Study Guides and Test Preparation - Placement Testing Center

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Getting Ready for the Placement Tests

Studying for the placement tests will lead to a better performance and more class options. By obtaining a better score, you may be able to skip one or more basic math and English classes and get a head start towards your academic goals.

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Before taking the test, review these helpful online resources.

Tips for Taking the Placement Tests

  • Take the placement test seriously. Your placement test results will determine into which classes you are eligible to enroll. Retesting is limited, so do your best the first time.

  • Study and review the subjects you are testing. Study and review may help improve your placement results, particularly for math and chemistry, subjects for which you may not have recently practiced.

  • Familiarize yourself with the type of test questions that are found on the tests. Sample test questions are available on the links above. Knowing the format of the test questions can help you relax and concentrate during the test.

  • Get a good night’s sleep and have a light meal or snack before arriving to the test session. The English and Math test will take approximately 2 hours. Being tired and/or hungry could hurt your performance in any test session. There are morning, afternoon and early evening test sessions. Take the test at a time when you are usually most alert.

  • During the English and Math tests, work carefully. The English and Math tests are computerized and are not timed. Read and re-read the questions carefully, and check each answer before submitting it. This will result in the highest possible course placement.

  • Students will receive their English, Math, and ESL test results before leaving the Center. For Chemistry, results are available the following day online in the student’s Web Advisor account, under Test Summary.

English Study Resources

The English placement test has two parts: Sentence Skills and Reading Comprehension. Each part consists of 20 questions each and the test is not timed, but may take approximately one hour. The Sentence Skills test measures your ability to correct sentences by substituting a word or phrase underlined in the sentence. It will also ask you to specifically rewrite sentences without changing the meaning. Reading Comprehension measures your analytical and comprehensive reading skills and your ability to apply what you have read.

Math Study Resources

Depending on your background in math, you will start with either the Arithmetic or the Elementary Algebra test. If you do well in either of these tests, you will automatically proceed to the next higher math test. The test is not timed, but may take approximately 1.5 hours.

Arithmetic

The Arithmetic Test measures your ability to perform basic operations and solve problems that involve fundamental arithmetic concepts.

Elementary Algebra

The Elementary Algebra Test measures your ability to perform basic algebraic operations and to solve problems that involve elementary algebraic concepts.

College Level Math

Depending on your progress in the Elementary Algebra Test, you may be required to complete the College Level Math Test. This test measures your ability to perform college-level algebraic operations and to solve problems that involve college-level algebraic concepts.

ESL Study Resources

The ESL Placement Test includes an essay on an assigned topic, a listening comprehension test, and a reading and grammar test. Students will have one hour to write the essay. The essays are evaluated based on students’ ability to focus on the topic, organize and support their ideas, and the effectiveness and correctness their language. The computerized reading and listening tests are not timed, but may take approximately two hours. Test results will be available when students meet with a counselor at the end of the test.

Chemistry Study Resources

The Chemistry Placement Test consists of 44-multiply choice questions and students have 45 minutes to complete it. A periodic table of the elements is provided. This test clears a prerequisite only for Chemistry 101A. In order to enroll in Chemistry 101A, students must complete two course prerequisites: Chemistry 102 and Math 152. For students interested in other Chemistry classes, please refer the Ohlone College Catalog for perquisites specific to those classes.

The majority of the test deals with topics such as elements and their properties, chemical formulas, concentrations of solutions, gases, oxidation numbers, redox reactions and the concepts of acids and bases.

The best preparation for the test is to review high school algebra and chemistry. Those who wish to prepare for the test and do not have a chemistry text may find helpful one of the test-preparation books for standardized achievement tests in chemistry. These can be obtained in most bookstores.

For clearing the Math 152 prerequisite, refer to the Math Study Resources.

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