3 MIN READ | Psychometrics

Tommy Williamson

ACCUPLACER Reading Test: What to expect? 

Cite This
Tommy Williamson, (2021, February 24). ACCUPLACER Reading Test: What to expect? . Psychreg on Psychometrics. https://www.psychreg.org/accuplacer-reading-test/
Reading Time: 3 minutes

When it comes to the ACCUPLACER, most students regard the reading test as the easiest part to tackle.

For a lot of people, the ACCUPLACER reading test is just that: something to test your reading comprehension skills and to see if you are ready to understand college-level material.

In addition, teachers, proctors, and counselors may tell you that you don’t have to worry because the assessment doesn’t follow a pass/fail system and that it won’t affect your admission process too much.

Unfortunately, this overconfidence is also the main reason why a lot of otherwise bright students fail to get a high enough, or at least a decent, score in the ACCUPLACER reading assessment.

Why is this so? Well, this is mainly due to the fact that most of them thought that it is a simple reading comprehension test where you just have to look for the main idea of the passage, scan the choices that meet it, then switch to the next question when in reality it requires more than just understanding the text.

After hearing about how their peers will have to take a number of remedial classes, and having to pay for them, would-be college students now take ACCUPLACER reading practice test advice seriously so that they won’t suffer the same fate.

That being said, let’s take a look at the subjects that you can encounter in the ACCUPLACER reading test and what you can do in order for you to prepare for it well. 

Making inferences

If there’s something that test-takers find as the most confusing subject in the assessment, it would be the inferences-type questions.

Although it is still within the criteria of a reading comprehension-type subject, treating this as such would cause you to lose a number of points because you will have to do a bit of critical thinking and to read between the lines instead of only depending on what’s presented in the passage.

For example, the passage may say something like ‘90% of survey respondents agree that the amount of food waste is largest in January’, and the question is: which of the following inferences is the most accurate?

Then the choices are: 

  • A lot of people think that January has the largest amount of food waste.
  • More than half of respondents believe that food waste is highest in the month of January.
  • 10% of people think that January isn’t the month where the amount of food waste is the highest.
  • January is the month where a lot of food waste is present.

From here, we can see the problem: All of them are technically correct but only one of the options is seen as the most accurate one. While not every question will be like this, the example is a preview of what kind of analysis you will have to make in order to find the correct answer.

Text structure

Another notorious question type in the ACCUPLACER reading test is the structure-type one.

While reading a passage, the author will typically list a number of items, to which you will have to figure out what type of organisation or structure was used, like if it’s a cause and effect; compare and contrast; argument and counterargument; or simple sequencing.

Although some questions are easily discernible, some will use a mixture of the four.

A good example here is when the passage would list a cause and effect early on, but then list another cause and effect near the end.

Most test-takers would see this as a mere listing of two causes and effects, but for those who prepared well, they will realize that this is a red herring and that it is actually a compare and contrast structure.

Sentence relationship and sentence skills

These are arguably the easiest parts of the ACCUPLACER reading assessment because of how simple they are.

For the sentence skills, you will be provided with a sentence or small passage with an underlined portion. You will then have to select which of the choices is the best version of the underlined portion.

For the sentence relationship, you will have to examine two sentences to determine the relationship between them. 

Here, questions will come in the form of you needing to select if the second sentence supports or confirms the first one, contradicts the details contained within, or if it’s just a restatement or repeat of what’s inside of it.

Reading comprehension

Seen as the ‘main’ subject of the ACCUPLACER reading test, you will encounter a number of passages of varying length that are then accompanied by a question that relates to the subject matter.

Although the questions are straightforward, it is important to remember that you shouldn’t go beyond what information is stated or implied, as well as putting aside any personal opinion on the subject matter of the provided passage.


Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.


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