Greenfield Community College

Greenfield Community College

Everything you need to know about Computerized Placement Tests (CPTs) — Accuplacer Placement Test

Please note – We will be transitioning to the Next Generation version of Accuplacer beginning January 1, 2019.

If just reading the word TEST makes you nervous, take heart!  We’ve compiled some information to help.

Review before you schedule your exam

  • Review:  Students (especially those who have been out of school for some time) will benefit from reviewing English, arithmetic and algebra.
  • Accommodations: If you feel you need accommodations for testing, please contact our Wellness Center before scheduling testing (note that the tests are not timed):
  • Please see for information regarding Math review workshops and advising:
  • From the College Board: Accuplacer Sample Questions_2016
  • If a few practice questions are not enough, an Accuplacer prep book is available for your use in the GCC library or you can purchase one from or many other online retailers.
  • The College Board offers an app to study for the Accuplacer tests. It is available at It is free.
  • Check GCC’s Math Department for more review material
  • Bring a photo ID with you on testing day. That’s all you will need. We will provide everything else! Please do not bring your children with you because we have no facilities to take care of them and they are not allowed in the testing lab.
  • The test is very easy to navigate, even if you are not highly skilled on a computer and each question is saved as you navigate through the test. When you’re done, your scores print out immediately. (No anxious waiting for test results!)

What are CPTs and why do I need to take them?

Greenfield Community College (and every other community college in Massachusetts) administers Computerized Placement Tests to help identify your strengths and weaknesses in English and mathematics. This ensures that you will be placed into the most appropriate courses as you enter college. These tests are from the College Board and we use the Classic Version of Accuplacer (we will transition to the Next Generation Accuplacer Tests in January 2019).

Five types of CPTs are available. We will help you to determine which of these tests you should take. These tests include reading, sentence skills, arithmetic, elementary algebra, and college-level mathematics. In math, all new students begin with the arithmetic test. Students then go on to the elementary algebra test and/or to the college-level mathematics test, depending upon performance.

Is anyone ever excused from CPTs?

Some of our applicants have taken college-level English and/or math at GCC or at another institution.  For these students, a transcript review will determine if you need to take placement tests. Other students may have taken CPTs at another college.  We will accept an official copy of Accuplacer online test scores from another school. Please note that we accept test scores only.  Once we receive your scores, we will make a determination of your placement. Scores from other institutions should be sent to the Testing Center.

“I really want to be a massage therapist, a corrections officer, a human services worker, or an elementary school teacher but I can’t do math!”

We hear that frequently, but relax; the test assumes a certain amount of rustiness. Many applicants have never taken college level courses and the thought of a computerized test can be intimidating. Actually, it is very common for people who have not been in school in a while to feel math/computer anxiety. This has more to do with the fact that you use English every day and currently we do most of our mathematics work on a calculator. The first step toward success is to understand what will be expected of you and the second step is to review and practice typical problems. All applicants will be asked to do a reading comprehension test and a test of standard written English and then an arithmetic test. The arithmetic test has 12 to 16 problems, which cover addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions (review how to divide fractions), decimals and percentages. The algebra test covers first and second year high school algebra. If you have taken trigonometry, you may take the college level math test. All tests are multiple choice and rest assured there is no penalty for guessing. Helpful hints for dealing with math anxiety are located here.

What kinds of questions are on the placement tests?

  • 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 evaluate your comprehension of reading passages of varying lengths.
  • English Sentence Skills Test
    The English Test covers standard written English. This test measures your understanding of sentence structure – how sentences are put together and what makes a sentence complete and clear.
  • Arithmetic
    This test measures your ability to perform basic arithmetic operations and to solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts. There are addition, subtraction, multiplication and division problems as well as problems involving fractions, decimals and percentages.
  • Algebra
    There are three categories of questions on the Algebra Test:

    • 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 20-question test assesses proficiency from intermediate algebra through pre-calculus. The categories 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

May I take the tests again, if I don’t score as well as I would like?

Yes! Those who study to prepare for a retest often can improve their score. Those who do not prepare often score LOWER the second time. You may take the Reading Comprehension and Sentence Skills test a total of three times. You may take the Arithmetic, Algebra and College Level Math tests twice.

What are developmental courses?

Developmental courses serve as a bridge between the student’s current educational level and the typical college courses. They are designed for students who need to bring their academic skills up to a level which will enable them to succeed in a regular college classes. Students who enroll in developmental courses enjoy the advantage of classes whose instructors are experienced in assisting students who have different learning styles and often have special academic needs. The grades received in developmental courses do not count in the grade point average (GPA) and do not fulfill graduation requirements; however, the skills gained in developmental courses are vital building blocks toward success in college level courses. You may be placed in developmental courses depending upon your placement test scores.

How do I schedule a placement test?

Request a testing appointment

Who do I call if I still have questions?

For questions about Computerized Placement Testing, call  (413) 775-1821.