Options to Help Prepare for COMPASS

Different Sources Available for COMPASS Prep

Though not competitive in nature, the COMPASS is a test that can decide your future. Many colleges and other educational institutions in the country use the scores of this test to place students into courses appropriate to their academic skills and ability levels. If you are seeking higher education in the country, preparation is, therefore, a significant and vital step in your college admission. Here is an article that tells you about COMPASS test and lists out some of the sources available for this purpose.

What Is COMPASS and Why Is It Administered?

Before starting with preparations, you need to first learn about the test in detail. The COMPASS is a battery of different subject and skill tests that helps institutions evaluate and measure the college-readiness of applicants. It is also diagnostic in nature and helps colleges assess the need for any preparation/supportive programs to help applicants improve in any weaker areas.

The test package is customizable also, as each individual institute conducting the it can choose the required tests and administer a customized package to the test takers. That is, not all test takers are administered the same package, but different subject/skill tests as per their course requirements.

Justifying the evaluative and diagnostic natures of the test, the COMPASS tests do not have any pass or fail criteria. As such, all scores are accepted as an indication of the test takers’ abilities or shortcomings, if any, and thus provide scopes for improvement.

For more information on this test, you may refer to the official COMPASS website: http://www.act.org/compass/student/index.html

The COMPASS Test Content, Question Types, and Test Duration

When planning about the prep modes, it is also required that we learn what is tested and what types of questions are included in it. The following are the various subject and skill tests included in the COMPASS test battery:

  • The Writing test (placement and diagnostic)
  • The Writing Essay test
  • The Reading test (placement and diagnostic)
  • The Mathematics test (placement and diagnostic)
  • The English as a Second Language (ESL) test

Except for the Writing Essay test, all of the other tests contain multiple-choice questions. It should also be noted that the ESL test is administered for foreign students who have studied English as a second language, and not for everyone. For more details on the test content and sample questions, you may check the official website again (http://www.act.org/compass/sample/index.html).

Another important fact to be remembered during preparation is that none of the COMPASS tests are time-bound. Candidates are at liberty to complete the sections at their own pace, with no time restraints or similar pressure keeping them from giving their best.

Other Important Factors while Preparing for COMPASS Test

As each individual institute is allowed to customize this test according to their specific requirements and course programs offered to students, it is also important that you pay attention to institute-specific testing and scoring requirements and accordingly consider the preparations. Taking a pre-test, focusing on the vital areas including any weaker sections, getting yourself the right kind of resources and taking plenty of practice tests are the vital factors that can help you prepare well for the COMPASS test.

Resources for COMPASS Test Preparation

With plenty of different resources available for test preparation, it might not be very easy to choose the best resources that can help in your test preparation. The key fact here is that you need to choose the ones that best fit your specific needs. The different kinds of resources available for test preparation include:

  • Test Guides, Review Guides, or Preparation Books - These may be specific books for a particular area or domain, or comprehensive review guides that touch upon the different tests and the important test aspects in general. An example of a popular title would be the COMPASS Exam - Bob Miller's Math Prep, that provides guidance on the Math COMPASS test, and also provides generic test information.
  • Pre-tests and practice tests - These are essential prep materials for any test preparation these days. You may find these tests free of cost and at reasonable prices in many formats - online, printed, and downloadable. Many universities, colleges, and community colleges also conduct pre-tests and practice tests to help candidates with preparation for this exam.
  • The official COMPASS website (http://www.act.org/products/higher-education-act-compass/) - The best and foremost important information resource available online is the official website. All important aspects of the test are discussed here.
  • Other web resources - Web resources might include different kinds of materials, like practice tests, comprehensive study guides, questions and answers, pre-tests, review materials, and so on. Many of these materials may be available as free resources, while you may also find those that can be purchased online.
  • The college or institution's website - Many colleges and institutions provide practice materials and even coaching programs for students to take the COMPASS test. Examples include the Georgia Highlands College (http://www.highlands.edu/site/tutorial-center-compass-test-preparation), Joliet Junior College (http://www.jjc.edu/services-for-students/academic-resources/academic-skills-center/Pages/compass-review-materials.aspx), and the like.
  • Professional Programs or coaching classes - These are common and popular resources for any test preparation. For test prep, you may find many such programs including those from the institute or college where you are applying. Most colleges offer such programs for prospective or existing students. Another popular one is from the COMPASS Education Group (http://www.compassprep.com/).

Thus, to conclude, whether you select a prep book or decide to join a program, ensure that the resources fit your bill – including your specific needs to take the COMPASS test and any budgetary constraints that you may have.

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