11 Tips To Do Well On A College Placement Test

September 26, 2021

Wondering about the right degree to take in college? Don’t know what department you should enroll in at university? Or are you one of those students who are having a hard time acing their college placement exams? Regardless of your reasons, there are various ways that you can utilize to make the most out of your placement tests and getting into a college program that you like and are good at.

The Art Of Acing College Placement Exams

It’s said that taking college placement exams is one thing, acing them is another different matter. While some students may find such tests easy and trouble-free, others are said to have a hard time handling and dealing with them. 

If you belong to the latter group, you might need simple yet highly effective hacks to ace your exam. But if you’re seeking for professional guidance to achieve better results, you can try this out or seek help from competent academic instructors and tutors. There’s a lot of different third-party help that is available for everyone who seeks them. 

Although commonly used interchangeably to refer to the exam taken before formally starting higher education, college placement exams differ significantly from entrance exams. The former is a type of exam that primarily focuses on allowing students to determine the class they should take upon college enrolment. On the other hand, the latter mainly talks about the test utilized by college faculties to identify which enrollees should be accepted and allowed in their respective departments. 

The scoring system on both types of the exam is believed to be crucial in helping students determine their areas of expertise and interest. It’s also considered as another deciding factor to choose their future degree. Such exams are important in gauging students’ skills and identifying possible areas for learner improvement. 

When it comes to taking college placement exams, you must be equipped with the adequate skillset and abundant knowledge that can significantly help you conquer them. Some abilities may include:
  • Willingness to take initiatives, 
  • Capacity to manage questions,
  • Problem-solving skills,
  • Commitment to work,
  • Communication capabilities,
  • Multitasking,
  • Team spirit, and, 
  • Creativity.

Helpful Hacks To Successfully Surmount Your College Placement Exam

While there’s no denying the role college placement exams play in meticulously evaluating your academic skills and areas of interest, taking this particular type of college exam can be daunting and challenging for most first-timers. Apart from assessing your grades, test scores, and essays, such tests can also help you determine which study program you can take in college and which department should you enroll in. 

When it comes to preparing for your college placement exam, it’s important to establish a comprehensive action plan to keep you focused and driven to reach your goal of acing your upcoming examinations. Knowing well what your objectives are can greatly help you to identify the steps you must take to achieve better and more favorable results in the end. 

To help you more, below is a list of helpful ways incoming college freshmen like you may find beneficial in helping with the forthcoming college placement exams.

  1. Determine Academic Exemptions

One of the primary steps in taking college placement exams involves determining if you’re eligible for any institutional exemptions or academic scholarships. If you’re considering attending a community college or a prestigious university, you must first know what programs they’re offering or any exemptions you can utilize before you sign up for a college placement exam. Such exemptions can spare you from taking part in the college placement exam altogether if you meet their rigid conditions. 

Some academic requirements that many schools are said to often require their examinees may include:

In the scenario that you fail to attend college and your score didn’t reach the school’s minimum standard scoring system, you’re more likely to take a placement exam despite your supposed exemption from it. However, such rules differ depending on your respective school.      

  1. Beat Others To The Race By Being Early

When it comes to landing in a good university, one of the things that you need to do is to search for potential openings for college placement exams and register at an earlier time. While there are colleges that provide announcements for such events, there are also those that don’t. Hence, you must be mindful of recently published bulletins and reports. Also, always prioritize sending your applications to your chosen schools ahead of time. 

Knowing the available exam dates and locations can help you reserve the most convenient dates. This can be a great help in ensuring your spot and preventing you from running out of slots in college placement exam schedules.  

  1. Identify The Types Of Exams You’re Going To Take

After learning about the registry periods and securing your exam slot, another step that you can do is to identify the type of tests you’re going to take. Generally, universities and colleges utilize varying types of placement exams to determine their incoming students’ skills and areas of expertise to effectively direct them into their appropriate departments. Determining which kind of exam you’re going to take can be of great help for you in knowing what area you should focus on, the exam’s length, and the study aids you can utilize.

There are various types of placement exams colleges and universities adopt nationwide. It’s advisable to reach out to the concerned admissions officers of the higher education institute you’re planning to apply to. 

  1. Utilize In-house School Resources

Before you take the placement exam, you might want to consider using educational resources and study aids from your school. Be sure to approach and ask your teacher for further guidance.

Upon the announcements of college placement exams, most colleges accepting admissions provide studying tools for their examinees. Such study aids may include review packets, mock exams, practice problems, and workshops. These resources can be obtained through online websites or by visiting their respective onsite learning centers on campus.   

  1. Establish A Comprehensive Study Routine

Take the time to go over the subjects and learning areas you're going to be tested on. You can look over notes you have from previous courses or any textbooks you may still have that are related to the possible exam scope. 

Apply the same studying routine that you would use for any other test. Some of them include:
  • Reviewing important terms;
  • Getting familiar with any formulas you need to know; and, 
  • Working on different sets of practice questions. 


Then, formulate a detailed study routine that’d serve as a roadmap every time you study. Stick to it as much as possible yet you should be open to tweaking it in the name of continuous improvement. A schedule for studying can be handy to help you track your current progress and the areas you still need to improve and work on. 

  1. Avoid Cramming

If you’re determined to ace your college placement exams, one of the things you should avoid is cramming. In fact, there are reasons why cramming is said to be inappropriate for studying. While there are students who believe that doing last-minute review sessions significantly enhances their capacity to comprehend and grasp concepts, there’s no definite study that proves such belief. Particularly, it’s also believed that cramming decreases one’s potential of performing well on exams because of supposed poor learning retention levels.

