Placement Testing

Who is  required to take Placement Tests?

All entering full-time and matriculated part-time students are required to complete placement tests.  After admission, students will be notified about a time and place for testing in math, reading and writing.  Results from these Accuplacer tests are used to place students in first-semester math and English courses where you will have the greatest opportunity to succeed.  You will be able to review your placement test scores with an advisor when you meet to register for your first semester. Math placement test scores are valid for two years and math tests will need to be re-taken if math courses are not taken during that period.

Placement tests are computer-based

The Accuplacer Placement Tests are taken on our computers in the Advisement and Career Services Center in Warren Hall.  You may also arrange to take the placement tests at our Wilton campus.  Remote Testing is also an option for those living an hour or more away.  For more information, contact the Center for Student Success at (518) 832-7708 or email

Don't be concerned if you are not an experienced computer user. The tests are simple to use and help is available to get you started.  The number of questions ranges from 12 to 20 on each test. Questions appear one at a time on the computer screen and are multiple choice. You will have the chance to confirm your answer before moving on to the next question. You cannot, however, go back to a question once you have confirmed your answer. You may take your best guess and move on. There is no penalty for guessing.  For the math test, we provide a pencil, scrap paper and a graphing calculator.  You are not allowed to bring your own calculator or other materials, including a cell phone to the placement tests.  Everyone begins math testing by taking the algebra test which covers first and second year high school algebra.  Depending on how you do on the algebra test you may then take the arithmetic test or the college level math test.

The placement tests are not timed and generally take 90 minutes to 2 hours to complete.  You may take as much time as you need.


If you are in need of special testing accommodations, please call the Center for Student Success at (518) 832-7708 or email at least one week prior to your test date so arrangements for accommodations can be made.

Does Placement testing really matter?

The scores from your placement tests will determine the level of math and English courses you are able to register for in your first semester at SUNY Adirondack.  The level of first semester courses can greatly affect the amount of time required to graduate as well as the total cost of your education.  Students taking the placement tests should take them seriously.  Especially if you have been out of school for some time it will be helpful to review English, arithmetic and basic algebra before taking the placement tests. 

Can the Placement Tests be waived?

If you have taken and passed college level math and English courses in the past, you may be eligible to have placement tests waived.  You will need to provide the Center for Student Success with a copy of your transcript before an evaluation can be made. An unofficial transcript will be accepted.

May I re-take the tests?

You may request to re-take the placement tests once in two years.  To request a re-take, you will need to complete a brief request form which is available in the Center for Student Success.

Can I prepare for the placement tests?

We recommend that everyone prepare for the placement tests.  If you are a current high school student or recent graduate who has typically earned high grades you may want to look at some sample questions and become familiar with the test format.  If you have struggled in high school or have been out of school for several years we highly recommend that you spend more time reviewing basic algebra concepts and English language skills. 

Accuplacer also has a FREE study app to help students get ready for their placement test.  Click here for more information.

Sample Accuplacer questions and preparation material are available at these sites:


Elementary Algebra

College Level Math​​

Other materials that may be helpful in preparing for the placement tests include GED and SAT I review books.

What do the tests cover?

  • Reading Comprehension
    This test has 20 questions designed to measure how well you understand what you read.  Some of the questions ask you to choose how sentences are related. Other questions will test your comprehension of various reading passages.
  • Writing Sample

          You may be asked to complete a writing sample which asks you to write a brief essay responding to one of two questions.      

  • Arithmetic
    This test measures your understanding of basic arithmetic concepts and your ability to perform basic arithmetic functions.  Problems on this test will involve addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, decimals and percentages.
  • Algebra
    This test covers three areas of Algebra concepts:
    • Operations with integers and rational numbers:
      • computation with integers and negative rational numbers
      • the use of absolute values, and ordering
    • Operations with algebraic expressions:
      • evaluation of simple formulas
      • expressions and adding
      • subtracting monomials and polynomials
      • the evaluation of positive rational roots and exponents
      • simplifying algebraic fractions and factoring
    • Equation solving, inequalities, and word problems:
      • solving verbal problems presented in algebraic context
      • geometric reasoning
      • the translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions
      • graphing
  • College-level mathematics
    This test has 20 questions and covers intermediate algebra through pre-calculus. The topics include:
    • Algebraic operations:
      • simplifying rational algebraic expressions
      • factoring and expanding polynomials
      • manipulating roots and exponents
    • Solutions of equations and inequalities:
      • the solution of linear and quadratic equations by factoring
      • expanding polynomials
      • manipulating roots and exponents
    • Coordinate geometry:
      • plane geometry
      • the coordinate plane, straight lines, conics, sets of points in a plane
      • graphs of algebraic functions
    • Applications of other algebra topics:
      • complex numbers
      • series and sequences
      • determinants, permutations, combinations, fractions, word problems
    • Functions and trigonometry:
      • polynomial, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic
      • trigonometric functions


Relax!  ACCUPLACER was designed to help you be successful in college. Your scores help your advisor to place you in courses that make the best use of your current skills and strengths. Once your academic needs are identified we can provide you with the support you need to be successful at SUNY Adirondack.


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