COMPASS Test Description

COMPASS is an untimed, computerized “success planning” set of tests that helps your college to evaluate your skills, identify the levels of courses you are ready to enroll in, and give you recommendations about additional resources and services you can use to succeed in the college and the program of your choice.
COMPASS gathers information about your plans, educational needs, and goals and brings that to the attention of the college, so it can develop the plan that’s best for you.
The COMPASS system offers tests in:
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Math
  • Writing Essay
  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • Diagnostic Tests in specific skills in the areas of Mathematics (15 sub-skill areas), Writing (8 sub-skill areas), and Reading (3 skill areas); examples include diagnostic tests focused on Fractions, Decimals, etc., to help you to identify specific areas you might need to review or strengthen.
You will receive your test results immediately after testing with the COMPASS Student Advising Report, which is customized to alert you to resources available at the college.  Your score report will include messages about courses the college recommends (or requires) that you complete, along with information about resources at the college that can help you develop a plan for success in your program of study.

How Are COMPASS Scores Used?

COMPASS is not used like a traditional test. There is generally no "passing score." Rather, COMPASS scores indicate areas in which your skills are strong and areas where you may need help.
COMPASS can identify problems in major subject areas, so you can better prepare for courses. You and your institution can use your scores to prepare a course of study that will be appropriate, relevant, and meaningful for you.

Where Do I Take the COMPASS Tests?

Most institutions give COMPASS to potential students when they come to campus to begin exploring or planning to become an enrolled student. Some institutions may require you to take one or more of the COMPASS tests before enrolling in a particular program or course. Talk to your advisor, counselor, assessment center, or Office of Student Services at the college you are considering to determine the requirements and recommendations of your institution.
Many COMPASS colleges also have a “remote testing” option. If you are currently some distance away from a desired college, you may be able to complete the required COMPASS tests at another college closer to your current location.  In this situation, you must contact the Assessment Office of the desired college and ask the college staff there to “register” you to complete your testing at a COMPASS Remote Testing site closer to your current location.
If you are applying to a four-year institution, you may need to take the ACT test.
Learn more at the ACT website pop out link icon.