Placement Testing Services

What are Placement Tests?

After being accepted to Colby Community College, you may need to take the Accuplacer placement test. CCC uses this placement test in subjects like math and English to measure academic skill levels of entering students. This allows us to place students in classes that provide the best opportunity for success. Your test results may indicate that you can skip some introductory courses, or that you need more preparation before taking on college-level work. If you need more preparation, a developmental course may be necessary.

Developmental classes allow you to improve your skills in a subject before moving on to more advanced courses. If you need to take developmental classes in subjects like math and English, don’t get discouraged. These classes highlight your strengths and weaknesses so you know where to focus. The classes also increase your chances of academic success in college.

Cost of Placement Testing

There is no charge for CCC students taking Accuplacer the first time. Students retaking the placement test will be assessed a $5 fee.

ACCUPLACER is the official placement test approved for Colby Community College.

Because of ACCUPLACER’s online format, test questions are based on how you answer previous questions. The level of difficulty will increase or decrease according to your answers as you work through the test. ACCUPLACER tests are untimed, so you can move at a comfortable pace. It is important to give yourself enough time to do your best and complete the test because results are the key factor in determining courses you take. Results are available immediately upon completion.

What is on the Accuplacer Test?

Arithmetic: The Arithmetic test, comprised of 17 questions, measures your ability to perform basic arithmetic operations and to solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts. There are three types of Arithmetic questions:

  • Operations with whole numbers and fractions: topics include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, recognizing equivalent fractions and mixed numbers, and estimating.
  • Operations with decimals and percents: topics include addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division with decimals. Percent problems, recognition of decimals, fraction and percent equivalencies, and problems involving estimation are also given.
  • Applications and problem solving: topics include rate, percent, and measurement problems, simple geometry problems, and distribution of a quantity into its fractional parts.


College-Level Math: The College-Level Math test, comprised of 20 questions, measures your ability to solve problems that involve college-level mathematics concepts. There are five types of College-Level Math questions:

  • Algebraic operations: topics include simplifying rational algebraic expressions, factoring, expanding polynomials, and manipulating roots and exponents.
  • Solutions of equations and inequalities: topics include the solution of linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, equation systems and other algebraic equations.
  • Coordinate geometry: topics include plane geometry, the coordinate plane, straight lines, conics, sets of points in the plane, and graphs of algebraic functions.
  • Applications and other algebra topics: topics include complex numbers, series and sequences, determinants, permutations and combinations, fractions and word problems.
  • Functions and trigonometry: topics include polynomials, algebraic, exponential, and logarithmic and trigonometric functions.


Elementary Algebra: The Elementary Algebra test, comprised of 12 questions, measures your ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems involving elementary algebraic concepts. There are three types of Elementary Algebra questions:

  • Operations with integers and rational numbers: topics include computation with integers and negative rationales, the use of absolute values, and ordering.
  • Operations with algebraic expressions: topics include the evaluation of simple formulas and expressions, adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials, multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, the evaluation of positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring.
  • Solution of equations, inequalities, word problems: topics include solving linear equations and inequalities, solving quadratic equations by factoring, solving verbal problems presented in an algebraic context, including geometric reasoning and graphing, and the translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions.

Reading Comprehension: The Reading Comprehension test, comprised of 20 questions, measures your ability to understand what you read, to identify main ideas and to make inferences. You need to distinguish between direct statements and secondary or supporting ideas.

Sentence Skills: The Sentence Skills test, comprised of 20 questions, measures your understanding of sentence structure — what makes a sentence complete and clear. Some questions deal with the logic of the sentence, and others with the relationships between two sentences.

WritePlacer (Written Essay): The WritePlacer test measures your ability to write effectively, which is critical to academic success. Your writing sample will be scored on the basis of how effectively it communicates a whole message to the readers for the stated purpose. Your score is based on your ability to express, organize and support your opinions and ideas, not the position you take on the essay topic. There are five characteristics of writing that are considered.

  • Focus: The clarity with which you maintain your main idea or point of view.
  • Organization: The clarity with which you structure your response and present a logical sequence of ideas.
  • Development and Support: The extent to which you elaborate on your ideas and the extent to which you present supporting details.
  • Sentence Structure: The effectiveness of your sentence structure.
  • Mechanical Conventions: The extent to which your writing is free of errors in usage and mechanics.

How Can I Prepare?

Placement tests measure skills you already learned, so taking them doesn’t require much preparation. To get ready for these tests, you can do the following:

What Happens After I Take the Test?

Once test results are available, you may be assigned automatically to the course level that fits you best. You may also have a meeting with your academic adviser to decide on your first-semester courses.