The COMPASS Test of ACT





Question Types in ACT - A Brief Overview

The COMPASS is a computer adapted examination that allows students to be placed in suitable courses in colleges, based on their aptitude. However, this is not a run-of-the-mill test like many others as there is no concept of pass/fail in it. In short, there is no passing score for the students; moreover the results of this test are delivered to the candidates as soon as the test is completed, which is convenient for them to decide the course that should be chosen by them for pursuing further studies.

The Sections of COMPASS Test

The following skills of the students are tested in the COMPASS Test:

  • Reading Skills

  • Writing Skills

  • Mathematics

  • Essay Writing

  • English as Second Language or ESL

Duration of COMPASS Test

As far as the duration is concerned, the candidates can take as much time as they would require for completing each section of the test. Therefore, the focus of each applicant should be on the content of the test and their efforts should be oriented towards their performances in order to choose their preferred courses in college.

Section-wise Question Types in COMPASS Test

Reading Skills Test: The Reading Skills Test is further divided into two categories:

  1. The Reading Placement Test: This test consists of multiple-choice questions that are based on five types of comprehension passages including Practical Reading, Prose Fiction, Humanities, Social Sciences and Natural Sciences. According to the new layout of Windows, the computer screen has two halves and the takers will have the opportunity to view the reading passage on one side of the screen and answer the questions that are present on the other side.

  2. The Reading Diagnostic Test: In this test, the multiple-choice questions are based on the components of comprehension, vocabulary and reader profile.

The scores of this test will determine whether the test takers have adequate skills that are tested in this section for attaining success with course placement in a college or whether they need any additional support on the topics.

Writing Skills Test: When it comes to Writing Skills, the test takers should be able to locate the errors in an essay that is provided to them by answering multiple-choice questions. It is categorized in the following sections:

  1. Usage Mechanics: In this option, the students must be able to find out the errors related to Punctuation, Basic Usage of Grammar and Sentence Structure.

  2. Rhetorical Skills: The errors in this passage are related to Strategy, Organization and Style.

The scores of this section demonstrate the skills of writing of the candidates thereby allowing them to choose suitable courses for beginners in college.

Mathematics: There are multiple choice questions in this section that covers a wide range of topics and tests the following skills of candidates:

  1. Basic Skills

  2. Application Skills

  3. Analysis Skills

The questions for testing these skills are based on Numerical Skills or Pre Algebra, Geometry, College Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry. Besides this, the test takers have to answer 15 questions on Mathematics Diagnostic Tests and there are seven and eight questions each on Pre - Algebra and Algebra.

Essay Writing: In this section, the students are presented with a Writing Task consisting of a problem or an issue based in a community or a school. Thereafter, the test takers have to put forth their opinion and clarify the premises on which the opinions are formed. The scores in this section are based on arguments that are formed by the test takers and the clarity of the same.

Importance of COMPASS Test

The COMPASS test is a kind of precursor for all those students who want to choose their preferred subjects in college. There is a wide range of subjects on which the skills of the students are assessed in this test and scoring well in it allows them to begin their college studies with the courses or subjects of their choice. However, it is the responsibility of each test taker to find out the score requirements of the college or the institution in which he intends to study.