The COMPASS Test for the Houston Community College

Your Information Hub for HCC COMPASS Test

As per the Texas Success Initiatives law (TSI), every student seeking college admission (if not exempted lawfully), should evaluate his/her college-readiness. There are different tests approved by TSI for measuring college-readiness and COMPASS is one among them, others including ASSET, CLEP, TEAS, and THEA (formerly known as TASP). The Houston Community College (HCC), in accordance with TSI law, requires that all students seeking admission to entry-level programs should allow their college-readiness to be evaluated using one of the TSI approved tests, before enrollment. Learn more about COMPASS test for HCC here.


Let us first try to understand what is COMPASS and why is it administered. Administered by many higher education institutions across the country, the COMPASS is a customizable package of untimed, computerized tests in different subject areas. There are no pass or fail scores set for this test, as it is fully-evaluative and diagnostic in purpose. In addition to helping colleges decide the best possible course for each applicant or already enrolled student, the test scores also aid in determining the need for developmental or remedial programs for each applicant or student. For more information on COMPASS, refer to the official COMPASS website (

The COMPASS test administered at HCC is not in any way different from the usual testing. The following subject areas are included in this test:

  • The Reading test
  • The Writing test
  • The Mathematics test
  • The Writing Essay test

These tests are not timed and, thus, it is encouraged that you complete each test at your own pace, giving ample time for yourself to think and arrive at the best possible/correct answers.

The date and timing of the test are decided by HCC and accordingly informed to each of the test takers. For more information about the testing requirements, refer to

Tips for Taking the HCC COMPASS Test

Some of the important pointers you should keep in mind while taking the COMPASS exam for HCC  include:

  • All applicants to entry-level courses at HCC have to take this assessment or a TSI approved equivalent, provided they have not already taken any other TSI test or are otherwise exempted from taking the test.
  • The test costs you $25.00 and this is only a onetime fee.
  • The tests are administered at designated testing locations, at pre-decided dates. Correspondence testing is also allowed in lines with the testing guidelines provided at the HCC website (
  • Students or applicants who need special accommodations are provided with the facility, as per the existing rules and regulations (
  • The testing is available only to those who have already submitted their applications to HCC.
  • If you are a student transferring from another institute, you should submit transcripts and other relevant documents indicating the previous test scores, if any, to HCC; HCC will evaluate the records and then take appropriate steps/decisions.
  • An Assessment Authorization form is essential before testing, and you can obtain this after your discussions with the counselor, before testing.
  • Retesting is allowed as per the retest policies and norms available. However, you will have to contact your advisor for more details.

Test Preparation at HCC

Like many other community colleges and higher educational institutions across the country, the HCC provides you with a prep program for improving college-readiness in Writing, Reading, and Mathematics areas. The PREP program at HCC is a computer-based course that can help students prepare rapidly for improving their Math, reading, and writing skills. The most unique aspect of this prep program for college readiness is that it is tailored to each student's individual needs.

The course if offered during summer and fall. For more details about this program, refer to:

Many important aspects of this are included in this document. However, it should be remembered that this is not a comprehensively detailed report, and only functions as a pointer to other relevant resources. If planning to attempt the COMPASS test for HCC, you must learn more about the test from all relevant sources and prepare yourself according to your requirements.

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