COMPASS for the Houston Community College

Houston Community College COMPASS Test Schedule

The COMPASS is a college placement test which is computer-adaptive and untimed in nature. The scores in this test help the educators to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the students. Based on this understanding, appropriate courses are offered to the students. Moreover, there is no "passing score" in this test. Therefore, students take up this test in a stress-free environment. The subjects that are tested here are Reading, Writing Skills, Writing Essay, Math and English as a Second Language.

The difficulty level of the test gets automatically adapted to the capability of the students. Therefore, the educators thoroughly understand the skill level and capacity of each and every student.

Houston Community College

The HCC is a public institution that offers high quality and affordable higher education. The institution helps in preparing individuals for lifelong learning, academic advancement, workforce training and career development.

Houston Community College and COMPASS Test

The HCC administers the COMPASS test to assess skills in the domains of Reading, Writing and Mathematics. The fee for the test is $25. It is administered at specific testing locations. Students are required to submit an application before taking up the test. Moreover, students have to meet with a counselor or advisor before the test.

Special accommodation is available for those test takers who have documented disabilities. The students who need this accommodation need to contact the ADA counselor at least 14 days before the testing date to determine his/her testing needs.

Registering for the Test

The following steps have to be followed for registering:

  1. Fill up the application available online at
  2. Meet with a counselor or advisor for the Assessment Authorization
  3. Pay the test fee at one of the cashier's office
  4. Carry a photo ID, authorization letter and fee receipt on the exam date

Testing Schedule

The COMPASS test is available at the Southwest, Central, Northeast and Northwest centers of the HCC. The test is available every week.

Retesting Policy

The HCC offers a retest to students who satisfy the following general conditions:

  1. The student's performance was influenced by certain factors other than the ability of the student.
  2. The student participated in a program that has enhanced a skill he/she was deficient in.

Retesting is allowed only after completion of 30 days from the date of the initial test and only once per semester.

Retesting is allowed within 30 days if there was an;

  1. administration error,
  2. illness ( the student has to inform about the illness before the scores are released), or
  3. if an approved remedial program has been completed.

Importance of the Test

The test scores determine the courses a student can enroll for. Therefore, the test scores are very important. If a student scores less than the minimum cutoff for a particular course, he/she has to retake the test or has to enroll for remedial courses. These remedial courses take up time and money but would not be considered for college credits. They in fact help one to improve the performance in the weak areas spotted in the COMPASS test.

Preparation for the Test

Preparation for the test is essential. All the questions asked in the test pertain to the topics that the students have studied in their high school classes. However, thorough preparation is needed. There are many cases where even good students have scored low grades in the COMPASS test due to lack of preparation. Many good study guides are available in the market. Moreover, free study guides and practice tests are available online which can be used for preparation.


The COMPASS is a simple test if the student has prepared well. It is kindly advised that students brush up their basics and study for the test. It is also suggested that the students take up as many practice tests as possible because these tests will help in understanding the format of the questions, which will in turn help them in scoring higher grades.