Algebra is the Gatekeeper for College Math. How to get past that?

October 4, 2022


Students who struggle with high school algebra are often placed into remedial math courses, which cost them both time and money.  Several national studies have confirmed that students placed into college-level math classes have significantly higher graduation rates, while students placed into remedial classes have lower success rates and a longer path to graduation. Colleges throughout the nation utilize standardized tests such as Accuplacer Math to determine placement, making these tests critical to placing into college math, and ultimately succeeding in college. 

While there are three areas of math covered in the Next Gen Accuplacer Exam, two of the areas focus heavily on algebra, making basic algebra skills the key to performing well on the Accuplacer Math Test and placing into college-level math courses.  The Quantitative Reasoning, Algebra, and Statistics (QAS exam) is the primary test used to determine enrollment in freshman-level courses such as College Algebra and Statistics, and the majority of questions cover foundational skills found in a high school algebra course.  This means that a solid understanding of algebra is essential to performing well on the Next Gen Accuplacer Math Exam.


In high school, students must usually take two algebra courses to graduate, while in college students typically take a freshman-level college algebra or statistics course to fulfill their mathematics requirement.  The first algebra course in high school gives an introduction to the concepts and skills that students will need in later mathematics courses, including solving equations, graphing lines, and operations with polynomials.  The second algebra course builds upon this knowledge and extends it to deal with graphs of polynomial functions, exponential and logarithmic functions, and systems of equations.  College algebra often includes most of these topics, while focusing on higher-level concepts and real-world applications.  Thus, high school algebra should give students the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in college algebra.


Organizations administering standardized exams such as the Accuplacer, SAT, and ACT have confirmed that basic algebra skills are the lynchpin to success in college algebra. Several national studies have tracked student performance in college algebra and identified the skills that are needed for success.  These foundational concepts including solving equations, graphing lines, performing operations with polynomials, evaluating algebraic expressions, and simplifying rational and radical expressions.  Students with a solid foundation in these areas are prepared to succeed in college algebra, while students who do not grasp these concepts will struggle.  Students who need to strengthen their preparation will benefit from CollegeReadyMath Test Prep program. This program covers the algebraic skills students need in order to place them into and succeed in college algebra.

The CollegeReadyMath Test Prep program was designed to help you perform better on the Accuplacer Math exam while giving you the basic algebra skills you need to succeed in a college math course.  Accuplacer Math is the gatekeeper to placement into college courses, and strong preparation in algebra is the key to performing well on the Accuplacer Math test. Our program combines a diagnostic exam, micro-lessons, and practice programs aligned to the Accuplacer exam.  Most importantly, the program is designed to deliver instruction based on individual student needs, meaning it can be completed within a few weeks. Students who need to prepare for the Accuplacer math exam will benefit from this affordable and effective program.

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