Studying for the COMPASS Test

Self-study Tips for COMPASS Test Prep

The COMPASS is a college placement test given to the incoming freshmen during the orientation program. This test is computer-adaptive in nature and it helps the educators understand the skills, abilities and knowledge of the students. Based on the scores attained here, the educators advise the students on the courses that are best suited for them.

The subject areas tested in are Math, Reading, Writing, Writing Essay and English as a Second Language. All the questions are in the form of the multiple-choice type and pertain to the syllabus covered in the high school years.

Preparing for the Exam

The first question that comes to your mind after you decide to take this exam is how you can effectively prepare for the same. There are many methods that you can adopt to study for it and three of the most common types are:

  1. Self-study
  2. Group study
  3. Professional help

Self- Study

If you are the kind of person who can motivate yourself and study sincerely, then self-study is one method that you can consider. However, there are few tips that you have to follow if you plan to study for the COMPASS on your own. These tips are:

    1. Decide on the books- The first thing you have to do is to decide on the books that you require for the preparation. Since you will be studying on your own, you should read the reviews of the books available in the market and buy those that you think will help you. Moreover, there are many free online study guides available as well. You should collect all the study materials that you require before starting to prepare.
    1. Draft a schedule- The second step in your preparation would be to draft a study schedule. While creating the timetable, keep in mind the other activities you are involved in and allot time for the essential activities as well. Kindly do not crowd your schedule with study hours and have little time for relaxation.
    2. Monitor your progress- It is not enough to simply create a study plan, as you also have to monitor your progress and check if you are following the schedule diligently. If you have missed a few hours, try to compensate for the same as early as possible.
    3. Practice tests- Taking the practice tests is the best way to prepare for the test. Practice as many tests as possible and if you are consistently fairing badly in a section of the test, try to increase the number of study hours for that particular section.

  • Advantages of Self-study

    There are many advantages of studying on your own and these are:

    • You can prepare as per your schedule since you are not dependent on anyone
    • You can allot more time to your weak subjects
    • You can compensate for lost hours whenever you want
    • You need not spend a lot of money on professional courses

  • Disadvantages of Self-study

    Though it can be said that there are many advantages to this method of preparation, there is one major disadvantage and that is: if you are not self-motivated or sincere in your preparation, you will go for the test without proper preparation because there is nobody to check your progress.

The other methods of study are described briefly here, so that you would understand the differences between the different methods of study available to prepare for the COMPASS test.

  • Group Study

    In group, it is best that like-minded friends come together and prepare for the test. The group members can motivate each other within the group itself.

  • Professional Help

    If you are the kind of person who requires constant monitoring, then joining a professional preparatory class is the best solution for you.


 Self-study is a good answer for those who are sincere and meticulous in studying. Though there are both advantages and disadvantages for this method, the advantages clearly outnumber the disadvantages. If your mind is set at achieving a good COMPASS score, then self-study is the easiest and the best option.