Early Placement Testing in the Junior Year of High School

Purpose of the Placement Test

New students at HCC or STCC, are required to take the Accuplacer College Placement Test to demonstrate their skills in arithmetic, algebra, reading and writing.

Students who do not meet minimum college cutoff scores must take developmental courses (0-level) in English and/or Math to improve their skills. NOTE: credits for these classes do not apply toward your college graduation requirements.

Taking the Placement Test in high school

The HCC test administrator, assisted by the CVTE Linkages staff, conduct Early College Placement Testing at our Consortium high schools in the spring of the junior year. This gives the students, teachers, and guidance staff the opportunity to determine whether there are English and/or math deficiencies that need to be addressed in the senior year. A plan is then put in place to address these deficiencies.

About the Placement Test

The test is computer based and the questions are adaptive; that is, the program automatically selects a more or less difficult question based on the answer to the current question.

There are 12 to 20 questions, mostly multiple-choice, in each of the four test areas.

Test results and percentiles are shown immediately upon completion, and students are also given a printed copy.

Students with Disabilities - Documented disabilities that may prevent a student from taking the test under normal conditions should be reported to the guidance office.

Arithmetic measures skills in

  • Operations with whole numbers and fractions
  • Operations with decimals and percent
  • Math applications and problem solving
  • Elementary Algebra tests:
  • Operations with integers and rational numbers
  • Operations with algebraic expressions
  • Equation solving, inequalities, and word problems.

Reading Comprehension measures how well students understand what they read by asking two types of questions: 1) interpreting reading passages, and 2) relationship between two sentences.

Sentence Skills asks students to 1) choose a word or phrase to substitute for the underlined portion of a sentence, and 2) asks that a sentence be rewritten in a specific way without changing the meaning.

Placement Test review and preparation websites

CPT Tips

• Bring a photo ID to the test.
• Tests are not timed so don't rush.
• Read and understand each question; read all choices before answering.
• When uncertain, eliminate obviously wrong choices first.
• You cannot go back to a previous question, so be sure you're satisfied with your answer before moving to the next question.
• In Reading Comprehension, read the passage as many times as necessary.
• In Sentence Skills, read your answer into the original sentence to see if it sounds smooth and logical.
• In Arithmetic and Elementary Algebra, test your answer in the original problem.
• No textbooks, notebooks, calculators or other aids are allowed; all that is allowed is scratch paper provided by the Test Administrator.

Recent high school graduates of our CVTE Linkages Consortium High Schools link to Consortium High School Page who are scheduled for classes at HCC but did not meet the cutoff scores on the CPT may qualify to participate in our summer A+dvancer program. Link to the A+dvancer page


Holyoke Community College
303 Homestead Ave. Holyoke, MA 01040