What Kinds of Questions Are on a College Math Preparatory Test?

While individual schools and colleges vary in their testing materials, students should be prepared for questions concerning arithmetic, basic and advanced algebra, basic geometry and trigonometry on a basic college math preparatory test. Most tests require math skills on par with the Math 1 portion of the SAT exam.

Topics from basic algebra include linear equations and their graphs, reducing expressions to their simplest terms, polynomials and negative exponents. College math preparatory exams also include questions on quadratic equations, including those solvable with factoring and those that require using the quadratic formula.

The most important topics from advanced algebra are functions, including the different types of functions, their graphs and inverses. Students should expect questions about rational exponents and radical functions. The advanced algebra section of a test can also contain questions about exponents and logarithms as well as the imaginary unit and complex numbers.

Basic topics from geometry include operations and characteristics of right triangles, area, volume, parallel and perpendicular lines as well as similar and identical figures. Tests typically devote several questions to circles. These questions ask the student to find the circle's circumference, diameter, area and other characteristics using basic geometric formulas.

Questions on trigonometry include those concerning the basic and inverse trigonometric functions, their inverses and the more common trigonometric identities. Some tests include questions using the law of sines and the law of cosines.