Part 5

Part 5 – Numerical Skills

This page provides information on the content of part 5 of the test, which is the numerical skills section of the Accuplacer.

This section of the exam is sometimes just referred to as part 5 of the test. It is also known as the arithmetic section, the basic math section, or the pre-algebra section.

You will find details on the arithmetic test format below, as well as practice problems to study.

For more free questions for arithmetic, please click on the link at the bottom of this page.

As stated above, the arithmetic section is the third part of the exam and is designed to assess your knowledge of elementary mathematical skills, such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

The arithmetic section has seventeen problems on basic arithmetic functions. The test contains these questions because college-level students are expected to know these types of elementary math skills prior to admission for study.

For the arithmetic part of the test, you will see instructions like this:

Answer the seventeen following arithmetic problems by selecting the correct answer from the choices given. You can use scratch paper to work out your solution.

Part 3 – Question Types and Tips

The types of arithmetic problems that have appeared on past tests generally fall into six categories.

1) Multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction of whole numbers, fractions, and mixed numbers

A problem in this skill set might look like this:

6 1/2 − 3 1/4 = ?

In order to solve this problem, you can subtract the whole numbers separately: 6 − 3 = 3

Then subtract the fractions: 1/21/4 = 2/41/4 = 1/4

Then combine the two results: 3 + 1/4 = 3 1/4

2) Estimating problems

Estimating problems on this part of the test are usually in this type of format:

Estimate the product of the following: 14.9 × 10.2

In order to solve the problem, you simply need to round each number up or down and then multiply.

14.9 is rounded up to 15, and 10.2 is rounded down to 10.

After rounding, perform the multiplication: 15 × 10 = 150

3) Recognizing equivalent fractions and decimals

These types of questions appear frequently on this part of the test, so be sure you know how to do basic operations with fractions and decimals.

Here is an example problem for this skill set.

Example: Express 33% as a fraction.

This problem is based on the elementary mathematical principle that percentages can always be expressed as that number over one hundred.

So 33% = 33/100

4) Multiplication, division, addition, and subtraction of decimals and percentages

Example: 3.75 + .004 + .179 = ?

Tip: Remember to line all of the decimals up in a column.


5) Making comparisons of decimals in order to find the lowest or highest number

Which is the least?

A) .62
B) .062
C) .602
D) .0602

6) Problem-solving, including dealing with measurement, distribution, rate, and discounts

Problem solving questions are expressed in words, like a story or narrative, rather than as arithmetic equations. In problem solving questions, you must work out what elementary arithmetic equation is needed in order to solve the problem.

If you think you need further practice with Accuplacer elementary math, then please proceed to the arithmetic questions.

If you feel confident with the skills covered on this page, then you can go ahead to the algebra questions and the advanced algebra and geometry questions.