What Is the PERT Test? A Comprehensive Guide

PERT test explained
May 6, 2024
4 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/6/24

What is the PERT test? If you're curious about this important exam and how it impacts your educational journey, you've come to the right place.  

If you live in Florida, the PERT test is a significant milestone on your path to higher education. In this guide, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about this exam. 

If you’re a high school student gearing up for college or an adult learner seeking to refresh your skills, the PERT holds the key to assessing your readiness for college-level coursework. So, let's break down the PERT and ensure you're well-prepared to tackle it with confidence.

What Is the PERT Test? What Does PERT Stand for?

Florida’s Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT) is a standardized exam used in Florida that replaces the Accuplacer test. It’s used to gauge high school students' readiness for college courses and determine their appropriate course placements. 

The PERT test helps ensure that students are adequately prepared for college-level courses, aiding in their success in post-secondary education.

The Structure of the PERT Test

The PERT test is divided into three main sections: Math, Reading, and Writing. Each section has 30 multiple-choice questions that evaluate different skills and knowledge areas. Students typically take the PERT on a computer, but those eligible for accommodations may choose a paper or Braille version.

The PERT test adapts its difficulty level based on your answers. If you answer correctly, the next question will be more challenging; if you answer incorrectly, the next question will be easier. Keep in mind that you cannot revisit or change your answers to previous questions during the test.

To succeed on this test, it's essential to prepare thoroughly in these subject areas and become comfortable with the computer-based format. While a calculator isn't allowed for most of the test, it may be provided as a tool for specific questions that require its use.

Female student sitting on couch with laptop

How Long Is the PERT Test?

So, how long does the PERT test take? The PERT test is an untimed assessment, which means you won't be racing against the clock. However, it's worth noting that each section of the PERT typically takes around one hour to complete. So, if you're doing the math, the entire test can take about three hours or even slightly longer.

Keep in mind that you need to tackle it all in one go without any breaks. So, when you're planning your PERT test day, make sure you've set aside enough time to sit down and give it your full attention. This way, you'll be well-prepared and won't feel rushed during the test.

How to Prepare for the PERT?

Getting ready for the PERT is all about having a solid game plan. In this section, we'll break down how to get yourself in the best shape possible for the PERT.

Understanding the Test Format

To prepare effectively for the PERT, it's essential to grasp the test's structure. It helps you focus on what to expect, so you can plan your study approach, manage your time effectively, and approach each section with greater assurance and readiness.

Assess Your Skills

Before diving into intensive preparation, assess your current skill level. Utilize practice PERT tests or sample questions to identify your strengths and weaknesses in each section. This initial step will help you pinpoint areas that need improvement.

Build a Study Schedule

Develop a study plan that allocates time for each section based on your identified strengths and weaknesses. Ensure your study schedule aligns with the time you can realistically commit to studying each day or week.

Agenda open to month of January

Use Official Study Materials

Rely on official PERT study materials, typically provided by the testing organization or your educational institution. These materials offer the most accurate representation of the test and should serve as your primary resource for preparation.

Review Content

Concentrate on the content of each section during your preparation. For the Math section, review algebra, geometry, and arithmetic concepts while practicing various problem types. 

In the Reading section, enhance critical reading skills by engaging with different text types and refining your ability to identify main ideas and supporting details. In the Writing section, focus on grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure, and practice essay and paragraph writing to improve your composition skills.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice is key. Complete practice questions and full-length tests under timed conditions. This will familiarize you with the test's pacing and enhance your time management skills.

Seek Help When Needed

Don't hesitate to seek assistance from teachers, tutors, or educational resource centers if you encounter difficulties with specific topics. Asking questions and clarifying doubts is a fundamental part of the learning process.

Male teacher helping male student

Simulate Test Conditions

To prepare for the actual test day, replicate test conditions during your practice. Find a quiet environment, use a timer, and eliminate distractions to mimic the testing experience.

Review and Analyze

After completing practice tests, meticulously review your answers and analyze mistakes. Understanding why certain questions were answered incorrectly is crucial to prevent repeating those errors on the actual exam.

Stay Consistent

Consistency is paramount. Adhere to your study schedule and avoid procrastination. Regular practice and review will bolster your confidence.

Manage Test Anxiety

Learn relaxation techniques to manage test anxiety. Deep breathing exercises and positive visualization can help alleviate nerves on test day.

Get a Good Night's Sleep

Prioritize a good night's sleep the night before the test. Being well-rested will bolster your focus during the exam.

Male teen sleeping in bed

Arrive Early on Test Day

On test day, arrive at the testing center with plenty of time to spare. This grants you ample time for check-in and minimizes last-minute stress.

Stay Positive

Maintain a positive mindset throughout your preparation. Believing in your abilities and staying positive can significantly impact your performance on test day.

Following these steps with headers will enable you to methodically prepare for the PERT, ultimately increasing your chances of performing well on the exam and demonstrating you’re ready to apply to college

What to Expect on the PERT?

When you're gearing up for the PERT, it's important to know what each section entails and what is on the PERT test: 

  • Math Section: This portion of the test is all about math skills. It covers pre-algebra, algebra, and geometry. Expect to encounter topics like fractions, decimals, equations, inequalities, functions, exponents, polynomials, and various geometry concepts.
  • Reading Section: The Reading section assesses your critical reading abilities. You'll need to understand the author's intent, differentiate between facts and opinions, and pinpoint key ideas within passages.
  • Writing Section: In the Writing section, your grammar, sentence structure, and writing skills take center stage. The focus is on your ability to synthesize information effectively, organize content cohesively, select appropriate words, and use correct syntax.

These are the areas where you'll be demonstrating you’re prepared for college. So, as you prepare for the PERT, keep these expectations in mind, and you'll be better equipped to excel on test day.


What is the PERT test? How hard is the PERT test? Keep reading to learn all about it. 

1. What Is the Total Number of Questions on the PERT?

The PERT exam has 30 questions divided into three sections. Of these, 25 questions contribute to a student's final score, while the remaining five are not scored.

2. How Do I Register for the PERT Test?

To sign up for the PERT, most students need to get a letter from their high school. If you're homeschooled, you'll have to provide a letter or agreement from your county school board to show that you're homeschooled.

3. How Hard Is the PERT Test?

The PERT is not as difficult as the ACT and the SAT, but it can still be quite challenging. Without adequate preparation, many students may find themselves placed in remedial classes. Scores on this section can fall between 50 and 150, with a minimum score of 114 needed to exempt students from remedial math courses.

4. How Many Questions Are on the PERT?

Each section of the PERT has 30 multiple-choice questions.

Final Thoughts

To sum it up, the PERT test plays a pivotal role in your education if you're in Florida. It goes beyond your grades and offers you a chance to showcase your skills in math, reading, and writing. 

By following the guidelines provided in this comprehensive guide, you'll be better equipped to face the PERT with confidence and showcase your readiness for college-level courses. So, stay committed to your preparation, keep a positive mindset, and go conquer that PERT test!

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