Placement Tests

If you have not previously taken the ACT or SAT exams, DeVry utilizes Computer Placement Tests (CPT) to place you in the appropriate courses schedule so that you succeed. There are separate tests for reading, writing, arithmetic, and elementary algebra. Each test is administered by computer, though no previous experience with computers is necessary. After finishing the tests, students meet with a representative to discuss the results.

Because you take the tests on a computer, you don't have to answer as many questions as on a traditional paper-and-pencil test for reading, arithmetic and algebra. The tests use adaptive techniques, allowing the computer to determine which questions to present based on your prior answers. It "zeroes in" on just the right questions for you.

For reading and arithmetic there are 17 questions. For algebra there are 12 questions. The questions appear one at a time on the computer screen and are multiple-choice. All you will need to do is use the mouse to select the correct answer. When you have completed the question and verified your answer, the next question will be presented. There is no time limit for these three tests. However, once you have verified your answer, you cannot return to that question.

The writing test requires you to write a short essay on a topic it will give you. You will have an hour for this test.

Sample Questions

Reading Comprehension

This test is designed to measure how well you understand what you read. It contains 20 questions. Some are of the sentence relationship type in which you must choose how sentences are related. Other questions refer to reading passages of varying length.

[Sample Reading Comprehension Questions]

Essay Test

WritePlacer has been designed so that you should not be rushed and will have enough time to plan, write, review, and revise your essay. It will be scored on the overall quality of your writing.

[Example Essay Test]


The arithmetic test measures your skills in three primary categories. The first is operations with whole numbers and fractions. This includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and recognizing equivalent fractions and mixed numbers. The second category involves operations with decimals and percents. It includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division as well as percent problems, decimal recognition, fraction and percent equivalences, and estimation problems. The last category tests applications and problem solving. Questions include rate, percent, and measurement problems, geometry problems, and distribution of a quantity into its fractional parts. Up to 17 questions are asked.

[Sample Arithmetic Questions]

Elementary Algebra

There are also three categories in the Elementary Algebra Test. The first category, operations with integers and rational numbers, includes computation with integers and negative rationals, the use of absolute values, and ordering. The second category is operations with algebraic expressions. It tests your skills in evaluating simple formulas and expressions, and in adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials. Both of these categories include questions about multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, evaluating positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring. The third category tests skill in solving equations, inequalities, and word problems. These questions include solving systems of linear equations, quadratic equations by factoring, verbal problems presented in algebraic context, geometric reasoning, the translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions, and graphing. Twelve questions are presented.

[Sample Algebra Questions]

Test Tips

  1. Relax! ACCUPLACERTM is designed to help you succeed in school. Your score helps you and your advisor determine which courses are most appropriate for your current level of knowledge and skills. Once you identify your academic strengths and needs, you can get the help you need to improve underdeveloped skills before they can interfere with your learning.

  2. You will be able to concentrate better on the test if you get plenty of rest and eat properly prior to the test. You should also arrive a few minutes early so you can find the testing area, bathrooms, phones, etc., and gather your thoughts before the test begins. (And if you wear glasses, remember to bring them with you!)

  3. Pay careful attention to test directions and be sure you understand the directions before you begin each test.

  4. You should understand that this is an adaptive test. Questions are chosen for you on the basis of your answers to previous questions. Because the test works this way, you must answer every question when it is first given. You cannot omit any question or come back to change an answer. You may change your answer on a particular question, but you must do so before continuing on to the next question. If you do not, the answer is accepted and you cannot return to the question.

  5. If you do not know the answer to a question, try to eliminate one or more of the choices. Then pick one of the remaining choices.

  6. You are not allowed to use dictionaries, calculators, notebooks, or textbooks of any kind on the test. Scratch paper for solving math problems will be provided by the Test Administrator. Any student who gives or receives help during the test, or uses notes or books of any kind will not be allowed to continue the test. Following the test period, no test materials or notes may be removed from the room.

  7. Remember to bring your social security number and some form of picture I.D. with you to the testing session.

Student Guide to ACCUPLACERTM Copyright © 1997, The College Board and Educational Testing

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