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About the Algebra Placement Test

Algebra Test Preparation Resources

These excellent free websites provides thousands of practice problems with step-by-step explanations. Please be aware that these websites can be used as part of an overall preparation plan. Students are encouraged to review basic mathematics including percentages, fractions, exponents and area.

  • Number2: Create an account and access a free customized test preparation course that includes user-friendly tutorials and practice sessions that dynamically adapt to each student's ability level.
  • College Board Sample Questions from Accuplacer
  • College Board "Inside the Test" information
  • Khan Academy: Extensive Algebra instructional videos that feature step-by-step process to solving Algebra problems and includes written transcripts and video sub-titles.

Effective Math Study Habits

  • Effective study habits will make a significant difference in how fast and how well you will improve your Arithmetic and Algebra knowledge.
  • Schedule study sessions to help you discipline yourself to develop a routine.
  • Study 4-6 days a week for 30 – 60 minute sessions using online websites.
  • Keep a notebook, date every study session, write each problem and show in detail all the steps to the solution.
  • Note the problems that you cannot solve and ask the Math Center Tutor for help. Write all study strategies and problem solving steps that the tutor reviews with you.
  • Before starting every new study session, spend 10 minutes reviewing previously learned material. Ongoing review is critical to proving to yourself that you really know how to solve each type of Arithmetic and Algebra problem.
  • Always study without a calculator. A calculator is not allowed on the test.
  • Say aloud the process and steps to solving each problem. This process of challenging yourself to explain how to solve the problem gives you accurate feedback on your level of understanding.

ACCUPLACER Algebra Placement Test Description

The online Algebra Placement Test is not timed and consists of a total of 12-14 questions in three categories:

  1. Operations with integers and rational numbers, including computation with integers and negative rationals, the use of absolute values, and ordering.
  2. Operations with algebraic expressions using evaluation of simple formulas and expressions, and adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials. Questions involve multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, the evaluation of positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring.
  3. Translating written phrases into algebraic expressions and solving equations, inequalities, word problems, linear equations and inequalities, quadratic equations (by factoring), and verbal problems presented in an algebraic context.

Topics Include:

  • Integers and Rationals
  • Ordering
  • Operations with signed numbers
  • Absolute Value
  • Algebraic Expressions
  • Evaluating formulas and other algebraic expressions
  • Addition and subtraction of monomials and polynomials
  • Multiplication of monomials and polynomials
  • Positive rational roots and exponents
  • Squaring a binomial
  • Factoring difference of squares
  • Factoring ax² + bx + c over the integers
  • Factoring polynomials that are not quadratics
  • Operations with algebraic fractions involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.
  • Division of monomials and polynomials including simplification of algebraic fractions.
  • Equations, Inequalities, and Word Problems
  • Solving linear equations and inequalities
  • Systems of linear equations
  • Quadratic equations solution by factoring
  • Translating written phrases or sentences into algebraic expressions or equations
  • Solving verbal problems in an algebraic context including geometric reasoning
  • Graphing

Algebra Placement Test Results

The following Algebra placement test results determine the first level Mathematics course that students can enroll at Fitchburg State University they are:

82 + = Passing

Students can enroll in the first level course required for their major.

20 to 81 = Basic Math

This is a pre-requisite Algebra course. Students earn 3 college credits that count toward their overall Grade Point Average (GPA) but do not count towards the Mathematics requirement for graduation. Passing this course allows students to enroll in the first level mathematics course required for the major.  For many majors, a student with an adjusted high school GPA which is 2.7 or above can enter directly into the first required math course in their major regardless of their placement results. 

Retaking the Placement Test

Students are permitted to re-take the algebra placement test one additional time.  Re-take test dates will begin in July and run throughout the summer.  Students can re-take the algebra test anytime during their first year at the University.  For more information click here.

Elementary Algebra Proficiency Statements

Total Right Score of About 25

Students at this level have minimal prealgebra skills. These students demonstrate:

  • a sense of order relationships and the relative size of signed numbers.
  • the ability to multiply a whole number by a binomial.

Total Right Score of About 57

Students scoring at this level have minimal elementary algebra skills. These students can:

  • perform operations with signed numbers
  • combine like terms
  • multiply binomials
  • evaluate algebraic expressions

Total Right Score of About 76

Students at this level have sufficient elementary algebra skills. By this level, the skills that were beginning to emerge at a total right score of 57 have been developed. Students at this level can:

  • add radicals, add algebraic fractions, and evaluate algebraic expressions.
  • factor quadratic expressions in the form ax2+bx+c, where a=1
  • factor the difference of squares
  • square binomials
  • solve linear equations with integer coefficients

Total Right Score of About 108

Students at this level have substantial elementary algebra skills. These students can:

  • simplify algebraic expressions
  • factor quadratic expressions where a=1
  • solve quadratic equations
  • solve linear equations with fractional and literal coefficients and linear inequalities with integer coefficients.
  • solve systems of equations
  • identify graphical properties of equations and inequalities.