A Guide for the COMPASS Test

How to Select a COMPASS Test Guide

Though there is no pass or fail criteria in COMPASS testing, this test is a critically important part in the placement process at many educational institutions across the country. Preparing for the test, thus, becomes an inevitable aspect of your college preparation. If preparing for this test, here are some pointers that can definitely help you in the process. Also, listed here are a few tips to choose a study guide that suits your needs.

Preparing for the ACT COMPASS Test

The first and foremost step in your test preparation, as in the case of any other test, would be to learn all the important aspects of the test. You need to have a clear idea of what the testing is, what different tests are included in it, what the test duration is, and what types of questions are included in it. On the whole, it is vital that you comprehend the evaluative, diagnostic, and non-competitive nature of the test.

The best place to start your preparation, thus, would be the official website (http://www.act.org/products/higher-education-act-compass/). As each test conducting institution can administer a different test package, and have different testing and minimum score requirements for placement, you should also learn about any institution-specific testing and scoring requirements of your college/institute.

While preparing for the test, you need to also understand about the two unique aspects of this testing:

  1. The COMPASS tests are not timed. Test takers are provided with ample time to think, clarify, and arrive at their answers, and thus one is under no hurry to finish the test. Each candidate may finish the test at his/her own pace, on the test day.

  2. There are no pass or fail criteria. Individual institutions may choose the components of their test packages, as per their course requirements; and may have different minimum scoring requirements for placement into particular programs. However, there are no passing scores for the COMPASS test. All scores are accepted, as an indication of the abilities of the test takers, and accordingly areas for improvement for each of them are also pinned down.

Resources for Test Preparation

Various kinds of sources are available for COMPASS test preparation these days. These include:

  • Books, study guides, and review materials
  • Pre-tests and practice tests
  • Online, electronic, and downloadable materials including books, guides, review materials, pre-tests and practice questions
  • Professional programs

The official website and the website of the institution where you are applying, are the two other important resources you cannot miss out. In addition to providing useful information on their website, many test administering institutions also conduct prep programs for this test's preparation.

With the variety and the multitude of materials available for preparation, choosing the right test guide can be a difficult task. Here go some pointers that can help you choose a good one.

Choosing a Test Guide

Listed below are five important must-have features that you should look for while choosing a guide:

  1. Subjects covered: As you already know, all test takers do not have the same needs for test preparation. Therefore, depending on your subject area of study and the kind of help you need -comprehensive preparation help or help in only specific areas like for taking practice questions – you need to choose your study guide. For example, a popular title like COMPASS Exam - Bob Miller's Math Prep may not be useful to you if you are not taking up Math at college.

  2. Authenticity and accuracy: Subjects covered in the study guide is a very important aspect; so is the authenticity and accuracy of the information provided in the guide. This includes stuff like the publisher's credibility and popularity, and the author’s expertise and experience in the subject domain.

  3. Test overview: As a test aspirant, it is essential that you have a clear understanding about the important test aspects. A good test guide should present all the required information about the test in a nutshell, so that you do not miss any vital point.

  4. Tests and practice questions: Taking a pre-test is one of the best ways to start any test's preparation. A pre-test is a blue-print of your abilities, skills, and shortcomings, if any. Practice tests on the other hand, help you keep a tab on your progress and familiarize you with the test pattern. When choosing a study guide, therefore, choose a book that includes at least one pre-test and plenty of practice questions.

  5. Price of the title and accessibility: The title that you choose to help you in your test preparation should be affordable to your pocket. You may also find many free and downloadable materials these days. Therefore, you need to choose a title that is viable and worth the money that you spend. Accessibility is yet another feature you should look for while choosing a guide. This includes considering any special needs that you may have, and also the availability of the title with a friend or at a public library nearby.

You may use these pointers while choosing a guide for COMASS preparation. Whichever prep guide you choose, however, the vital point is that you prepare yourself well for the test according to your specific needs.