Details of Question Types for the Writing Section of COMPASS

Question Types on COMPASS Writing Test

The COMPASS is a computer-based assessment test and a primary tool used by the colleges in order to choose the candidates for placing them in appropriate courses according to their skills and abilities on the subjects that are tested in this exam. However, the evaluation in testing system is different because there are no passing scores that are provided to the students; the scores obtained by the students allow the institutions to help them in choosing the courses that are appropriate for them.

Moreover, the students taking the test are not required to follow the restrictions of time. In short, this exam is not bound by the limitations of time and the participants will have the opportunity to focus on each section of the test in detail for choosing the correct options. However, it has been observed that the average time taken by the students is around two and half hours.

The areas that the students are tested on include:

  • Reading Skills
  • Writing Skills
  • Mathematics
  • Essay Writing
  • English as a Second language

COMPASS Writing Test: Overview

The Writing section of the COMPASS measures the aptitude of the test takers through the Writing Skills Placement test and a writing task or Essay Writing.

In the Writing Skills Placement test, students are required to demonstrate their skills for the entry-level courses in college or whether they need support or training before choosing their preferred subjects or courses in order to continue their college education. In this section, candidates are required to locate the errors that are present in an essay. The contents of this test are based on two major categories:

  • Usage/Mechanics: The test takers have to find out the errors related to Punctuation, Basic Grammar and Usage and Sentence Structure.
  • Rhetorical Skills: In this part of Writing Placement Test, the errors are related to Strategy, Organization and Style.

Besides this, the Writing Diagnostic test measures the aptitude of the students in eight areas of writing skills.

Essay Writing

In the Essay Writing Section, the test takers are presented with an essay, which is based on a general and familiar topic and they are supposed to carry out the following tasks:

  • The problem or the issue that is stated in that topic or the writing task is to be understood at first before choosing the answer options.
  • The test takers are supposed to draw clear inferences from the issue that is addressed through the passage.
  • The ideas that are formulated by the test takers should have clarity of thoughts and supported by definite ideas.
  • The arguments that have been developed by the test taker should have a sense of logic.
  • The language that is used for expression should be clear and comprehensible.


The question in the Writing section consists of multiple-choice items in which the test takers are expected to choose the correct responses. This is an important section of the COMPASS because it allows the test takers to choose the courses that are based on their wring skills and abilities. Obtaining low scores in this test indicates that an applicant should be placed in developmental courses before he/she is able to choose the basic courses of writing in college.

For more information on the types of questions that are asked, students must log on to for official sample questions that can be expected in the final examination. The Writing test is a vital part of this examination that allows the students to select the courses that they wish to study in future. However, the scores of the test are judged by the colleges before granting them admission in different fields of education.