ASSET VS COMPASS- Which One is Better?

Planning to Take a Placement Test?

If you are looking forward to get admission in one of the colleges in the United States, then you may be asked to take a placement test. Why is that? It is because this is the kind of examination that will help in assessing whether you have the skills that are required for and relevant to the college-level program that you are planning to pursue. The result of this exam will determine which skills you have and whether or not you should enrol for this particular course. There is no use undertaking a course that you do not have the skills for and this is the reason why many colleges have made this kind of examination mandatory. There are various types of placement tests that are available and two common ones are the COMPASS test and the ASSET test. Are you wondering which one you should opt for? This will depend on the college that you wish to study in and also your personal preference. If your educational institution specifies that you take the COMPASS, then you will have to take it even if you were considering ASSET. On the other hand, some institutions allow you to choose from either of the two. In such a case, you can opt for the test that you prefer. To find out more about these tests, continue reading.


Given below are some of the differences between the ASSET and the COMPASS tests:

  • Test version: The COMPASS is a computerized test. It means that you will need to take the examination online and as such; you will need to have basic computer knowledge. If you do not know how to operate a computer, then you should get some training on the basics of handling a computer. The ASSET, on the other hand, is a pen and paper examination. You will have to take the test on paper. There is no computer version of this test.

  • Time limit: Another important thing you need to know about these tests is the time limit. The COMPASS does not have a time limit. It means that you can take your time and answer the questions. You do not need to hurry to answer the questions. However, the ASSET is a timed test. You will have to complete the test in 2.5 hours. You will have to ensure that you are quick in answering the questions because you cannot afford to lose time.

  • Sections: In the COMPASS, you will find three sections and these are Reading, Writing and Maths. On the other hand, the ASSET exam has two broad categories: the Basic Skills Tests and the Advanced Mathematics Test. Under the former category, you will find three tests and these are Reading, Numerical and Writing skills. In the latter category, you will find four tests and these are Geometry, College Algebra, Elementary Algebra and Intermediate Algebra.

  • Score Report: Another important feature you need to know is the score report. In case of the COMPASS, the result will be available to you as soon as you complete the exam because it is a computer-based version where all the answers are automatically scored by the system. Hence, you are able to get the result instantly. On the other hand, the ASSET result cannot be given to you instantly because it is a pen and paper version. As such, it will take a few days for you to obtain the report.


So which examination should you consider taking? If you want to take the test at your own pace, then you should consider COMPASS. If you want to obtain the score report instantly after the test, then COMPASS will be the one you should opt for. On the other hand, if you wish to take the test on paper, then ASSET is the test that you should be considering. It all depends on your personal preference. You will have to see the features of these two exams and then choose an option that you feel would be best suited for you.


The ASSET and COMPASS tests have many similarities too. Given below are the features that are same in these two examinations:

  • You will have to register for the test beforehand and it is necessary for you to present your valid identification at the time of enrolment for both these exams.

  • The use of calculators is allowed in both the tests and you can bring your own calculator too, as long as it abides by the standards of the examination that you wish to opt for.

  • All the questions in both these examinations will be in the form of multiple choice questions.

  • You will have to pay a certain amount as fee for the test. Generally, this will be $20. However, this amount can vary from college to college. You can get a clear idea about it by getting in touch with the educational institution of your choice.