COMPASS is a computer-based test in the areas of mathematics, reading and writing. It measures the ability level of students to undergo courses at college level successfully. It therefore tests the skills required at college-entry level. For studying in college, students not only require basic knowledge about the concerned subjects, but also need to have skills of logical reasoning, critical thinking and analyzing, interpreting and inferring information. All these skills are effectively reflected by the scores you achieve in the test.

With COMPASS being a self-paced test, the focus is on testing the skills of students in an unrestricted environment. It encourages the students to do their best without thinking of time constraints. Therefore, students should take it as an opportunity to do their best to score well in it and show their talent in the best way possible.

Why is COMPASS Beneficial?

It is a test that helps maximum people with its results. It not only helps students and colleges, but also helps advisors to understand the levels of students and provide suitable recommendations.

For most students, it is more like a self-assessment test. Students who have not been able to score well in ACT or SAT can take the test to assess their abilities and know their preparedness for college level studies. The results give them a peep into their level of skills along with recommendations for developmental courses.

Taking the exam as an admission test is preferred by a large number of students because of its features. It is more convenient to take this test as it is offered more frequently than SAT or ACT. Hence, it offers more flexibility in terms of selecting a suitable test date. Moreover, the test is self-paced, which removes the tension created by time constrains in other admission tests. Thus, students can concentrate better on scoring well in it.

Understanding COMPASS Score Report

The score report is a detailed analysis of the student’s performance in various test modules. It outlines the skills of students vividly to make the score report helpful for maximum people. The score report contains the following features:

1. Standard Individual Report – This is the score report that is received as soon as the test is taken by the student. It is extremely detailed and contains different sections.

    1. General Information – The first section of the Standard Individual Report consists of the information about the student, like his name etc., the location and testing date.
    1. Student Background and Educational Plans – The second section consists of information provided by the student about his educational plan, educational background like GPA, name of high school, and other such demographics.
    1. Local Demographic Items – This section contains the responses of students to interest questions selected by institutions. There can be 40 such questions that the institutions may want to administer to the students.
    1. Help Requested by Students – In this section, the score reporting software prints text entries to areas in which the student asks for assistance. There could be 16 such areas for which students can ask for assistance. The score report mentions the recommended resources for assistance. For example, students could ask for assistance for financial aid, selecting a career etc.
    1. Choice of Programs – This section of the score report provides the details of a particular program that has been chosen by the student.
    1. Assessment Results and Related Recommendations – This part mentions the details of local tests administered by institutes.
    1. Mathematics – This section gives the details of the performance of students in the mathematics test module. It provides the results of the placement test, the total time taken for completing the test and detailed placement recommendation based on your score. Apart from this, the result of diagnostic test is also mentioned including details of skills in algebra.
    1. The score reports of the Reading and Writing test modules appear in the same respect.

2. Student Demographics – This is the information about the students that can be collected by institutions or advisors. The test provides an Educational Planning Form Item Options with the help of which the institutions can collect information about students. Out of all the options there are certain questions common for all test takers. This information can be collected either before or after taking the test, depending upon the choice of the institutions.

3. Reporting Options – Other reporting options include the following:

    1. Customized List Reports
    1. Mailing Labels
    1. Placement Summary Report

4. Research Reports – This report is helpful for institutions to know how effective their programs are and to understand the patterns of recruitment. The reports that it includes are as follows:

    1. Entering Student Descriptive Report – This is detailed information about the background of students, their academic needs and educational plans.
    1. Returning Student Retention Report – This includes the report about retention patterns and characteristics of students related to these patterns, which are used by institutions.
    1. Course Placement Service – This report helps to place students in suitable courses according to their skills. It helps in setting cut-off scores and comparing various placement tests.
    1. Under-prepared Student Follow-up Report – This report provides description of how under prepared students, who were referred to developmental courses, would fare in a general course, after taking preparation and development courses.
    1. Student Outcome Survey Report – This report deals with the accounts of recommendations and evaluations of students about their college experiences.
    1. CAAP Linkage Report – The Collegiate Assessment of Academic Proficiency (CAAP) report depicts the development status of students in areas like writing, reading, mathematics, science etc.

How High a Score is Enough for College Courses?

Since the cut-offs set by most institutes are high, it makes it essential to score well in the three subject areas. A course in mathematics requires a good score in algebra. Therefore, generally a score of about 70 to 100 can make you eligible to most of the mathematics courses available. If you score lower in algebra, the choice of courses goes on decreasing.

Similarly, for the writing score, a score above 75 indicates that the student possesses skills required for entry in college level courses.

Why is it Important to Score High in COMPASS?

You do not pass or fail the exam. However, it is essential to score well in it since all major institutions establish a high cut-off for entry into their courses. For students who take the test for admission purposes it becomes all the more important to score well in it because if the student is not able to score the minimum required marks, he will have to retake the tests of all three subject areas to improve his overall score.


There may be many standardized admission tests like COMPASS. However, with the number of features it offers, none of the tests can be compared to it. Hence, by concentrating on taking the test, students can avail the benefits of multiple tests due to the detailed analysis provided to them in its score report.