UNM Los Alamos

Inside the Test

Inside the Test

All ACCUPLACER tests use a multiple-choice format. There is no time limit on the tests, so you can focus on doing your best to demonstrate your skills.

  • The number of questions will vary depending on which ACCUPLACER tests you take. There can be as few as 12 questions or as many as 40 questions in each subject area.
  • No one passes or fails ACCUPLACER tests, but it is important to complete each test using your best effort, so that you and your academic advisor and instructors have an accurate measure of your current academic skills.
  • Background questions will establish which level of MATH test you will take first, and your progress on the first test will determine which additional MATH tests might be offered to you. (Students generally begin with Arithmetic or Elementary Algebra.)


Test Details: Arithmetic

The Arithmetic test measures your ability to perform basic arithmetic operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division) and to solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts, such as operations with whole numbers and fractions, operations with decimals and percents, and simple arithmetic and geometry applications and problem solving.

Test Details: Elementary Algebra

The Elementary Algebra test measures your ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems involving elementary algebraic concepts, such as operations with integers and rational numbers, operations with algebraic expressions (simple formulas, monomials and polynomials, rational roots and exponents, and factoring), and solutions of equations, inequalities, and word problems.

Test Details: College-Level Math

The College-Level Math test measures your ability to solve problems that involve college-level mathematical concepts. There are five types of college-level math questions:

  1. Algebraic operations: topics include simplifying rational algebraic expressions, factoring, expanding polynomials, and manipulating roots and exponents;
  2. Solutions of equations and inequalities: topics include the solution of linear and quadratic equations and inequalities, equation systems, and other algebraic equations;
  3. Coordinate geometry: topics include plane geometry, the coordinate plane, straight lines, conics, sets of points in the plane, and graphs of algebraic functions;
  4. Applications and other algebra topics: topics include complex numbers, series and sequences, determinants, permutations and combinations, fractions, and word problems; and
  5. Functions and trigonometry: topics include polynomials, algebraic, exponential, and logarithmic and trigonometric functions.

Test Details: Reading Comprehension

The Reading Comprehension test measures your ability to understand what you read, to identify main ideas, make inferences, and distinguish between direct statements and secondary or supporting ideas.

Test Details: Sentence Skills

The Sentence Skills test measures your understanding of sentence structure – what makes a sentence complete and clear. Some questions deal with the logic of a single sentence and others with the relationships between sentences.