Range of the Scores for COMPASS

What is the Scoring System for COMPASS?

The COMPASS is an untimed test that is taken by the incoming freshmen during the orientation program. Here, a student’s abilities and skills that he/she has acquired in his/her high school years are tested. Using the scores of this exam, which reflect a student’s true capacity, the educators advise him/her on the courses he/she can take up. The different subject areas tested here are:

  1. Reading
  2. Writing Skills
  3. Writing Essay
  4. Math
  5. English as a Second Language

It is a computer-adaptive test, which means that the questions begins at a certain level and moves on to either a more difficult or an easier level based on the correctness of the answers given by the student. Only after a student answers a certain number of questions with the correct answers will the next level of questions be displayed. On the other hand, if a certain number of questions are answered wrongly, then the level of the questions asked after that will be easier.

The first level of the several tests that the student takes up in a subject is called the initial domain and the last level that the student takes up is called the placement domain. The scores in the placement domain determine the student's skill levels and this is used for identifying the correct courses for the student.

All the questions in the exam are that of the multiple-choice type and pertain to what the student has learned in the high school years. Therefore, it is very important that one refreshes all the concepts, principles and theories learnt before the test. This kind of preparation will ensure a good score in the test.

Score Range

The most different aspect of this examination is that there is no "passing score". The scores are released immediately after the completion of the test and based on these, the college will recommend courses to the candidate.

The scores that one can obtain will range from 0 to 100, where 0 is the lowest and 100 is the highest a student can score. Each educational institution has their own cut-off scores that candidates have to fulfill at the time of admission.

Importance of COMPASS Scores

Though a student does not pass or fail in the COMPASS, it is very important to score well in it because most institutes have a high cutoff limits. For example, a student can enroll for a mathematics course only with a high score in algebra. 

In the case of the Writing section, the scores will range from 75 to 100 and this will show that a student has the writing skills required for a college level entry course.

Importance of the Test

The educational institutions determine a student's abilities and skills based on the scores he/she has attained in the various subject areas and these help them in identifying the courses best suited for him/her. A placement message, which tells the student about the courses that he/she can enroll for, is given along with the score report. Information about the registration process is also included in this report.

It is important that the student gets a good score because if the score is low, he/she has to take up additional courses and these will only lead to the wastage of the student's time and money. Moreover, these courses will not be considered for the college credits.


The COMPASS is a simple test but many students have fare badly in it due to the lack of a proper preparation. It is best that the student prepares well for this exam so that he or she can score high in the same. This will ensure that the student can enroll for the best courses offered by the colleges.

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