Selection of a Study Guide for COMPASS

How to Select a COMPASS Math Study Guide

ACT COMPASS is a computer-adaptive college placement test. This test helps the educators to identify the appropriate courses for a student based on the abilities and skills displayed in the test. In the math test, the skills and knowledge of the test takers in five different areas of mathematics are assessed; these are:

  1. Pre-Algebra
  2. Algebra
  3. College Algebra
  4. Geometry
  5. Trigonometry

How to Prepare for the Test?

Like for any test, good preparation is essential for the math test as well. Many times, even good students fair badly in the test because of lack of preparation. Since the scores in this test will decide the math courses you can opt for, a good score in this test is very important. This test is designed such that it helps the educators identify the mathematics knowledge that you have gained through your school years. Therefore, there is no specific book that you can use for preparation. Still, though there is no single text book that you can use, there are many study guides available in the market that can prove to be very useful.

You need to be very careful while choosing a study guide. The following points will help you make the right decision:

  • Areas Covered- First and foremost, you must check if all the areas that are tested in the test are covered properly in the prep guide because, some books cover certain important topics alone.
  • Explanations- Many study guides give questions and answers alone. However, this type of book will not be useful for preparation. The explanations to how a problem is solved should also be given in the book.
  • Practice Tests- Explanations of principles and methodology alone are not enough while you are preparing for a math test. Adequate number of practice tests with answers are required for you to prepare well for the test.

Study Guides

As said earlier, there are many math study guides available in the market. Here, a few good study guides have been reviewed:

  1. BobMiller's Math Prep for the COMPASS Exam

    The author of this book has taught math to thousands of students for 30 years. His methodology has helped many students in the test. This book covers all the areas asked in the math test. The chapters are easy-to-follow and the examples given in the book help in building the math skills of the students. There are two practice tests in this book that contain actual test questions. Detailed explanations are given for all the questions and this helps in identifying your strengths and weaknesses while helping you refresh your mathematics knowledge. Tips on how to study, strategies and ways to increase your confidence are also given. This book is priced at $12.15.


    This is a free study guide available online. This book covers the most important topics that will help you score well in Pre-algebra and Algebra portions of the math test. Practice questions are given at the end of each of the lessons. At the same time, practice tests are also available in this study guide.

  3. COMPASS Math Test Success: 150 COMPASS Math Problems & Solutions

    This study guide is a very helpful book as it covers all the areas of the math test. Illustrations, formulae and step-by-step solutions are the highlights of this book. You can get the practice that you need before you attempt the math test if you solve all the problems in this book.


Though there are many study guides available in the market today, you have to identify the book that is best suited for you. First, identify your requirements and buy a book that will satisfy these. You can use the guidelines given above to make this choice. Since the needs of each of you will be different, there is no single study book that can be called the best resource to prepare for the test. Remember, however good the study guide is, you need to prepare well for the test. Therefore, work hard and get a good score in the test.