Utility of the COMPASS Test of ACT

5 Reasons Why you Should Take the COMPASS

The COMPASS test is a college placement test. It is a computer adaptive test and is given to incoming freshmen during the orientation program. This exam tests your skills in different areas like Reading, Writing Skills, Writing Essay, Math and English as a Second Language.

Sections in the COMPASS Test

There are five subject areas that are tested here. A brief description of each of these is given below:

  1. The Reading Test: This test is used to determine if you have the reading skills that are required to succeed in a standard entry-level college course or not.
  2. The Writing Skills Test:The usage and mechanics which include basic grammar, punctuations and sentence structure and rhetorical skills that include strategy, organization and style in essays are tested in this section.
  3. The Writing Essay Test: This test identifies your writing ability. Here, you are required to respond to questions describing your position on an issue given in the prompt.
  4. The Math Test:The abilities in Pre-Algebra, Algebra, College Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry are tested in this test section.
  5. English as a Second Language Test:This test identifies the abilities of non-native speakers in four different areas.

Questions Types and Duration of the Test

All the questions are multiple-choice questions. Since the test is computer adaptive in nature, the difficulty level of the questions gets automatically adapted to your capability. However, all the questions are based on the concepts and knowledge that you have gained in your high school years. At the same time, as a unique feature of this test, there is no definite time limit for taking it.

Importance of the Test

The educators use the test scores to determine your strengths and weaknesses. Based on this, courses that are appropriate for your skill level and capability are suggested to you. The scores of this test are released immediately and a placement message is given in the score report itself. This message tells you about the courses that you can register for and the process for the registration as well.

If you score less than the cutoff score for a particular course, you have to register for remedial courses or you have to retake the test. Therefore, it is suggested that you prepare thoroughly for the test and get the required cutoff scores in the first attempt itself. This way, you would not be wasting your time or money.

5 Reasons Why you Should Take the COMPASS Test

There are many reasons for you to take up the COMPASS test. However, the below mentioned five are the most important ones:

  1. Your Ability: The test scores reflect your ability and skills which are essential for identifying the right courses for yourself.
  2. Stress-free Environment: Since there is no time limit, you can take up the test without any stress. Therefore, you can do your best and the scores will reflect your true ability.
  3. Problem Identification: The test helps in identifying the areas where you have problems. You can take up the correct remedial courses to overcome these problems at an early stage before they cause hindrance to your college study.
  4. Course of Study: The best suited course of study will be prepared for you based on your performance. This will enable you to perform better in the courses that you have taken up.
  5. Frequent Administration: The COMPASS test is administered more frequently than the ACT or SAT test. Moreover, the scores of this test are released immediately.


The test identifies whether you are ready for the college courses you want to take up or not. This is a very simple test and the registration process for it is also very simple. It is best that you take up this test and perform well in the test. A good score will ensure that you enroll in the courses that you are interested in.

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