the three questions and to write an essay in response.

Sample Questions:

  1. For centuries, immigrants have come to the United States to take advantage of its freedoms and resources, but they have also faced many hardships to do so. Discuss several challenges facing immigrants today.
  2. Many high schools and colleges require students to perform community service in order to graduate. Discuss several advantages students gain from engaging in such projects.
  3. The media focuses a great deal of attention of the lives of movie and television stars. Discuss several disadvantages of this attention,

Your response will be evaluated according to how well you:

  • Formulate a clear and focused essay that responds to the question
  • Support the main idea of your essay with reasons and evidence appropriate to that idea
  • Develop your essay in a coherent and organized manner
  • Express your ideas using clear, effective language

You will be placed in a lower course level if you do not focus your essay around a main idea, support the main idea with reasons and evidence, effectively organize the essay, and/or express your ideas using clear, effective language.

View components of writing Help.

Reading Test

Download a sample test or view sample questions to review for the Reading Test.

Math Test

Preparation is especially important for the Math placement test. Even if you have studied several
years of math in school, you may have forgotten some of the basic concepts. Review of those concepts is essential to your correct placement in math courses.

Step 1: Go to Compass/ESL Numerical, Sample Test Questions

  • First complete the numerical skills sample questions. You must be very familiar with problems that use whole numbers, fractions, percents, and decimals.
  • Then complete the algebra sample questions. Don’t worry if you are unfamiliar with some of the topics if you did not study two years of algebra in school.
  • Look at the problems you got wrong and then review those topics in a math book at the library or with a friend who is good at math or has studied it recently. At the end of each sample set, along with the correct answers, is a list of the topics covered by each question. Most students who have completed up to three years of high school math will be well prepared if they review those two problem sets.

If you have taken advanced algebra or trigonometry, then continue to Step 2.

Step 2: Go to Compass/ESL College Algebra, Geometry, and Trigonometry Sample Test Questions

  • Review the sample questions in that document. The problems cover advanced algebra, geometry, and trigonometry. You may have learned those concepts but have forgotten them.
  • Review the topics you might have forgotten by looking at a math textbook. A college algebra or trigonometry textbook will contain those topics. Check the index for the appropriate sections.

View sample math tests.

Note: As a new RACC student, you have access to a FREE program to help you prepare for the math placement test. This online program will provide you with an individualized study plan that you can access for up to 16 weeks! Once you’ve applied to RACC, you’ll receive information about signing up for this program in the mail. Call 610-607-6224 for more information.