The Mathematics Test of COMPASS

What Math Skills Does COMPASS Math Test

The Math section of the test requires knowledge of algebra. To crack this section of the exam, all you have to do is practice. If you are weak in the math section, or have a fear of math and if you are required to take the math test, you must familiarize yourself with the nature of the test and with the topics covered in the test.

The Math section determines your eligibility for taking college level courses in math. If you are not eligible, the test simply suggests ways to overcome this gap by suggesting preparatory courses.

The Nature of The Exam:

The exam is an untimed computer adaptive test. So you can take your own sweet time to answer the questions put to you. Having said so, it automatically implies that the test is a test of accuracy and not quantity of questions answered. It is normal for two different individuals to have different number of questions asked, and still be placed in the same placement domain, and recommended for the same preparatory courses.

The questions progress from basic math to trigonometry and even college calculus. It can also go back one section if it finds that you are consistently answering wrongly.

Points To Remember:

As specified earlier, the questions in the Math section determine your proficiency in algebra. If you have sufficient skills, the result of the exam can be college-ready. This simply means that

  • You do not have to spend time on courses that are elementary
  • You can finish your graduation earlier
  • You can save on tuition fees.

Therefore, it is important to take the exam in the right spirit.

To do so, you must understand the syllabus of the exam, and make determined efforts towards preparation.

The syllabus:

The syllabus of the test can be easily found online at the official site at
An important trick is to create a personal time-table to strengthen each area of the exam starting from basic math.

Tips and Tricks:

  • Try to stick to a time table as far as possible
  • Try to double check your answers in the exam at the start of the test. This is because the questions in basic math might not repeat if you answer them correctly. Thus, you will be placed in a better placement domain.
  • Try to work through as many practice tests as possible so that you score well in this section. This will also ensure that you are familiar with the section during the actual test.
  • Download the exam app from the app store to practice on the go, while travelling, or during small breaks.
  • Make a cheat sheet of all the important formulas required in the exams. Keep going through the cheat sheet until the start of the exam. Then write down the formulas at the beginning of the test in the scrap paper provided at the centre. This will ensure not wasting time to recall formulas later.
  • Make a disciplined effort to solve as many types of questions as possible from each chapter, and to make an all round effort. It is also important to progress through each topic in the syllabus so as to be placed in a better placement domain.
  • Determine a target after taking the first practice test, and work slowly towards the target checking your progress intermittently.
  • Try to familiarize yourself with the calculator you will be using during the test.

Making thorough preparation for the exam requires disciplined study and practice. Nothing can be a substitute for practice. If you feel comfortable with one type of question, progress towards solving the next type of question from the same topic, and do not ignore the topic entirely. Remember, to climb a hill, you must take the first step. Let that first step be now. Good luck for your exams.