MATH PLACEMENT TEST
Student Assessment Services, Testing Center
Photo identification must be presented before taking the test. The following forms of ID are accepted:
College ID (w/name & photo) Driver's License
If you have a disability that requires special test taking assistance (ex. Reader/Scribe service), please call the Disability Support Services Office at 301-322-0838 (TTY or TDD: 301-322-0122) to request accommodation. If English is not your primary spoken and written language, you should request a different sample test booklet, which will prepare you for the test administered to non-native English speakers.
The Placement Test is not timed when administered at the Largo Campus. Students may take as long as necessary to complete each section of the test. Since each student works at his/her own pace, it is impossible to determine exactly how long a test session will take. However, the following estimates may help you plan your time. Tests will not necessarily be given in the same order as listed below.
Total Average Estimated Testing Time: 2 – 2½ hours
* No more than two math tests can be taken during a testing session. Math test selection will dependon the student’s math course background.
The Mathematics Placement Test is required of all new students applying for admission to the college. If you have earned credit at a college or university, you should discuss your educational background with an academic advisor before taking any placement tests.
The Placement Test is not an admissions test. No student is denied admissions to the College on the basis of Placement Test scores. The test is used to evaluate the mathematics achievement of entering students for the purpose of appropriate course placement .
Students are advised to take the test seriously. Performance on the Placement Test will determine which college courses a student may or may not take. Non-credit, developmental courses may be required for students who earn scores below the standards set for college-level courses. Accordingly, students are encouraged to prepare as follows:
What to bring with you to the testing center:
1. Photo-bearing Identification (see list on first page of this Sample Test booklet).
DO NOT bring any of the following:
The Arithmetic test measures your skills in four 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 third category involves problems in ratio and proportion. The last category involves applications and problem solving, including rate, percent, and measurement problems, geometry problems, and distribution of a quality into its fractional parts. There are a total of 42 questions.
The Elementary Algebra test consists of twelve questions within three categories. The first category includes operations with integers and rational numbers, computation with integers and negative rational numbers, the use of absolute values, and ordering. The second category focuses on operations with algebraic expressions. This tests your skill in evaluating simple formulas and expressions, and adding and subtracting monomials and polynomials. Both of these categories include questions about multiplying and dividing monomials and polynomials, the evaluation of positive rational roots and exponents, simplifying algebraic fractions, and factoring. The third category tests skills in equation solving, inequalities, and word problems. These questions include solving systems of linear equations, the solution of quadratic equations by factoring, solving verbal problems presented in algebraic context, geometric reasoning, the translation of written phrases into algebraic context, geometric reasoning, the translation of written phrases into algebraic expressions, and graphing.
The College-Level Mathematics test consists of 20 questions and assesses proficiency from intermediate algebra through pre-calculus. Several categories are covered. Algebraic operations include simplifying rational algebraic expressions, factoring and expanding polynomials, and manipulating roots and exponent. The category of solutions of equations and inequalities includes the solution of linear and quadratic equations and inequities, equation systems, and other algebraic equations. Coordinate geometry asks questions about plane geometry, the coordinate plane, straight lines, conics, sets of points in the plane, and graphs of algebraic functions. Applications and other algebra topics ask about complex numbers, and series and sequences, determinants, permutations and combinations, fractions, and word problems. The last category, functions and trigonometry, presents questions about polynomial, algebraic, exponential, logarithmic and trigonometric functions.
The Placement Test is taken using a personal computer. The test questions appear on a monitor, and students answer the questions using a computer keyboard and mouse.
Because the placement test utilizes computer adaptive testing techniques, each section has fewer questions than traditional paper and pencil tests. The questions will appear one at a time on the computer screen. Most questions are multiple-choice and all you will need to do is use the mouse to select the desired answer. When you have completed the question and verified your answer, a new screen will appear with the next question .
Each test has the same number of questions. The difficulty of items is adjusted based on your performance on earlier questions.
Although each student will have the same number of questions in each section, the computer will select which questions to include in the test. The selection process is conducted while the test is in progress, and is determined by the student’s answer to the previous question. Once the student incorrectly answers a series of questions of a certain difficulty level, the computer will start to present questions of lesser difficulty. This technique “zeroes-in” on just the right questions without administering a test that is too easy or difficult.
The correctness of your answer to the first question is very important.
Since the computer starts branching to questions of higher or lower difficulty levels immediately after the first question, it is important that you take your time when answering the first question. If you can answer the first question correctly you will have a better chance of taking a test that is sufficiently challenging.
You cannot go back to earlier questions.
Unlike paper and pencil tests, you cannot review your test by going back to previous questions. Once you have confirmed your answer to a question, you may not go back later to change your answer. Consequently, it is advantageous to take your time as you proceed through the test.
You may not skip a question.
Although the computer will allow you to change your answer to a particular question before proceeding, you must answer the question before you will be allowed to move to the next question. 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.
The following sample tests are designed to allow students an opportunity to experience the types of questions which can be expected on the day of testing. It is generally useful for students to review sample questions so that they will have a basis for developing test-taking strategies before the day of testing.
The actual test will contain more questions than the ones presented and will contain questions which some students may find more difficult than the ones included here.
The math sample questions are representative of the types of questions presented on the tests. However, the actual tests will be presented in a multiple-choice format.
The sample test is NOT designed as a tutorial exercise. If you have questions about solving various problems in the practice test, please DO NOT call the Testing Department. You may receive tutoring from a friend or other acquaintance, or visit the library for resource material.
Sample questions are shown for each of the placement tests. The correct answers are shown at the end of each section.