What You Should Know About the Placement Test
View the "What You Need to Know About Preparing for the College Placement Test" video assist in preparation to do your best!
Students may be required to take the Computerized Placement Test (CPT) during the
enrollment process. Once you have been notified of your acceptance to Suffolk, you
may receive an appointment for testing along with specific information about the tests
as well as websites to utilize for review/study.
The CPT, which is given at many colleges and universities across the country, will help you to identify your academic strengths and weaknesses so that, in conjunction with a counselor, you can plan an appropriate schedule of courses for your first semester. More specifically, the test will provide information about your skills in reading, English, and mathematics so that we can determine the appropriate level of course work for you to begin your college studies – college-level or non-credit developmental courses.
Although being required to take one or more developmental courses may increase the time it takes to complete a degree, such courses will enable you to improve your basic skills so that you can be successful when you do enroll in college-level courses.
The CPT is administered in a computer lab on a personal computer. You will read the instructions and questions on the computer monitor and select your answers using the computer keyboard or mouse. No computer expertise is required.
After you complete the test, which lasts approximately 2 hours, we will schedule an appointment with a counselor or academic advisor. During this meeting, you will review your test results, discuss your educational and career plans, and plan your courses for your first semester. Following your advising appointment, and assuming the satisfactory completion of your immunization requirements, you will be able to register and pay your bill.
Suggestions to Help You Do Your Best
- Relax! The Computerized Placement Test (CPT) was designed to help you succeed in school. Your score helps you and your advisor to 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.
- 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!)
- Pay careful attention to test directions and be sure you understand them before you begin each test.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Following the test period, no test materials or notes may be removed from the room.
- Remember to bring some form of picture I.D. with you to the testing area.
Information and Sample Questions
This test is designed to measure how well you understand what you read. Some ask you to choose how sentences are related while others refer to reading passages of varying lengths.
Two kinds of questions are given in this test. Sentence correction questions ask you to choose a word or a phrase to substitute for an underlined portion of a sentence. Construction shift questions ask that a sentence be rewritten in a specific way without changing the meaning. A broad variety of topics are included here.
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 whole 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.
There are also three categories in the elementary algebra test. The first category, operations with integers and negative 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.
Waiver of Testing
Students may be waived from taking all or part of the placement tests.
Special Testing Accommodations
Special testing accommodations, such as extended time, readers, writers, etc., may be provided to students with a documented disability. Students who would like to request such special testing conditions must contact the disabilities services office on their home campus (see below) and fully document their disability prior to taking the computerized placement test. This process should be completed at least two weeks prior to the start of classes in order to allow sufficient time for any necessary arrangements to be made.