Question: Is it ever a good idea to take an important test without bothering to study first so that you can earn the highest possible score?
Answer: It is certainly never a good idea, but many incoming students at Parkland College do just this before they ever step foot in a Parkland College classroom! There is a very important “test” new students must take but often do not study or prepare for: the Parkland College placement test.
Parkland College’s academic assessments in English, reading, and math help place incoming students into classes that aren’t too hard but aren’t too easy—”just right” first-semester courses that will improve their chances for classroom success. Although some students will not have to take all three tests because their ACT scores or past college credit have established their course placement, for many first-semester students, these tests, completed prior to class registration, will determine their class placements.
So why is it important to study for these tests?
Studying just a few hours for these placement tests can help first-semester students avoid taking unnecessary “pre-college” courses that don’t count toward a degree—and this can end up saving students and their families considerable time and money. Pre-college courses at Parkland are great if you need to refresh your skills before enrolling in challenging college-level coursework; however, these “catch up” classes are not so great if you are placed into them simply because you did not study for the placement tests.
You don’t have to take these tests unprepared! You can find lots of free resources at Parkland’s Assessment Center resources web page, including test preparation apps, sample tests, and review guides.
Better yet, students who plan to attend Parkland College can sign up for the Center for Academic Success’s FREE two-hour test preparation workshop, which reviews the Accuplacer test format and, most importantly, teaches students how to study for their placement tests. The workshop is offered in the CAS (D120) most Mondays and Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. during the academic semester (4 to 6 p.m. on the last Monday of the month). Please call ahead to reserve a spot at 217/353-2005.
Remember, just a few hours of study now can save you a semester or more of work later!
[Andrew Wilk, an English/ESL faculty member in the Humanities department, also teaches courses in the Center for Academic Success.]