The Algebra Test Content of COMPASS

5 Things You Need to Know About COMPASS Test Algebra

The COMPASS test is a college placement test that is untimed and computer-adaptive in nature. This test helps the educators identify the strengths and weaknesses of the students. Based on the analysis of their abilities and skills, the appropriate courses that they can enroll for are suggested to them. Further, this test is an untraditional test as there is no "passing score". The COMPASS test is taken up by the incoming freshmen during the orientation program. Moreover, your strengths and weaknesses in five subject areas are tested in this test. These subject areas are Reading, Writing Skills, Writing Essay, Math and English as a Second Language.

The Math Test

Mathematics is one of the important subjects that are tested in the COMPASS test. This test identifies your skills in basic and advanced Mathematics. Moreover, five different areas of Mathematics are tested here. These areas are:

  1. Pre-Algebra
  2. Algebra
  3. College Algebra
  4. Geometry
  5. Trigonometry

The 5 Important Things That You Should Know About Algebra Test

Before you take up the Algebra test, you should gain complete knowledge about it. The following are the important aspects of the test that you should know:

  1. The types of questions asked in the test
  2. The topics covered under Algebra
  3. Difficulty level of the test
  4. Importance of the test
  5. Test preparation
  1. The Types of Questions Asked in the Test

    All the questions are multiple-choice questions and fall under one of these categories:

    1. Questions that test your basic skills in Mathematics
    2. Questions that test your application skills in Mathematics
    3. Questions that test your analytical skills in Mathematics

  2. Topics Covered Under Algebra

    A wide range of topics are covered and these are:

    1. Value substitution
    2. Setting up of equations
    3. Polynomial factorization
    4. Radicals and Exponents
    5. Basic Operations and polynomials
    6. Linear equations with one variable
    7. Linear equations with two variables
    8. Rational Expressions

  3. Difficulty Level of the Test

    The Math test begins with Algebra questions. The difficulty level of the questions keeps increasing until you answer the questions with the correct answers. Likewise, if you are unable to answer a set of questions with the appropriate answers, the difficulty level of the next set of questions decreases.

    If you are unable to answer the Algebra set of questions correctly, the computer starts to generate questions that pertain to lower level basic Math. On the other hand, if you answer them right, the test reaches higher difficulty levels and moves over to trigonometry or calculus questions.

    In other words, the difficulty level of the test gets adapted to the examinee's capability. Therefore, this test is called a computer-adaptive test.

  4. Importance of the Test

    The first level of the several tests that you take up in COMPASS is called the initial domain and the last level that you take up is called the placement domain. The placement domain scores determine your skill level and these scores are used for identifying the suitable courses for you. Since the test begins with the Algebra section, it is termed as the initial domain.

    It is important that you score well in the test because if your scores are low, then you have to register for courses that will take up your time and money. Moreover, these courses will not count for your credits. Based on these scores, the educators will help you connect to the various resources available in the college.

  5. Test Preparation

    Thorough preparation is important for you to get a good score in the Algebra section. Many good books are available that can be used for test preparation. Moreover, free practice tests and study guides are available online for your perusal.

    There are many cases where students take up the test without proper preparation and end up with scores that are lower than their ability level and math is a subject that needs good revision before any test. Therefore, it is best that you draft a preparation schedule and prepare accordingly.


This is a simple test, provided you prepare sincerely for it. Hence, it is suggested that you study hard and ace the test and enroll in the courses of your interest.