Significance of COMPASS

5 Reasons Why Colleges Prefer COMPASS Test

The COMPASS is a computer adaptive test given to incoming freshmen during the orientation session. This exam tests the students' skills in different areas like Reading, Writing Skills, Writing Essay, Math and English as a Second Language. The main differences between this test and the others are that there is neither a time limit nor a "passing score" associated with it.

About the Test

  • Sections in the COMPASS Test

    As mentioned earlier, five subject areas are tested in COMPASS and they are:

    1. The Reading Test- This test is used to determine if the student has the reading skills that are required to succeed in a standard entry-level college.
    2. The Writing Skills Test- The usage and mechanics which include basic grammar, punctuations and sentence structure and rhetorical skills that include strategy, organization and style in essays are tested in this section.
    3. The Writing Essay Test- This test identifies the writing ability of the students. Here, the students are required to respond to questions describing their position on an issue given in the prompt.
    4. The Math Test- The abilities in Pre-Algebra, Algebra, College Algebra, Geometry and Trigonometry are tested in this session of the test.
    5. English as a Second Language Test- This test identifies the abilities of non-native speakers in four different areas.

  • Question Types

     The questions in this exam are of multiple-choice type. The difficulty level of the questions gets automatically adapted to the capability of the student. Anything the student has learned in the course of his/her high-school can be tested here. Therefore, there is no single book for the preparation of this test. However, many books are available in the market for this test preparation.

  • Duration of the Test

    The duration of the test depends on the ability of the student. Since this test moves to more difficult levels if the student is good at the subject, the longer the test takes the better will be the student's score. Therefore, there is no fixed time duration for this test.

Significance of the COMPASS Test

The educators use the scores of this test to identify the students' strengths and weaknesses in the above mentioned subject areas. These scores are then used to identify the right courses for the students. The scores of this test are released immediately. The score report also contains a placement message telling the students about the courses that they can take up and the registration process for the same.

5 Reasons Why Colleges Prefer COMPASS Test

  1. Student's Ability- The scores of this test reflect the student's ability and skills in the five subject areas mentioned already.
  2. Stress-free Environment- Since there is no specific time duration, students take up the test in a stress-free environment. Therefore, they perform to their fullest ability.
  3. Problem Identification- The test identifies the student's weak and problem areas in the various subjects. Remedial measures can be taken before these problem areas cause disruption in the regular college courses.
  4. Course of Study- The educators prepare a course of study for the students based on the scores of COMPASS. This course of study will be ideal and best suited for the individual's capacity.
  5. Frequent Administration- The administration is more frequent than the ACT or SAT test and the scores are released immediately.

The above mentioned are the reasons why colleges prefer the scores of this test for admission.


COMPASS is used by the colleges to identify the right courses for the students. From this test, the student's capability, understanding and skills can be understood clearly and this is the first and foremost reason for which this test is administered. To sum up, the best in each student is identified and nurtured with the help of this exam.

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