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Accuplacer Test Prep: Strategies for College Success

Review your current mastery of reading, writing, and mathematical skills (from arithmetic through college-level mathematics) and prepare for the College Placement Test, aka the CPT.

CCCC Departments dedicated to Helping Students

Make Your First Weeks a Success!

Making Sure Your First Weeks are Successful!


1.    Be knowledgeable about the campus-locations and times!

2.    Know transportation information and have a backup plan!

3.   Make yourself comfortable on campus!

4.   Make friends with classmates! Get contact information!

5.   Familiarize yourself with the syllabus for each course, all course requirements, and all the requirements for your ultimate goal!

6.   Purchase books and supplies as soon as possible-but don’t write in books until after the first class!

7.   Have a plan book and use it!

8.   Establish a notebook system-either separate notebooks or a large binder divided into sections.

9.   Contact professors if you are absent. Only miss class if absolutely necessary!

Strategies for Every Day

Top 10 Secrets of College Success

Strategies for Every Day

  • Keep your syllabus in your notebook and refer to it for important information!
  • Go to class- every session! Most professors allow only a limited amount of absences! Use these wisely!
  • Always go to review classes and classes that are vital to success such as the introduction of a project or paper!
  • Have a backup plan for everything! Babysitters! Sick Days! Transportation! Computer issues!
  • Develop a study plan! SQRRRR, highlighting, annotating, two column notes, summarizing, outlining are a few strategies which will prove vital to your success.
  • Get extra help! Use the tutoring center, writing center, IT helpdesk, math lab, etc.
  • ASK questions!
  • If you don’t get the answer from one person- ask someone else! You are your own advocate-do not take anything less than the best!
  • Form a study group!
  • Develop a study schedule. Schedule in work, family, and study time! Remember that you should plan on studying at least 1-2 hours for every hour in class!
  • Keep a special place to organize your materials such as computer, book bag, textbooks, dictionaries, supplies, etc. Don’t waste time searching- use your time well!
  • Plan your work, work your plan!
  • Establish your priorities! Know what they are, plan for them, and execute your plan!
  • Establish your college email account, keep it active, and check it on a regular basis.
  • Use your professor’s office hours. Make appointments!
  • ASK for help! Everyone needs help at one point or another. The smart person knows when to ask for help!


Starting Out

Starting out

  • READ CAREFULLY all the materials given to you by the college that came in the mail and that was given to you at orientation or the testing center.
  • Have knowledge of the campus, its facilities and layout.
  • Find out who your advisor is and don’t hesitate to contact him/her.
  • Make sure you have everything that you need to be successful. Items such as a college ID, student handbook, planner, notebook, pens and highlighters are crucial.
  • Know what student success services are provided and appropriate contact information on how to utilize them. Know the hours of the library, tutoring center, math lab, writing center, and key offices.
  • Be on time for all classes- in fact arriving 5-10 minutes early will help you settle in and be ready to learn.
  • Ask questions!!!! If you have a question chances are that at least 5 others have the same question.
  • Stay informed! Search for information. Do not rely on a friend for important information. Check out information.

Note Taking



  • USE SQRRRR for your initial reading. This will help you immensely in note taking.
  • Go to class- you cannot take notes if you are not there!
  • Develop your own system of shorthand to take notes. You can read and text on your phone. Use that same system in note taking.  Drawings are also useful!
  • Date your notes-if you are confused then you can ask someone and it will be easier to get help!
  • Know what to write down during a lecture. Using two column notes or a variation of two column notes will be useful.
  • Listen carefully before writing down information. Paraphrase information that will make sense to you later on.
  • If your professor tells you that information is important-believe them and write it down! Put a star next to it.
  • Include examples, pictures- anything that will help you later on to understand the material.
  • Ask questions! If you don’t understand now then you certainly won’t understand later!
  • Use color and symbols when reviewing notes- do what works for you!


Strategies for Time Management

Strategies for Time-Management


  •  Plan your work and work your plan
  • Leave 15 minutes early every day to arrive stress free
  • Have a plan book/ organizer
  • Use a calendar and plan out study schedule, papers and/or projects due/ important events
  • Plan ahead for tutoring, study groups
  • Have a backup plan for gas money, transportation, babysitting, etc
  • Keep all important study materials in the same place
  • Pack your book bag the night before
  • Plan fun and relaxing time

Understanding What is Expected in College

  • For every hour I spend in class, I should spend one hour studying outside of class.
  • I should expect to read about 80 textbook pages per week in each of my courses.
  • There are a lot of words I do not know, but my vocabulary is about as good as it needs to be.
  • College instructors will tell me exactly what to learn for each exam.
  • The more facts I memorize, the higher my exam grades will be.
  • The only assignments that instructors give are readings in the textbook.
  • Rereading a textbook chapter is the best way to prepare for an exam on that chapter.
  • College instructors expect me to react to, evaluate, and criticize what I read.
  • The best way to read a textbook assignment is to turn to the correct page, start reading, and continue until you reach the end of the assignment.
  • You can never know whether you have understood a textbook reading assignment until you take the exam on the chapter.