With the dozens of exciting electives offered at Coppell High School, getting ahead on earning required credits is becoming more appealing to students.
One way to do this is the summer courses offered at North Lake College. However, there is step that students often miss when signing up for one of these classes— the Accuplacer Test.
“The Accuplacer is a test that North Lake requires for students to be able to take courses at their school unless they have an SAT or ACT score, or an exempt level TAKS test to be able to exempt them from having to do the Accuplacer. Most of our students need to take the Accuplacer because they don’t have one of those other scores,” CHS counselor John Crook said. ”They use the accuplacer to determine if the student is ready to take college level courses at North Lake.”
The Accuplacer test selects your next question based on your answer to the previous question to identify a student’s specific academic level. It is not a “pass/fail” test, but instead identifies your level in order to determine whether a student is eligible for the college level class.
The test is nothing to lose sleep over, but Crook feels students should spend at least a few moments looking over possible test questions and taking the practice test if North Lake summer courses are something they are seriously interested in.
“It’s not an easy test. It’s not as difficult as a SAT or ACT test, but it is a strong test and students need to take it seriously in terms of they need to be ready for it, be rested, all that kind of thing, and maybe have prepared for it a little bit before they go,” Crook said. I would encourage everybody to go through that practice exam to kind of see if they are ready to take the test and that will let students know if they need to work a little bit on something before they go.”
Students can preview questions by going on the Dallas County community college district website, dcccd.edu.
To pass the test, students do not need to pass each section. They only need to pass subject corresponding with the class they plan to take. For this reason, the majority of students who took the Accuplacer did not beforehand.
“It was kind of hard— harder than I thought. I probably should have studied harder than I did,” sophomore Kailyn Chillag said. ”It took me a good two and a half hours, so I thought it was a really long test and I didn’t expect that. I didn’t pass the writing part, you’re supposed to get a 6 and I got a 5.”
According to Crook, the writing portion of the test seems to be the most challenging for students.
“The writing part has been the most difficult part this year, but each of the two years we’ve done it prior to this, a fair number of sophomores do not qualify on the Accuplacer. The problem students seem to be having this year is with the writing part; they’re scoring a 4 or 5 when they need to be scoring a 6,” Crook said.
The typical essay is three to six hundred words. Crook recommends that students go more for the max rather than doing just enough so they will address the topic fully.
On the other hand, other students did not feel there was a problem in the tests’ level of difficulty.
“The reading and writing and elementary math were all OK,” sophomore Monika Damle said. “Actually, everyone I know did OK.”
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