Compass Test Format and Content

The ACT Compass computer-administered test consisting of multiple-choice formatted questions with no allotted time limit, allowing students the focus and time they need in order to complete the exam. Compass test questions are computer-adaptive, meaning that they increase or decrease in difficulty level based on answers to previous questions in order to correspond to the student’s ability level. The primary skilled tests contained in the Compass assessment are math, reading, and writing.

Learn more about the Compass test questions and content.

Note that the ACT Compass Test is being phased out. Check with your college or university to see if they're still using the ACT Compass or if they've switched to another standardized placement test like the ACCUPLACER. Regardless of which placement test is used by your college or university, our Higher Education Test Prep pack can help you build the fundamental skills you need to succeed.

Why Should You Take the Compass Placement Test?

The Compass test is administered by the ACT as a college placement test in order to assess the math, reading, and writing skills of incoming students to higher education institutions. The test enables the placement of students into appropriate courses and can identify problems in certain areas, allowing students the opportunity to more effectively prepare for those courses.

Among other colleges and universities, most community colleges that don’t require the ACT or SAT for college admittance do require students to take the ACT Compass in order to evaluate their abilities. Without the Compass exam you may be unable to register for classes in certain schools. Alternatively, if you have taken the ACT or SAT within the past few years, those scores may be sufficient for placement purposes instead of the Compass.

A strong score on the ACT Compass can help you save time and tuition money by placing into higher-level classes and not being required to take remedial-level classes that don't directly fulfill degree requirements.

Compass Test Scores

Immediately upon completion of the ACT Compass Test, scores are available to both the test taker and the educational institution. Note that this is not a pass or fail test but an assessment of college-level skills. However, for those taking the Compass test as a community college placement test, most are unaware that a low score on the exam may require them to take developmental or remedial classes to catch up; these courses do not count toward your degree but are prerequisites to the college level classes that offer credits.

Compass scores are determined by how many questions the student answered correctly. Since the test is untimed and there is no penalty for questions answered incorrectly, you should try your best to answer every question on the test.

The Reading, Writing, and Math sections are each scored separately on a scale of 1-99. Most colleges and universities that use the COMPASS consider each score individually for placement in each subject area. There is no set passing score. Rather, each college or university has its own system for placing students into classes based on Compass scores.

Practice for Your Exam: Compass Test Prep

In order to ensure you the proper placement and access to the appropriate and necessary courses, you need a test score that will reflect your true abilities. Don’t procrastinate; do the smart thing and begin preparing now! TestPrep-Online will soon be offering preparation-packs of Compass practice tests online, along with answers and detailed explanations to help you better understand and improve your score.

Besides saving you time and money, preparing for a placement test like the Compass can help you start your higher education on the right foot. Returning to school can be a stressful transition, whether you've been away from your studies for a summer or for years. Cultivating good habits before classes begin can help ease this transition and empower you to approach your coursework with confidence.

TestPrep Online's resources for college admission and place, are ideal for independent learners. Access an abundance of resources including practice tests, drills, and study guides. We pride ourselves on providing thorough explanations for all of our practice questions in all of our Prep Packs.

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Thorough Preparation with a Family Membership

The Compass exam is often given in combination with other college admission and placement tests like the ACCUPLACER or Wonderlic. Nursing programs my also require the TEAS or Discover test. Test Prep-Online's Family Membership provides access to all of our materials for a whole year. Don't let the name fool you: it's not just for families! A Family Membership is a worthwhile investment for an individual learner studying for multiple tests. If for example, you're studying for an admission test now, but you know that once you're admitted you'll have to take a placement test, considering saving money and gaining practice time by purchasing a Family Membership now and preparing for both tests.



The ACT Compass Test, TEAS, Discover, and other trademarks are the property of their respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with TestPrep-Online or this website.


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