COMPASS® is an adaptive placement test, which means that the test administers subsequent questions based on your answers to previous questions. COMPASS® operates at your comfort level rather than your frustration level. By tailoring the items to your skill level, the test will challenge but not discourage you. This means that the number of questions and the time to take the test varies for every student. Once you answer a question you cannot go back to it, so please take your time.
The assessment will cost $20. If you are required to retake any portion of the test, there will be a $5 retesting fee per test. Please pay this non-refundable fee at the cashier’s window or by phone prior to your testing date.
On The Day of the Test
Remember to bring
- your printed receipt. (if you paid by phone the assessment staff will be able to verify payment.)
- a photo ID.
- your Social Security number. (used to verify identity and to retrieve records with ACT)
The COMPASS® test is divided into four sections.
The reading passages are written at a reading level comparable to what you would experience in your first year of college (13th grade level). There are four different types of passages which you may be required to read. The genres include fiction, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. There are five comprehension questions for every passage. You can see the passage while you are answering the questions, and can reread the passage as many times as needed.
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The writing exam requires you to edit an essay. Carefully read the essay looking for errors in punctuation, grammar, and style. It is important to note that you need to provide an answer for every phrase in the passage, not just those that contain an error.
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The pre-algebra exam requires you to answer multiple choice questions on a variety of topics. A calculator and scratch paper will be provided. Please remember the COMPASS is untimed and there is no need to rush. The exam includes the following topics:
- Operations with Integers
- Operations with Fractions
- Operations with Decimals
- Conversions between Decimals and Fractions
- Order of Operations
- Positive Integer Exponents
- Square Roots
- Scientific Notation
- Ratios & Proportions
- Mean, Median, & Mode
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The Algebra exam requires you to answer multiple choice questions on a variety of topics. A calculator and scratch paper will be provided. Please remember the COMPASS is untimed and there is no need to rush. The algebra exam includes the following topics.
- Substituting Values into Algebraic Expressions
- Creating Algebraic Equations for Practical Problems
- Linear Equations—1 Variable
- Linear Equations—2 Variables
- Basic Operations with Polynomials
- Factoring Polynomials
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