To avoid such scenarios, you must give yourself sufficient time to study at intervals and take sufficiently timed breaks in between. Studying for at least 20-60 minutes without interruptions can be a great start for your study plan. After that time, you may have short breaks to eat, bond with a friend, or just take a rest before repeating the same routine all over again.

To effectively pull this off, you may set a schedule and create an extensive and detailed study plan. Additionally, you must also religiously follow the said routine. Through this alternative, you have greater chances of retaining more valuable information before your exam.  

  1. Seek Supplementary Support

Apart from seeking your school’s direct assistance regarding study tools and resources, you may also look for additional support from external sources which can efficiently help your preparation for the placement exam. 

For starters, you may access self-assessment quizzes and mock exams uploaded over the web to test your skills and track your progress. Besides that, you can also enroll in different online tutorial classes and review centers to fully develop your comprehension and understanding of varying knowledge areas. 

Additionally, there are many non-profit organizations that cater supplemental learning services to students who belong to marginalized groups. Make sure to reach out to one if you’re in dire need of educational help.  

  1. Get Some Exercise

When it comes to preparing yourself for upcoming college placement exams, another thing that’s regarded to significantly help you is through engaging in a variety of physical activities. You may not know it, but even a half-hour session of cardiovascular activities is believed to be effective in enhancing your memory and other cognitive abilities

Physical activities, such as exercise, workouts, and any other fitness-oriented training may help your blood circulation processes. They’re also believed to help stimulate different bodily functions and improve working memory. Apart from that, such activities can also aid in the transmission of necessary nutrients and oxygen to your organs which can maximize your energy levels, reduce stress, and bolster your other bodily functions. 

Be it a simple routine of walking, jogging, and running or undergoing a more rigorous and physically demanding workout routine, any kind of physical activity can be beneficial to you.     

  1. Prepare And Eat Healthy Meals

Preparing for your placement exam doesn’t only mean improving your cognitive skills and capacity before the exam date. It’s also about taking care of your health and keeping it in good condition before the intensive examinations. When it comes to selecting the type of food you eat, you must’ve heard about the importance of choosing the healthiest ones, especially if you’re preparing for an important day like the college placement exams test date. 

Particularly, the food you eat a week or two before the exam date is said to have an impact on your health. It’s been reported that eating superfoods, which are high in antioxidants, fiber, and carbohydrates can be a part of a hearty yet nutritious meal plan that can boost your overall performance. Food items like oatmeal, buckwheat, blueberries, quinoa, sweet potatoes, and bananas can offer you sustained energy throughout the day along with other purported health benefits. 

As a student, you may also consider steering away from any junk food items as this can gravely affect your cognitive capacity and attention span. Some other types of healthful breakfast ideas and purported brain-boosting food options that are said to help bolster bodily functions, including mental capacities and cognitive skills include: 
  • Broccoli,
  • Kale,
  • Blueberries, strawberries, and blackberries,
  • Hazelnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds,
  • Whole wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, barley, and oatmeal,
  • Coffee,
  • Avocados,
  • Peanuts,
  • Tuna, salmon, and mackerel,
  • Dark chocolate,
  • Eggs, and,
  • Soy-based products.

Aside from that, some other researchers also suggest the importance of taking vitamin food supplements that contain magnesium, beta-carotene, Vitamins A, B, C, and E, and ginseng. These helpful nutrients are believed to provide potential aid in improving your mental capacity. For better and more favorable results, seeking professional help from doctors and dieticians is advised. 

  1. Look For A Study-Friendly Environment

Aside from eating healthy food and engaging in sweat-breaking exercise, another thing that can positively impact your brain’s working capacity is your environment. The place where you study is said to be an integral factor that can affect your retention, memory, and attention span. Hence, you must prioritize looking for a learner-friendly environment where you can study at peace. While some other students can be seen studying in their school libraries, other places can be your resting places, such as student lounges, coffee shops, and study hubs near your place. 

There’s a Nigerian study suggesting that the environment can affect students’ learning capabilities. Altering your study surroundings can significantly enhance your cognitive abilities to help you better prepare for your upcoming tests. Particularly, the brain is believed to create special associations between your working memory and any external noise or visual images around you. Hence, the need to search for better places where you can fully enjoy the beauty of learning while studying.    

  1. Develop And Practice Time Management

When it comes to preparing for the placement exam, another thing you can do involves practicing appropriate time management techniques, which can help you better maximize the limited time allotted for answering the test. Taking timed mock tests and testing your answering skills can be of great help in gauging your ability to answer the exam within a given timeframe.

Apart from that, it can also be beneficial to create a comprehensive study plan that contains a logical schedule with study periods to better help you study each subject as a simulation of the real deal. 

You must also know that rushing won’t do you any good whenever you’re studying as this can affect your retention skills. That’s why having study breaks between your study sessions can be a great help to you.

Key Takeaway

Preparing for the college placement exam can be challenging, especially if you’re a first-timer. While there are various online tools that you can utilize to assist you in your preparation, it’s also important to create a comprehensive plan that can serve as your exam guide. 

Some helpful practices that may help include determining academic exemptions, eating healthy meals, engaging in exercise, seeking additional help, familiarizing yourself with the exam types, practicing time management, and studying in a student-friendly environment. 

Strong passion and a commitment to success, riddled with smart test preparation techniques can drive you to reach your goal of easily acing the college placement test.

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